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Safe Material Stacking | Safety Dos and Don’ts

Safe Material Stacking | Safety Dos and Don’ts
Safe Material Stacking | Safety Dos and Don’ts

Safe Material Stacking | Safety Dos and Don’ts



Safe stacking of materials is part of a good material handling and storage management system. There are serious accidents recorded every year around the world caused by falling or collapsing materials or loads that have resulted in crushing or pinning injuries to workers.
According to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.176 (b), the material must be properly protected against falling or collapsing and must not create a hazard. All material must be stored and stacked correctly. It must not block the access, the emergency exit or the emergency equipment. The material must be prevented from slipping, collapsing and the height of the stack must be limited to ensure its stability.
When stacking material, the width of the base of the stack should be considered when determining height, although maximum stack heights should not exceed 16 feet for manual work and 20 feet for lifting motorized machines.
The first principle of the material stacking system is to ensure that the piles are stable and self-supporting. When stacking materials, workers should limit the height and allow sufficient clearance around the piles for safe handling and easy access. It is always recommended to take care not to block emergency exits and emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, fire alarm points, etc.
Safe material stacking practices can prevent incidents of worker injury and property damage. It also helps to maintain good housekeeping and thus prevent the risk of fire.

Material stacking safety Dos and Don’ts

Here are the best practices for safe stacking of materials in the form of Dos and Don’ts.

Dos

  1. Stack material only in the designated area, be clearly marked, and be in the charge of a responsible employee.
  2. Prepare a plan and follow the "place for everything and everything in its place" rule.
  3. Mark or label the location of each item after carefully determining the type, shape, load, uses, etc. of material to be stacked.
  4. Heavy material should be stacked at the bottom while light material can be staked at the top or upper level.
  5. Determine the consumption pattern, more consumable items can be stacked first, while less consumable items can be stacked behind.
  6. Provide a small compartment or holders for small loose items.
  7. Make sure the walkways, escape route, emergency system, emergency equipment and doors are not blocked.
  8. Make sure a gap of about 1 m from the ceiling, roof or sprinkler heads.
  9. Maintain a free space of about 1 m on all sides of the stacked material and a space of 450 mm should be allowed on the wall side.
  10. Stack material only on firm, level surfaces.
  11. Provide packaging or pallets where appropriate.
  12. Always use handling accessories.
  13. Use mechanical assistance to eliminate the need for manual handling.
  14. Do a risk assessment where manual manipulation is unavoidable.
  15. Make sure that no sharp edges of the material protrude towards the walkways.
  16. Store hazardous materials or chemicals with the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
  17. Perform housekeeping to avoid debris, remove garbage and remove combustible material to minimize the risk of fire.
  18. Stack the small pipes in the holder, if they are large, securely wedged with a stopper at the base.
  19. Store materials of different lengths in separate piles.
  20. When designing and installing the racks, make sure that there is enough separation to allow loading, unloading or stacking of material easily.
  21. Provide suitable means of access, ladder, for workers required to climb or remove material from stacks.
  22. Ensure proper signaling and communication between the rigger and equipment operator.
  23. Use drum rack for stacking drums.
  24. Use suitable method of stacking, either vertical or horizontal based on type of material.
  25. Provide steel post or other suitable barrier to protect the corners or ends of shelving and racks from damage by forklift of other powered machines.
  26. Use a ladder instead of using boxes or materials to stand on.
  27. Use appropriate PPE including hard hat, gloves, safety shoes, etc.
  28. Fire protection partition can be used to stack different combustible or flammable material.
  29. Train the workers for safe stacking of material.


Don’ts

  1. Don’t stack materials more than three times the base width.
  2. Don’t stack incompatible materials together.
  3. Don’t use a rack made of combustible materials and not likely to retain water.
  4. Don’t lean against temporary structures.
  5. Don’t stack materials more on the displaced material.
  6. Don’t keep legs close to the material or load while handling, as it tilts at any time.
  7. Don’t stack materials or load and unload materials near running machinery or near live electrical cables.
  8. Don’t keep fragile material at the bottom to avoid breakage.
  9. Don’t stand on racks, shelf, boxes, chairs.
  10. Don’t stack material in incompatible environment.
  11. Don’t block escape route, emergency equipment and pathways by stacking material.
  12. Don’t stack the material within 450 mm of a wall it also help to enable inspection.
  13. Don’t stack material directly on floor to protect from moisture or water logging.
  14. Don’t use damaged pallet or unsafe rack as they are prone to collapse the stacked material.
  15. Don’t use faulty mechanical tools or machines for stacking the material.


Summary
Safe material stacking practices not only help prevent injury, but also provide effective material management, including ease of accessibility, retrievability, housekeeping, and visual management presentable in workplace.

These Dos and Don'ts about material stacking safety can be posted in warehouses, stock yards and other work areas to educate workers on the best practices.

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