How to prevent racking and shelving accidents

Racking and shelving can present a potential hazard to warehouse operatives. The racking itself can become unstable, or falls can occur when workers are retrieving items from shelving. There are many ways, however, in which the risk of accidents can be minimised and the workforce can be kept safe.

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The risk of accidents from racking and shelving

According to the Health and Safety Executive, warehousing and storage is a complex industry that can expose workers to a multitude of risks.

In order to minimise those risks, all employers need to put appropriate health and safety arrangements in place. This starts with an effective health and safety management system. Employers start by identifying the key health and safety priorities and assessing the risks to employees.

Then, they put measures in place to eliminate the risks where possible by using safe systems of work and providing warehouse employees with adequate information and training. A safe system of work would include the provision of specialist industrial shelving in Ireland from a supplier such as

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Working safely with racking and shelving

Injuries can occur from falling stock. The problem is often caused when boxes or packets are stacked incorrectly and therefore become unstable. It is especially important to stack irregularly shaped goods carefully and in the same place.

The simple solution is to install shelving that is designed to store that particular type of package. You can obtain specialist racking solutions for all types of packages and goods. One example is lengths of wood and pipe. These can be safely stored in vertical storage. Flat boards and off-cuts can be stored in plate and sheet racking.

Another common hazard is twisting and overexertion. This happens when workers over-reach and is a particular problem with heavy objects. The bones, ligaments and tendons associated with the spine can be damaged and the result is pain, discomfort and time off work. The best way of preventing this is to store heavier items at waist height to prevent bending or over-reaching.

Providing manual training is also vital. Employees have to be trained in how to assess a lifting job and safe lifting techniques. Some lifting tasks will need special equipment or may require two employees to complete them safely. Training must be appropriate to the task and should be continuously refreshed.