Industrial Shelving Basics for Health and Safety

Posted on by Angeliki Georga

shelves warehouse industrial

Large industrial shelving structures are used in warehouses, storage facilities and distribution centres to store large volumes of stock and goods. They are space efficient, durable, cost effective and provide secure storage for delicate or fragile items. 

Industrial shelving structures are typically available in many different heights, widths, and depths. Therefore, choosing the most suitable shelving system for your company's needs is essential for maximising the benefits of your new storage system. 

However, ensuring proper installation of industrial shelving is absolutely necessary. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), businesses that store goods and materials must consider the hazards that they may cause. Therefore, the first step is to conduct a storage risk assessment which will help identify the dangers caused by their storage of goods, analyse the likelihood of their occurring and determine who and what may be at risk.  

Once the risk assessment has been completed, precautions must then be taken in order to minimise those potential risks. 

First and foremost, the new racking system must be installed in full accordance with the manufacturer's assembly guidelines. These typically include the following points: 

  • Build and locate racking on level floors which are capable of withstanding the overall intended loads 
  • Where shelving or racking needs to be fixed to a wall, ensure the wall itself can support the load 
  • Connect double sided runs with compatible run spacers 
  • Use anchor feet and fixings to secure the racking to the floor, especially in areas where lifting equipment such as forklifts and pallet stackers will be in use 
  • Where appropriate, special safety ladders must be provided to avoid people climbing on the shelving unit 
  • All racking and shelving should have clear signage stating its maximum load capacities, ensuring there is no room for misinterpretation 
  • Items are stacked correctly – place heaviest at the bottom where possible 
  • Check shelving and racking units regularly for any obvious signs of physical or chemical damage 

It is vital that every warehouse, storage facility and distribution centre that benefits from using industrial shelving must maintain a health and safety checklist as it ensures a solid framework within which staff should operate.  

The only way in which an employer can make their premises less prone to accidents is through a comprehensive assessment and production of a safety program which helps identify any risks in the work environment and how best to reduce them. 

We hope you found this article both useful and informative. For more information on any of our shelving and racking systems feel free to call us on 0333 234 2344 or visit our website at 

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