Safely Storing Stone Slabs
It is an aspect of working in the stone industry that may be easily overlooked if proper attention is not given. It also is a task that must be done if a fabrication shop expects to operate at a high level of production. Storing stone slabs is a must in slab yards, warehouses, and fabrication shops. And when it comes to slab storage, safety is important. In this article we are going to take a look at safely storing slabs. We will discuss why it is important and what to keep in mind in the way of recommendations as regards storing stone.
Safety Needed When Handling Stone
There are many reasons for being safety conscious when working stone. We covered different aspects of safely handling stone in an article entitled:
Handling Hazardous Stone Slabs Safely. In that article we touched on various ways that stone handling safety becomes important in the process of working with slabs. Here though, we will expand on just one aspect of the topic. That of, safely storing stone slabs.
Why Safety Is Required When Storing Slabs
The reason safety is needed when it comes to storing slabs of stone is because of their weight. That's right. The weight of just one stone slab creates a hazard. A slab of stone can easily weight hundreds if not thousands of pounds depending on the size. Heavy stone is Hazardous for a variety of ways. Three of them are:
- Caught-by Injuries
- Stuck-by Injuries
- Crush-by Injuries and Fatalities
Simply storing stone slabs in a facility can be dangerous if (1) Safety measures are not known by those working in the area, (2) These safety measures are not taken, (3) Equipment fails to provide a safe work environment, and (4)
Storage equipment is not maintained so as to retain its performance.
Making Slab Storage Safety Measures Known
In order for safety to take place, each worker must know that there are safety guidelines and requirements that must be followed when it comes to storing stone slabs. Have an education protocol that ensures each new and existing worker is aware of the standards your facility follows. If changes are made to the guidelines or requirements, reinstruct and verify acknowledgement of the update(s).
Ensuring Workers Follow Storage Safety Protocols
Informing is not effective in and of itself. Just knowing about something does not mean that it will be followed through on. Therefore, after instructing, training, or orientating workers, safety practices regarding stone storage must be enforced by ensuring that everyone actually takes the steps laid out in the training. Having a safe stone storage protocol or procedure means nothing if the standards are not implemented.
Stone Storage Equipment Safety
The equipment used for storing stone slabs safely is just as important as having safe practices. In fact, some of the practices will be directly related to the equipment being used. Be sure that equipment is properly installed and set up before using.
And what good is a safety standard if the fixtures used for holding slabs is unsafe due to overloading or damage. Even cleanliness can have an impact on safely storing stone slabs. If waste or debris from the environment gets into a post socket on a
slab storage rack, it can prevent the rack from receiving the post properly. In turn, an improperly seated pole makes the rack weak and well, you know the rest.
Maintaining Slab Storage Equipment
Having high quality equipment, installing it correctly, and using it properly is not the end of the matter. Everything done at the time of install is important. But any aspect of the set-up and installation can become undone if the equipment is not inspected and maintained regularly and properly.
Stone Slab Storage Recommendations
There are several recommendations that serve to keep workers headed in the right direction. The following list of guidelines will help workers to avoid many safety hazards when it comes to stone slab storage:
- Make sure that the storage rack used is designed to withstand the loads and forces to which it will be subjected.
- Use storage rack systems that are made with the ability to secure slabs from shifting, collapsing, or sliding.
- Develop and practice procedures for placing slabs into and removing slabs from storage racks.
- Keep employees out of danger zones such as "fall shadows" while placing and removing slabs.
- Don't use or allows workers to use damaged racks for storing slabs.
- Keep up with rack maintenance by keeping the rack area clean and free of debris that interferes with the proper usage of the rack. Debris can clog holes and prevent poles or posts to properly and/or fully insert into the base of the rack.
- Ensure that racks used for storage are properly installed by inspecting each component, ensuring that vertical posts or poles are able to be inserted into the sockets in the rack's base.
- Regularly inspect each rack before loading it with stone slabs, thus checking that the rack is correctly installed and ready to receive slabs for storage.
Inspecting Storage Racks to Ensure Safety
The recommendations listed above are provided to direct attention to hazards that are associated with the storage of stone slabs in storage racks. Performing regular inspections of the equipment will help to ensure the recommendations are not only followed but also are kept intact. When performing inspections look for the following:
- Cracked Structural Parts
- Welds That Have Cracked or Broke
- Bent or Deformed Structural Parts of Metal Racks
- Bent or Split Structural Parts of Wooden Racks
- Evidence the Rack Has been Overloaded
- Signs of Rack Damage
- Uprights, Poles, or Posts Not Fitting Into the Base.