Workplaces that have racking and storage facilities can pose a set of potentially serious hazards. If racking and storage systems are used, selected, or installed incorrectly, workers face the risk of severe injury.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends that organisations follow the Canadian Standards Association User Guide for Steel Storage Racks (CSA A344) to perform their due diligence and provide the highest level of safety and maintenance possible.
On March 30, 2017, the WorkSafeBC Board of Directors approved changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulation pertaining to storage racks. These changes took effect on January 1, 2018 and will be law in the province of British Columbia.
The new regulations can be found in Section 4.43.1, Storage Racks, in Part 4: General Conditions and provide the requirements for employers to ensure the safety of their workers around storage racks.
With these changes, companies with industrial racking over eight feet tall are required to have annual inspections on their racking systems, with proof of inspection provided by a certified racking inspector or engineer.
These new regulations apply to steel storage racks, made of steel frames, beams and associated accessories, assembled into a structure to support materials and products. For example, the most common types of steel storage racks to which the regulations apply are pallet racks and cantilever racks.
This section of the Regulation does not apply to shelving and display fixtures commonly used for retail purposes.
The main objective of the new regulation is to outline the safety requirements for storage racks in workplaces to ensure employers understand the hazards and controls associated with this common workplace equipment. Although the changes to the Regulation are only law in BC, it is more than likely that the rest of the provinces in Canada will change their own Regulations and follow suit.
How to comply
Here’s what you can do to comply with the changes:
- Locate all storage racks in your workplace
- Review the new regulations and determine whether or not they apply to your storage racks
- Start gathering information about your storage racks
- Start to assess the conditions of your storage racks if you haven’t inspected them recently, then prioritize repairs or other maintenance as needed
- Develop a risk-based action plan that includes short, medium, and long-term goals
If you’re unsure about how these regulations affect your organisation or are struggling with compliance, get in touch with us today. We can help you build a safety program that takes these racking changes into consideration.