OSHA Safety Manuals | Carpet Layer Safety
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laying carpet safety

Carpet Layer Safety

Carpet Layer Safety

Carpet layers install a wide range of flooring products in homes and buildings to enhance style and comfort. The hazards involved with this work include the use of sharp and cutting tools and materials, the use of chemical adhesives and treatments, and physically demanding work that can result in ergonomic injuries.

If you install carpet for a living, focus on ergonomics. Before installation, you often have to clear out furniture and haul old and new carpeting materials. Use proper lifting techniques to protect your back. Maintain a level of good overall health and fitness. Take frequent mini-breaks to rest, and rotate your tasks as much as possible.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that carpet layers account for 6% of all reported knee injuries, a rate 100 times the national worker average. Because you spend about 75% of your work time kneeling on hard sub-flooring, use kneepads to reduce the contact stress. Kneepads can also prevent accidental punctures from tack strips, flooring irregularities, and other sharps.

Use of a knee-kicker to stretch carpet wall-to-wall in a room or to engage the room-edge tack strip can cause knee injuries due to force and repetition. Workers must forcefully strike the knee kicker approximately 120-140 times each day. A hand and arm operated power carpet stretcher accomplishes the same tasks with reduced force. Do not trade a knee injury for a hand, arm, or shoulder injury; get training and follow ergonomic principles when using the power stretcher.

Carpet cutting tools, sharp tack strips, sewing materials, and staples can cause injuries if you do not use hand protection and tool safety. Gloves should be of sufficient weight to protect you while still allowing full movement of your hand; you may need several different pairs of gloves for different work tasks. Consider wearing eye protection to protect against flying debris and sharp objects. Always use the correct tool for the job. Ensure that your cutting tools are in good condition and sharp enough to do the job. Watch where you place your hands and knees so you do not come into contact with sharp tacks, staples, or cutting tool edges. Use caution with heat-tape and carpet irons to avoid burns.

When you use adhesives and glues to install carpet and padding, get training and read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for information on the handling, mixing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) required for safe use. Some carpets may require special handling due to their contents or treatments. Read the carpet health information labels for the flooring materials that you install and follow all of the directions for installation.

Knowledge of the hazards of carpet installation and the use of good ergonomics and work practices can keep you safe wall-to-wall.

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