At some point or another you will utilise stacking and storage at your organisation as part of your daily regime. Whether you have a large warehouse or a consulting agency, stacking and storage and the dangers of it will apply to you and your organisation.
Numerous injuries on duty as well as property damage as a result of falling racks, stacks and being struck by falling objects occur daily.
Consider for a second that you’re at home enjoying the first moments of your child, while she is stumbling around, trying to find her feet, a bright toy stacked on some books, boxes and stationary sparks her interest. She reaches out in hope to achieve her goal, when suddenly the load collapses onto her small body leaving her with serious injuries and a traumatised family.
We usually do not consider the possible consequences of poor stacking and storage principles at the workplace, but if we are alert on these aspects at our own homes, why do we allow space for these types of incidents within our place of work.
Some of the consequences of poor stacking and storage practices include but are not limited to:
Lack of or poor productivity: Unpacking and re-stacking in order to get to the material required will not only delay/lag productivity, but will also create an unfavourable working environment for employees.
Increase in Injuries: More injuries mean more unnecessary medical cost that could have been prevented, lack in employee morale and a poor company image.
Damage of company or other property: Every time a rack or stack of some sort collapses, topples over, goods can be damage, leaving the organisation responsible for replacing or covering those costs.
Missed business opportunities/ventures: Due to non-compliance and a high risk profile external stakeholders will be reluctant as this can also damage their own company profile.
The Occupation Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 makes provisions for the stacking of articles and gives guidelines as to how to go about the correct stacking.
Some of the elements required by the General Safety Regulations Section 8 dictates the following:
No employer shall require or permit the building of stacks which consist of successive tiers, one on top of another, unless -
The stacking operation is executed by or under the personal supervision of a person with specific knowledge and experience of this type of work.
The base is level and capable of sustaining the weight exerted on it by the stack.
The articles in the lower tiers are capable of sustaining the weight exerted on them by the articles stacked above them.
All the articles which make up any single tier are consistently of the same size, shape and mass.
Pallets and containers are in good condition.
Any support structure used for the stacking of articles is structurally sound and can support the articles to be stacked on it.
An employer shall not permit –
Articles to be removed from a stack except from the topmost tier or part of that tier
Anybody to climb onto or from a stack, except if the stack is stable and the climbing is done with the aid of a ladder or other safe facility or means.
Persons engaged in stacking operations do not come within reach of machinery which may endanger their safety
Stacks that are in danger of collapsing are dismantled immediately in a safe manner
The stability of stacks is not endangered by vehicles or other machinery or persons moving past them.
Needless to say that if an organisation applies good Housekeeping practises, the correct stacking and storage methods will be easier to implement. Here are a couple of good principles to consider when implementing the new Stacking and storage programme:
Do not store combustible materials close to potential ignition sources e.g. electrical rooms.
Utilise retention cords in areas where stack are relatively high.
All areas within the workplace should be kept clean and free of obstructions/obstacles.
Never block of emergency exit/escape routes with stacks/racks.
Provide Ladders/step ladders to ensure safe manual handling whilst retrieving or stacking items.
Store heavy materials at the bottom and lighter items on the top.
After the correct control measure have been implemented your health and safety team can monitor the effectiveness to ensure that all aspects are considered. Implementing the correct Health and Safety practices, even the simple ones, will positively impact you organisation, guaranteed!
In LabourNet, we assist companies with Health & Safety management because we believe –EVERYONE GOES HOME HEALTHY AND SAFE And that includes, employees, customers, and the general public.
For more information on Stacking and Storage concepts, please contact the LabourNet Helpdesk at 0861 LABNET (0861 522638).
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