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Drywall stilts are an accessory which can be used while installing drywall and preparing it for painting. Stilts are used to elevate a worker so that he or she does not need to use a ladder to reach a high point. They can be used with a drywall lift, a device which lifts and holds drywall in place. Using a lift can eliminate the need for an assistant and make drywall installation go much faster. Likewise, stilts can speed up the process of drywall installation and repair.
The idea behind drywall stilts is that they add some height to a worker so that a ladder does not need to be used to access high locations. They are used much like regular stilts, with the user strapping into the stilts and carefully walking around the space. Drywall stilts usually have extensive leg bracing to add support and make them safer, and they are designed for use on level, flat, hard surfaces; they are not suitable for use on slick or uneven surfaces.
In some regions, the use of drywall stilts is actively discouraged by safety authorities. Stilts can be very dangerous. The user needs to be physically strong, well coordinated, and patient, with most injuries coming from taking steps which are too large, or not paying attention to things on the floor. A fall in drywall stilts can be very painful, and may expose someone to a significant risk of injury such as a broken limb or head injury.
In areas where stilts are used, people typically lay out the equipment they will need at height before they start, because once stilts are strapped on, it's impossible to reach the floor. People classically mount a ladder to strap on the stilts, stepping off the ladder once the stilts are secured and leaving the ladder in place so that they can dismount later. The straps are usually adjustable so that they can be snugly fit around the ankle and calf, reducing the risk of injuries.
Drywall stilts should be inspected before every use to confirm that they are in good working order. The bolts should be snug, no signs of metal fatigue should be present, and the straps should be in good shape and all accounted for. If part of the stilts appears to be damaged or looks different than it usually does, this problem needs to be addressed before they can be worn. People should remember that they will be working with tools while in the stilts, so they need stilts which are safe and reliable so that they can focus on their work instead of worrying about the possibility of a fall.
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