Astins have been undertaking important collaborative research into the effect of plasterboard weight on our Operative’s health and wellbeing. The outcome of our research, we hope, may help lobby the industry by highlighting this important issue and the options available for plasterboard.
Astins first began using 900mm boards at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. At the same time, the standard 1200mm boards that are used in the UK were being highlighted as an issue within the industry. The 1200mm boards, although available in a variety of weights, typically weigh around 37kg and up to 60kg. In contrast, the 900mm boards being used in Sweden weigh 25% less. From our observations, it seemed that the 900mm boards were beneficial to our Operatives there and so would be to the UK industry also.
Gavin Palmer, Astins QHEST Manager explains, “We discussed this with our trade body, FIS, who were keen to take up the idea for a change within the UK and we all agreed that it was a ‘no brainer’ in terms of the long-term health of Dryliners. However we realised that we needed a persuasive argument and we decided to undertake a study with DorsaVi – physiotherapists who can put some real time measures of muscle extension and muscle load.”
Astins conducted research at our London training facility; the Astins Institute. With the help of two Drylining volunteers; Paul Hayter and Alan Bennett, we spent a day studying the stress levels on the body when working with 900mm boards and 1200mm boards. When comparing the data, the results demonstrated significant benefits both to the volunteer’s backs and shoulders when working with the 900mm boards as shown in the graphs below:
We have utilised this data in two main ways. Firstly in conjunction with the FIS to engage a working committee that includes designers, regulators, clients and other board users. And secondly, we have presented this data to a number of clients in an attempt to influence them to use 900mm boards across their projects. Skanska, having worked with them in Sweden, will be partnering with us using the boards on one of their upcoming projects.
If you are interested in learning more about this important topic, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org