Ensure materials are stacked safely

by on December 7, 2010 · 2 Comments POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network
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Here’s what can happen when companies don’t use proper material stacking techniques:

A warehouse worker in California was sweeping the floor next to 20-foot-high stacks of baled, recycled paper. Each bale weighed about 1,000 pounds, and there were six bales to a stack. When the worker accidentally bumped into a stack it collapsed, crushing him.

Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen at your facility:

1. Identify the safe height
The safe height of stacks depends on a number of factors, including the type of material being stacked.
In this case, stacks more than three bales high would’ve been hazardous. Another example: Lumber should be stacked no higher than 20 feet, and loose bricks, no more than 7 feet high.

Suggestion: To make sure workers don’t overstack, paint a stripe along the walls, so workers can easily tell the max height.

2. Consider weight, size and shape
Train workers to think about stability based on weight, size and shape. For example, if a larger paper bale rests on top of a smaller bale, the stack becomes unstable. Similarly, if an odd-shaped bale supports another, the stack will become unstable.

Also, tell forklift operators the sturdiest bales (or other material) should go on the bottom row. Also, watch how stacking impacts other stacked materials. Example: A forklift operator can place a box on a shelf, only to destabilize the stack behind it.

3. Use (and inspect) external supports
If stacking is a persistent problem, inspect the external supports, such as racks, bins, planks, blocks and pallets, to make sure they’re up to the job.

Source: NIOSH.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XPJO7FMRFWMQPRECAYFSGCW7AM Robert James

    Thanks for such an informative post.. I am working in a warehouse, your post will definitely help me.. Your points are the most important points that a warehouse owner must take care.. Every warehouse owner must read this post.. Thanks for sharing

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XPJO7FMRFWMQPRECAYFSGCW7AM Robert James

    Thanks for such an informative post.. I am working in a warehouse, your post will definitely help me.. Your points are the most important points that a warehouse owner must take care.. Every warehouse owner must read this post.. Thanks for sharing

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