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What are some common storage rack safety issues?

A typical warehouse is filled with steel storage racks that house palletized items. In order to store as much as possible in the warehouse, storage racks are usually very tall. Because the loaded pallets can be extremely heavy, it's vital that racks are strong and stable. Serious injuries could result if a pallet and its load tumbles from its perch and lands on unsuspecting workers.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration maintains that employers are responsible for seeing that their employees are kept safe from recognized and serious hazards. The mandate for an employer's responsibilities can be found in the OSH Act's General Duty Clause.

Here are three of the main storage rack issues for which OSHA has cited companies under the General Duty Clause and the Administration's recommendations for corrective or preventative measures:

  • Damaged racking. OSHA suggests that employers create rack inspection and maintenance programs. A program should include setting up the racks according to the manufacturer's instructions and encouraging workers to quickly report rack damage.
  • Rack columns that are not properly anchored to the floor. OSHA suggests rack columns have base plates which are secured to the floor by anchor bolts. The bolts must be strong enough to stand up to the stress generated by the loads held in the racks.
  • Load ratings not available on the racks. OSHA suggests that information pertaining to maximum load units and load distribution be available for workers at the racking units.

It is all too easy for a damaged or improperly secured storage rack to collapse. The result of such a collapse could be an avalanche of heavy materials, wood pallets and steel rack parts. A worker caught in the path of these tumbling materials could suffer serious or even fatal injuries.

If you were injured in a warehouse accident, you likely need the full measure of benefits offered by workers' compensation insurance. An experienced attorney can help you file a claim aimed at maximizing the funds you receive. And if you have had all or part of your claim denied, the attorney could act on your behalf to resolve the dispute.

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