rack storage

This post by Travis Rhoden is a synopsis of how to maintain OSHA compliance for your rack storage.


By   – Contributing Writer,

There are two primary federal OSHA regulations that are applicable to storage racks:

1910.176(b), states that stored items must be secured. The regulation doesn’t specifically address racking; rather, it’s a general stacking requirement, to keep materials from falling over or collapsing.

1910.159, deals with the height of any storage materials in relationship to fire sprinklers. There must be 18 inches between the top of the racked materials and the sprinklers.

General duty clause

For most racking issues, OSHA uses the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act to hold employers responsible for protecting workers from serious and recognized hazards, often referencing the equipment manufacturer’s installation and maintenance instructions and/or the requirements in the industry standard ANSI/RMI MH16.1 – Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks.

What follows are three racking issues that OSHA frequently cites under the General Duty Clause (these are based on actual OSHA citations issued to employers):

Rack columns not anchored to the floor OSHA recommends that the bottom of all columns be furnished with column base plates, and be anchored to the floor with anchor bolts capable of resisting the forces caused by the loads on the rack.

Load ratings not present on racking OSHA recommends that load ratings be present which provide the maximum permissible unit load and/or maximum uniformly distributed load per level, the average unit load, and maximum total load per bay. See ANSI/RMI MH16.1 for additional information.

Damaged racking OSHA recommends that the employer develop a maintenance and inspection program for storage racks. The program should include keeping aisles clear and providing sufficient clearance for material handling equipment. Also, ensuring racks are properly aligned, plum, and level, per manufacturer’s instructions. Employees should promptly report any damage to racks.