Handling and storing materials involves diverse operations such as hoisting tons of steel with a crane, driving a truck loaded with concrete blocks, manually carrying bags or materials, and stacking drums, barrels, kegs, lumber, or loose bricks.
The efficient handling and storing of materials is vital to industry. These operations provide continuous flow of raw materials, parts, and assemblies through the workplace, and ensure that materials available when needed. Yet, the improper handling and storing of materials can cause costly injuries.
Workers frequently cite the weight and bulkiness of objects being lifted as major contributing factors to their injuries. In addition, workers can be injured by falling objects, improperly stacked materials, or by various types of materials handling and storing equipment.
When storing materials in your facility, be sure the stacks are stable – stacked materials must not create a hazard. Keep storage areas free from accumulated materials that cause tripping, fires, or explosions, or that may contribute to the harboring of rats or other pests. Non-compatible material must be separated in storage.
Stack bags and bundles in interlocking rows to remain secure. Bagged material must be stacked by stepping back the layers and cross-keying the bags at least every ten layers. Stack drums, barrels, and kegs symmetrically. If stored on their sides, block the bottom tiers to keep them from rolling.
To reduce potential accidents associated with workplace equipment, employees need to be trained in the proper use and limitations of the equipment they operate.
OSHA’s specific handling requirements
The compressed gas standard directs employers to use the Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet, P-1-1965, for compliance guidance. It covers the general requirements for in-plant handling, storage, and use of compressed gases, regardless of content or packaging. Common gases such as chlorine, sulfur dioxide, compressed air, and nitrogen do not have specific requirements but are generally covered under the regulation.
Flammable and combustible liquids
§1910.106(d)(4) & (6); (e)(2), (3), & (6)
Flammable liquids shall be kept in covered containers or tanks when not actually in use. There are limits on the quantity of flammable or combustible liquids that may be located outside of an inside storage room or storage cabinet in any one fire area of a building.
Explosives and blasting agents
No person shall store, handle, or transport explosives or blasting agents when such storage, handling, and transportation of explosives or blasting agents constitutes an undue hazard to life.
Storage and handling of liquefied petroleum gases
Paragraph (b) discusses basic rules about the storage and handling of LPG, and (f) discusses storage requirements for containers of LPG.
Handling materials – general requirements
§1910.176(a)-(c) and (e)-(g)
These paragraphs discuss the use of mechanical equipment, housekeeping, clearance limits, rolling railroad cars, and guards related to handling materials.
Sawmills – lumber piling and storage
Discusses general requirements for lumber piling and storage.
Logging operations – tree harvesting
§1910.266(h)(6); (7); & (8)
Paragraph (h)(6) discusses loading and unloading, (h)(7) discusses transporting, and (h)(8) discusses storages.