Hey there, Kelly coming at you today with a few safety tips. A bit of what I’ve learned over the years.

So you wanna be safe, yes? Of course you do. Who wouldn’t want to come home at the end of the day in one piece? You, that’s who.

So for drywall, as a taper, I would say the main cause of injury would be mud. Not surprising, right? Well here are some tips on specifically how mud can trip you up in the worst way possible…

  1. A glob of mud on the floor. I once was working with a guy that told me his dad, a veteran drywaller, a guy who had been drywalling like 20 years, slipped on a glob of mud the size of a dime. Sent him sailing down on his shoulder and took him out of the game completely! Game Over for him. Don’t underestimate the size or sip power of a glob of mud, however small.
  2. I worked with a guy once, his name was Norm. We jokingly said Norm knows how to do two things, tape and kill people. Because once, I guess he was playing pool and the guy he was playing pool with had a girlfriend and the guy backhanded her. Well Norm didn’t like that so he in one lunge, Norm grabbed the cube ball off the table and smacked the guy in the head, knocking him out. So yeah, the guy got a lesson the hard way.
    1. Anyways, so yeah Norm had a foot problem when I was working with him. Can’t quite remember if it was different size boot or what it was he had. But I asked him about it and he told me that he was walking on a plank, I believe it was on scaffolding, and he said, yes you guessed it, that he slipped on some mud that was on the plank. Well Norm ended up taking a tumble and hurt his foot. Something that now and in the future, you and I can avoid.
  3. Mud tip#3: So if a glob of mud the size of a dime, like in example #1, could send you sailing, here is a good tip… If a large glob of mud hits the floor, get it cleaned up right away. Yes if you have people working with you and you’re on stilts, you can ask them to pick it up. It’s a good safety action to take. Better than the possible alternative!
  4. I worked for a guy once, Dan who had a reputable drywall business in our area. Was doing a job and I had my stilts jacked up in the air (they are adjustable, yes) and was walking around on a cement floor (the slippery kind) and he asked me why I was doing that. And I said well because I like the mobility of stilts. Then he said oh, I and went on to explain that he had undergone knee surgery TWICE, doing what I was doing. So after that conversation, I was a lot more slow and careful, especially when on cement w/stilts jacked up. Throwing caution to the wind, don’t hurt as much as surgery.
  5. One accident that has been avoided but almost happens frequently is stepping on mud while walking on stilts. It scares me every time it happens. I call it “Skiing”, because that’s what it feels like. When your walking on stilts, it’s similar to walking without stilts. One foot/stilt is on the floor while your other foot is lifting and in the air to take the next step. Therefor when one stilt hist the glob of mud, you are literally skiing  on mud on ONE stilt, instead of snow or water. Talk about a balancing act. It’s an interesting, adrenaline pumping experience, to say the least, lemme tell you. So far I have never went down, from this experience, but it feels like I might, pretty much every time it happens. So the heart can race a little from it. What I do now a days, because it usually happens more when your walking fast, is that I walk slower, as I anticipate the skiing, I avoid it, cause really don’t care to bite the bullet.
  6. Mud incident#5, well this accident was caused by texture, which is made out of mud and water. The most serious injury that I have experienced over the years was: When I had a full pail of texture and was carrying it down the stairwell to the basement and the pail caught on one of the steps. The texture then spilled a piddle iddle in the middle of one of the steps. It was late, we had a deadline and it had been a long day at that point. I was spraying texture and wanted to keep going, so I said to myself, “I will step around it and clean it up later.” BAD Call. Needless to say I was looking at the wall in the stairwell when spraying the texture and didn’t see the puddle of texture/mud that I stepped in and went for a digger. My foot slipped out from underneath me landed on my back on the steps. Which that hurt a little but the worst part was when my elbow hit the concrete floor and skidded. I could see the skid mark cause there was a trace mark in the texture that must have spilled out of my hopper. The hopper contained the texture that I was spraying with. It was a bout a 6 inch skid mark. So after that happened I have full motion of my elbow, it works just fine and don’t hurt while I’m moving it.
    1. HOWEVER if I bump my elbow or push down hard on it on pretty much anything it hurts. I’m not talking about a light tap, but anything over that, it reminds me that it’s there. So my funny bone just got funnier, HA! There’s probably some bone shards/fragments floating around in there. But I just live with it. Who can afford deductible on health insurance these days, right?
  7. Well I could go on and on and on, but you get the point. Mud is slippery and dangerous. KEEP IT CLEAN out there boys & girls. Yes girls drywall too! I’ve only heard of one over the years, at least in this area. But if they are strong enough, and don’t mind getting a little dirty, they can do it. You GO girls 🙂
  8. Okay, okay, one more: Careful, typically when working overhead/ceilings, not to get mud in your eye. I don’t wear safety glasses, but you could if you want. I’ve gotten several slivers of mud in my eyes over the years. The worst is durabond/easy sand. That chemical mud really burns. So if you can dodge the bullets or maybe wear a hat to block some of it. Bonus Tip: Wearing a hat can also block dust from getting in your eyes… Then you will be ahead of the game. If you don’t protect your eyes, then be prepared for them to get a little read for a day or three 😉

In conclusion. Don’t drop mud, if you do then it’s best to clean up your act as quickly as possible. Second best is to make sure you walk around it & don’t step in it. Especially if you’re up in the air or in a stairwell. From personal experience, I can tell you that living a lifetime with a sensitive elbow is NOT worth the couple of seconds/minutes it would have taken me to clean up the mess.