Carpet layers install a wide range of flooring products in homes and buildings to enhance style and comfort.
My experience with carpet layers and carpet companies regarding safety is that they are involved with serious hazards such as the use of sharp and cutting tools, materials, the use of chemical adhesives and treatments, and physically demanding work that can result in ergonomic injuries.
If installing carpet is your livelihood, focus on ergonomics. Before installation no doubt clearing out furniture and hauling old and new carpeting materials are done. Some things to assist in accident or incident prevention are:
1. Proper lifting techniques should be used to protect your back.
2. Maintain a level of good overall health and fitness. This will go a long way in conditioning and strengthening muscles.
3. 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 they could spend about 75% of work-time kneeling on hard sub-flooring, kneepads should always be used 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. Don’t trade a knee injury for a hand, arm, or shoulder injury; get training and follow ergonomic principles when using the power stretcher.
Personal Protective Equipment or PPE should always be used when hazards exists. Carpet cutting tools, sharp tack strips, sewing materials, and staples can cause injuries if workers do not use hand protection and tool safety. Gloves should be of sufficient weight to protect while still allowing full movement of hand. There maybe a need for 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 hands and knees are placed so that no contact with sharp tacks, staples, or cutting tool edges could cause and accident. Use caution with heat-tape and carpet irons to avoid burns.
If or when adhesives and glues are used 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 may be installed and follow all of the directions for installation.
Yes carpet layers install a wide range of flooring products in homes and buildings to enhance style and comfort. Knowledge of the hazards of carpet installation, the use of good ergonomics and work practices can keep you safe at all times providing the confidence to Roll Your Way to Carpet Safety.