Handling and storage of large sheet stone slabs
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 weight, such slabs are potentially unstable when stored on edge. Stone worker have been seriously injured or even killed in handling accidents in recent years.
- No person should be within the hazard zone into which a slab might fall whilst it is being handled.
- Safe systems of work should be drawn up to ensure that slab handling has been planned by a competent person is adequately supervised is carried out in a safe manner
- Slabs should always remain restrained during loading/unloading operations, whether from vehicles or from storage when any person could be in the hazard zone into which a slab might fall from its racked position or fail during lifting. This includes when attaching/detaching straps, lifting slings etc. This is especially important when loading/unloading vehicles due to the variable and unpredictable effects of road camber and/or vehicle suspension
- Rack type storage systems should be designed so as to prevent slabs either toppling over or slipping out from the base. Traditional 'A' frame type storage is not suitable in this context unless modifications have been undertaken that achieve the above goal. Storage systems on vehicles should be similarly suitable.
- Employees should be given appropriate information, instruction and training on the dangers of handling large stone slabs and the need to follow safe working practices including the use of appropriate lifting equipment and PPE.
- Appropriate lifting equipment and PPE should be provided, maintained, used and inspected.