The construction industry are discussing a plan to shrink the unit size of plasterboard supplied to the construction sector, in the hope that a smaller weight and dimensions will reduce the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among fit-out operatives.

Installing plasterboard to form internal walls, also known as drylining, is a key trade in both the commercial and residential construction sectors. Depending on thickness, typical plasterboard panels can weigh up to 10 or even 12kg per square metre.

Contractors, clients and architects, along with the House Builders Federation, the Construction Products Association, unions and the HSE, formed a working group to address the issue earlier this year.

The group has also engaged with manufacturers including British Gypsum and Kingspan, and is building an evidence case to shift production to a smaller panel size that can be easily handled by one person.

Architects are also included in the working group as changing the standard plasterboard sizes will have a knock-on effect on building designs and grids.

TEAM Safety Services will keep you updated on any further developments on this.