OSHA Shelving Requirements

OSHA recommends proper stacking of materials to prevent injuries.
••• Red books on shelves image by laurent dambies from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Employers must keep safety in mind. More than 145,000 people work in over 7,000 wharehouses in the United States, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Warehouse accidents account for more fatal injuries than those in any other national industry. OSHA cites one reason for this high number could be from improper stacking of materials on shelving. OSHA does not have standards for shelving installation, but does require proper stacking on shelves.

Stacking Materials

OSHA regulations on material handling and storage state companies are required to store materials so that they do not create a hazard, according to BLR, a safety training company in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Additionally, OSHA regulations require materials to be stacked securely so that they will not slide or collapse. According the OSHA Pocket Guide on Warehouse Safety, employees should stack materials on each shelf evenly and straight.

Material Weight

Shelving must be sturdy and stable enough to hold the desired amount of weight. Never place an item on a shelf that cannot support it. BLR recommends placing heavier items on bottoms shelves, preferably on the floor, and smaller boxes on upper shelves.

Removing Items from Shelves Using a Ladder

OSHA requires employers provide, at minimum, a stable step ladder with hinged back and flat steps for employees to reach items without having to reach over their heads. Ideally, a ladder should be taller than the item you want to reach. You should never stand on the top step of a ladder. Limit the stacking of materials or items above eye level, when possible.

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