Material Stacking

Practicing safe stacking and racking avoids serious injuries caused by stockpile collapses or by retrieving materials from improperly collected stacks.  Safe stacking reduces injury and fire risks, enhancing the efficiency of site paths of traffic.

General Stacking Points

  • Prioritize the use of machines, tools, and equipment to reduce manual and stacking of materials.
  • While material is being lowered by machine, keep hands clear of load and use other means (e.g. taglines or rigid poles) to direct materials.
  • Wear appropriate work gloves and safety boots when manually moving and stacking sharp edges, burrs, splinters, or heavy loads.
  • Only stack material in designated areas. Never stack near doorways, access ways or fire escape routes.
  • Never make stacks higher than 3 times the minimum base width, or angle of the repose, which is lower.
  • Step back material as you stack to promote stability and always stack on a level surface.
  • Load the stack with consideration of the order in which the materials will be unloaded.
  • Stage materials close to work area to reduce amount of handling.

Bricks, Blocks and Palletized Material

  • Always try and ensure base of stack is level.
  • Ensure upper pack is loaded squarely on to a lower one.
  • If banding or packing is damaged, or materials are shifting or leaking out, do not stack other materials on top.
  • Leave sufficient aisle way space between pallets, bales, etc. for safe removal.
  • Store pallets laying down flat

Pipes and Tubes

  • Where pipes are small in diameter, stack in racks.
  • If large in diameter, securely chock, or secure, against rolling.
  • Don’t stack loosely or unsecured in pyramids as they can become unstable.
  • Laying large concrete rings flat prevents unintended movement or rolling.

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What should you consider before loading material in a stack?
  • What are some ways we can interlock stacked materials to increase stability?
  • What manual material handling do you perform, which would be made easier via tools, equipment, etc.?
  • Does our PPE address ALL hazards related to the materials we manually handle?
  • Are we storing/stacking materials near electrical or fire hazards, such as; overhead wiring, utility vaults, or too close to fire sprinkler heads?