Tips for Rack Safety and Keeping OSHA Away
Storage racks are the most important storage solutions in an industrial manufacturing facility, as well as warehouses. They are also used in various another commercial, residential, and retail applications. Although most users know about the importance of rack safety, still it is one of the most overlooked areas. In this post, we will discuss tips for rack safety, and how to keep Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) away.
Introduction to OSHA Regulations
The OSHA is a federal agency that regulates safety and health legislation in the US. The following are some important storage rack regulations promoted by OSHA:
- 1910. 176 (b): This regulation deals with the safety of the stored items. It doesn't address any racking in particular, but discusses safe stacking requirements. It regulates the importance of keeping materials safe, and avoiding their collapse or falling at slightest disturbances. (Read about all the Materials Handling and Storage Regulations by OSHA)
- 1910.159: This regulates the height of storage to fire sprinklers. However, it requires 18- inch clearance to achieve it. (Read about all the Fire Protection Regulations by OSHA)
Introduction to General Duty Clause
However, most racking issues are covered under the General Duty clause of OSHA. It creates awareness among employers to secure lives of their workers by regulating installation, and maintenance instructions. Three racking issues are cited under this type of clause:
- Rack Columns with Insufficient Support: The clause stipulates that rack columns should be supported with column base plates, and anchored to the floor with durable anchor bolts. These bolts should be capable of resisting the load.
- Racks without Load Ratings: This clause mandates employers to mention minimum and maximum permissible loads, and maximum uniform load distribution per level, or maximum total load at each bay.
- Improper Rack Maintenance: Improper rack maintenance leads to damage, and OSHA requires employers to develop an efficient maintenance program. This program should clearly define clearance, alignment, level, and plum, as per the manufacturer’s instructions, and educating employees to identify the damage, and report them.
Tips for Building OSHA Friendly Storage Racks
If you are a business, which is concerned about the welfare of your employees, the following rack safety checklist will help you meet your purpose, and keep OSHA away:
- When buying racks ensure they are equipped with features that assure protection and durability.
- Ensure the floors and walls supporting these racks have good structure integrity.
- Install racks as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- The racks should be built up such that there is adequate clearing space between pallets and frames, between pallets and underside of beams, pallet overhang, forklift operations, and have easy access to the door.
- The base plate should provide sufficient anchorage and should be strong enough to support the column or profile placed on it.
Once, the above-mentioned steps are followed, you need to ensure the following:
- Easy Availability of Detailed Layout Drawings: This will help them report any misalignment at an early stage.
- The Frequency of Inspections Should Increase: Experienced personnel should visually inspect the storage racks daily. All connections should be checked and inspected to ensure they are free from any sort of damage.
- Structural Damages Should be Rectified in the Initial Stage: The racks should be free from any sort of structural damage. Any small damages should be immediately rectified to avoid large build up and collapse. The damages can be severe or partial. If any part is identified as unsafe, the part must be tagged or marked. All loads in this area should be removed from the rack.
Any minor damage should be rectified immediately. For major damages, it is always better to approach a certified engineer.
The first step towards an OSHA safety rack storage is buying a storage rack that meets OSHA standards. You can consider SPS Ideal solutions for the purpose. The company provides various OSHA friendly industrial storage solutions.