Handling and storage of large sheet stone slabs

Health and Safety Executive - Safety alert

Department Name:
Operational Strategy Division - Manufacturing Sector (Metals and Minerals Team)

Bulletin No:
OPSTD MS 3-2010

Issue Date:
23 February 2010

Target Audience:
Stonemasons, Quarries, Construction sites, Wholesalers and Road Hauliers handling the loading / unloading, and storage of large stone slabs. Metals and Minerals processing & production. Stone Federation, British Aggregates Association, Mineral Products Association


Handling and storing large sheet stone slabs carries a high risk of serious personal injury unless undertaken in a safe manner. Due to their size and configuration, such slabs are potentially unstable when stored on edge.


Six people have been killed in the last five years due to being struck by falling stone slabs of this type during storage and handling operations.

Depending upon the type of rock, slabs can fail during handling in unpredictable ways. For example natural stone can be fissured and may crack and/or shatter unexpectedly during handling.

Action required:

Employers, the self-employed and any person engaged in the handling of stone slab should review their arrangements to ensure that:

Employees should:

Co-operate with their employer in following safe working practices.

Relevant legal documents:


Further information:

General note:

Please pass this information to a colleague who may have this Product/ Equipment or operate this type of system/process