Housekeeping – Stacking and Storage

Originally published 05/02/2017

“A place for everything and everything in its place” applies even in construction. Safe housekeeping requires some extra effort, but the benefits are a safer work environment and less chance of an accident or injury.

OSHA Standards for Stacking and Storing Materials (taken from Standard 1926.250):

  • All materials stored in tiers should be stacked, racked, blocked, interlocked, or otherwise secured to prevent sliding, falling or collapse.
  • Maximum safe load limits of floors within buildings and structures, in pounds per square foot, should be conspicuously posted in all storage areas, except for floor or slab on grade.
  • Aisles and passageways must be kept clear and in good repair to provide for the free and safe movement of material handling equipment or employees.
  • When a difference in road or working levels exist, such as ramps, blocking or grading should be used to ensure the safe movement of vehicles between the two levels.
  • Remove all nails from used lumber before stacking.
  • Stack bags and bundles in interlocking rows to keep them secure.
  • Stack bagged material by stepping back the layers and cross-keying the bags at least every ten layers. (To remove bags from the stack, start from the top row first.)
  • Stack and block poles as well as structural steel, bar stock, and other cylindrical materials to prevent spreading or tilting unless they are in racks.
  • Materials stored inside buildings under construction shall not be placed within six feet of any hoistway or inside floor openings, or within 10 feet of an exterior wall that does not extend above the top of the stored material.
  • Non-compatible materials should be segregated when stored.
  • Do not store materials on scaffolds or runways in excess of supplies needed for immediate operations.
  • Storage areas should be kept free from accumulation of materials that constitute hazards from tripping, fire, explosion or pest harborage. Vegetation control should be exercised when necessary.

Remember, bad housekeeping can lead to accidents. It is important that OSHA standards for stacking and storage be followed at all times. Make this a habit and keep the jobsite safe for everyone.

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