Safe stacking of containers
Basic principles for safe stacking of containers are:
- Corner fittings should be in direct contact (so a 20’ can’t go on a 40’)
- Vehicle swap bodies are not designed for stacking
- Stacking should always be on good level hard standing
- No stacking over one high within 6m of any building or boundary
- Where forklifts or telescopic handlers are used, the ends of the outside rows of a block stow of containers should be stepped down to improve visibility and reduce the risk of displacement by wind or vehicle impact
- Stacks of empty containers should be stepped back from boundaries, walkways, buildings etc.
- Use of twist locks or bridge pieces to tie the tops of a stack of empty containers will reduce the risk and permit higher stacking adjacent to vulnerable areas
- Stacking end on to vulnerable areas may also serve to reduce the risk.
- Isolated pillars' of containers should be avoided
- Modern equipment can stack containers up to 10 high. In deciding how high to stack as well as considering the above the site operator should take account of local conditions, including local climatic conditions (e.g. is the area particularly windy, what is the normal wind direction etc)
The IMO Code of Practice 'Safety and health in ports' and the ICHCA safety pamphlet on safety in container terminals provide some limited guidance as does BS ISO 3874:1997 'Series 1 freight containers. Handling and securing'.