OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 12 General Safety Precautions

Section 187 Pallets and storage racks

All goods, materials and equipment at work sites must be stacked, stored, and secured in such a way that they do not flow, move, roll or collapse. Workers responsible for stacking, storing, or securing goods, materials, and equipment must be trained in the safe methods for doing so (see Part 14 of the OHS Code and sections 13, 14 and 15 of the OHS Regulation).

Pallets and storage racks are commonly used in storage and warehousing applications. Pallets and storage racks may support heavy loads that have the potential to injure workers and damage equipment if the pallets and racks fail and loads fall. Storage racks in particular must remain structurally sound.

Incidents involving pallets occur for five main reasons:

(1) poor pallet design;
(2) poor pallet construction;
(3) inappropriate use of a pallet for the load or storage method;
(4) continued use of a damaged pallet(s); and
(5) poor handling.

The leading causes of storage rack system failure, acting alone or in combination, are:

(1) poor storage rack design – the rack is inherently unsafe;
(2) incorrect installation and assembly;
(3) using the wrong material handling equipment to load and unload the storage system;
(4) operator error when using material handling equipment; and
(5) structural problems with the floors or walls of the storage area – supporting structures may be overloaded, floors may not be sufficiently level.

Stacks, shelving and other fixtures for holding or storing materials should be laid out and designed so that there is sufficient access for safe loading and unloading. Storage areas should be specifically designated and be clearly marked. Aisles should be wide enough for the type of storage, and be kept free of obstacles and waste materials. Stacks should not block aisles, walkways, and doors and exists.

Suitable racks should be provided for materials capable of rolling such as steel tubes, bars and piping. Large diameter tubes or pipes can be stored on their sides as drums might be stored (see Figures 12.1 and 12.2).

Figure 12.1 Example of drum rack

Figure 12.2 Example of pipe storage

Wedges, chocks, stakes or other means should be used to restrain the bottom tier of round objects that are stacked or tiered and that could cause the stack to collapse by rolling or moving.

Racks, shelving, fixtures, etc. should be regularly inspected for damage and other defects that might cause loss of strength or result in injury or damage. Workers must report to their employer any damage to storage racks as soon as is practical. It is expected that the employer will assess the damage and based on that assessment, may have the damage repaired or the rack replaced.

For more information
Guidelines for Safe Stacking and Storage

Grocery Warehousing: Ergonomics