Shelving, Racking and how to prevent accidents

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The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA) claims that poor housekeeping (tidiness, cleanliness and control of poor visibility at entrances and exits) need to be identified and addressed in the workplace. We’re here to help you select the right shelving/racking solution to prevent accidents at work.

We’ve put together some of the most common problems, with some helpful tips as well as some racking and shelving solutions recommended to help prevent them:

Twisting and Overexertion

The problem

Injuries often occur when employees overreach for heavy objects. The spine is extremely fragile and can be damaged by stretching, twisting, bending or straightening your back while trying to balance heavy objects.

The solution

Store heavier items on waist height shelves or use the appropriate lifting equipment – if an item is going to be moved by one person try and have the item stored at a height where they do not need to stretch or bend too far to lift it.

Try to keep the unit tidy and well organized – it is not only safer but it will aid efficiency as people do not need to move and search for the required items.

If items need to be stored at height ensure there are appropriate ladders or steps available for use.


Falling stock

The problem

Boxes are often stacked inappropriately or irregularly shaped objects are stored together making them more likely to fall – damaging stock or injuring someone.

The solution

As simple as it sounds, make sure you use a solution that is appropriate for the items being stored – there are in fact different specialist racking solutions for different types of loads.

For example: vertical storage racks should be used for wood and pipe lengths, and plate and sheet racking is designed for flat boards and off-cuts.

At Key, we have 34 specialist shelving and racking options, you can find the full range here.


Trips and falls

The problem

People tripping or slipping in the walkways between or at the end of your racking aisles, or people walking into stock that juts out from the end of a shelving system are other common causes of accidents in the workplace.

The solution

The way to avoid these types of injury is to keep the area you work in as tidy as possible. The walkways and aisles should be free from boxes, packaging or anything that might make people trip and stock should be stored tidily and securely.

Using the appropriate system will help to alleviate this. Take a look at our shelving and racking range to learn what is available.


Additional safety considerations:

Hard hats – it is a good idea to wear a hard hat if there are items stored above head height or if there are areas you might bang your head on. Our range of hard hats can be found here.

Steel toe caps – When working with pallet trucks, carrying boxes or doing anything where you might have something land on your foot the appropriate footwear is recommended, the range from Key can be found here.

Hi-Vis jackets – The easier you make it to get noticed the less likely you are to get involved in an accident, hi-vis clothing can prevent accidents.


Following these simple safety tips, having the right shelving/ racking solution and using the recommended safety equipment will reduce the number of accidents in the workplace.

If you would like to make recommendation for anything else we could include or if you have questions please contact us at or call us on 0800 652 6000

Victoria Vaughan