Serious concerns over Australian warehouse racking

18 October 2016

An inspection of warehousing in Western Australia has uncovered “serious concerns” around the safety of storage racking.

WorkSafe looked at a wide range of hazards faced by workers in the wholesale trade and found a number of areas that were potentially hazardous that could result in serious injury to workers.

WorkSafe director Joe Attard said the “wholesaling area involved a number of activities that were potentially hazardous and could result in serious injuries”.

“The work activities in wholesaling that result in injuries most commonly involve muscular stress while lifting, carrying or putting down objects, and the occupation most at risk is storepersons,” he said.

One of three main areas of concern was that racks did not display how much weight they were designed to support.

Others were that racks were not secured or bolted down and could move or topple over if hit by a forklift truck. Safety pins that guard against racking supports being knocked out of place were found to be missing.

As part of the inspection inspectors visited 127 workplaces and issued 206 improvement notices and two prohibition notices.

“The greatest number of notices issued related to pallet racking,” said Attard. “Many serious incidents have taken place that involved racking, and it is an area with which we already had concerns.

“It’s crucial that the wholesale industry understands the importance of ensuring the stability of racking in their workplaces and that racking is designed for easy access and use to minimise the risk of injury to workers.”

Inspectors also issued a number of notices around fire precautions, hazardous substances boarding signs and guarding of machinery.

“We plan to monitor the wholesale industry closely in the future to ensure employers are making use of the information we have provided to make their workplaces safer,” said Attard.

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