Material Storage – Is it all stacked up?

Material storage can be quite hazardous if materials are stacked haphazardly as the stacks can topple over and quite possibly land on a passerby.  Materials stacked indoors too high can also interfere with sprinkler systems as well as materials stacked in hallways or aisleways can interfere with safe entry and exit especially during an emergency.

You may be surprised to learn that OHS has guidelines for stacking and storing materials.  Part 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety General Regulations outline the minimum standard for the general handling of objects and material, bulk material in bins, hoppers, and tanks, pile material, hazardous substances, rechargeable storage batteries, compressed gas, portable compressed gas cylinders, and refuelling.  This is a great resource if you have ever had any questions in this regard.

Here are some hints and tips for stacking and storing materials on your farm:

  1. Stack materials on a flat level surface, if possible.
  2. Keep the stacks at heights to prevent them from falling over.
  3. Keep heaviest material closest to ground level as possible.
  4. Secure loads on pallets to prevent movement.
  5. Check or inspect pallets for their general condition regularly; discard broken pallets.
  6. Keep like materials stacked and stored together. Check SDS to ensure materials are compatible and the conditions for which material should be stored.
  7. Keep aisles between stacked rows wide enough for access/egress as well as allow people and machines to access the material easily without bumping into material in rows.
  8. Keep stacks away from sources of electricity and other possible sources of ignition.
  9. Keep stacks from interfering with access to fire extinguishers and emergency equipment.
  10. Use blocks or create a solid foundation to prevent round items from rolling.