Natural Stone Safety
Loading & Offloading Natural Stone Slabs
Unloading stone slabs from containers, storing them in "slab-racking" systems, moving and handling stone slabs with equipment, and loading stone slabs onto trucks has to be handled with care and the right equipment. You don't necessarily need expensive equipment, an attachment to a Boom onto your folk-lift and a clamping system and your moving, loading your materials from A to B. There are Safety and Health Information available to minimize any hazards associated with handling stone materials. Awareness of the appropriate precautions can help prevent serious injuries related to these activities. Over hanging cranes are not essential and can be expensive specially for large full raw slabs, this would not apply to prefabricated granite. Off loading pallets of full prefab has been re-designed by our team for safety and easy off-loading by reducing the pallets from 5000 pounds to 3000 pounds or less depending on which program your ordering. Off loading instruction should be observed closely, not to difficult but the first container takes a little to get used to, after that it gets easier and easier. There very simple ways to have your materials delivered larger containers, off loaded to flat beds and placed right where you want them, its all up to you. Please read this information and if you require Setimar's Stone Groups further proprietary information to off load double loaded containers to reduce costs, we will be glad to do so with your orders.
- Alert employers and employees to the hazards associated with slab handling, transport and storing, loading and unloading operations
- Provide information and recommendations to lessen the potential for employee injuries when performing these operations
- Remind employers to establish stone slab handling procedures in their workplaces
- Stress the importance of training employees on safe workplace procedures, and
- Ensure that employee follow safe stone slab handling procedures.
- Training is available if required, ask for details.
Stone slabs can vary in weight from several hundred to several thousand pounds in storage of Stone Slabs. Setimar Stone Group has never in its history neither its network nor distributors have had any serious accidents ever period.
When the slabs are off-loaded, they are often placed in a rack structure for storage. These racks may be constructed of metal and/or wood. One type of racking system uses an A-frame structure. The slabs are placed against the back of the A-frame or against another slab.
In some cases, the A-frames were not designed properly to support the weight of the slabs or to prevent the remaining slabs from shifting when one slab is removed. In other instances, the slabs were not secured with restraining devices and/or tie-downs to keep them from sliding, nor were the A-frames inspected to ensure structural integrity.
In order to position stone slabs near vertical (90 degrees), employees sometimes stand in front or behind the slabs (within what is known as the "fall shadow"). Standing in the fall shadow can result in a crushing injury or fatality should the slab tilt too far.
The "slab rack" is another storage system that is used throughout the stone slab handling industry. Several companies manufacture and distribute these types of storage systems and all are of a similar design. These "slab racks" consist of two horizontal bases and poles. The bases have holes fabricated in the top and bottom for insertion of the poles. After the poles are installed in the base, the stone slabs are placed between the poles. Placement and removal of slabs are performed by material handling equipment.
Loading Stone Slabs onto Flatbed Trucks
Stone slabs are loaded onto a flatbed truck with mechanical equipment such as a powered industrial truck with a boom or an overhead crane. The flatbed trucks may have A-Frame supports, or pole racking systems to secure the slabs for transport. Employees who are engaged in loading stone slabs are exposed to caught-by, struck-by, and/or crushed-by hazards.
Employers who are engaged in the handling and storage of slabs must prevent caught-by, struck-by, and/or crushed-by hazards in their workplace. The following are general recommendations:
1. Pre-plan work to identify the hazards, safe work practices, and the equipment that will be used to perform the work safely.
2. Develop and implement safe stone slab handling procedures for transporting, loading and unloading slabs from containers and storage areas.
3. Provide mechanical handling equipment appropriate to the task.
4. Inspect material handling equipment before use to assure that it is in good condition. Defective equipment must be immediately reported and repaired or replaced before use.
5. Instruct and train employees on the proper material handling procedures.
6. Ensure that employee follow safe stone slab handing procedures.
Recommendations for Storage of Stone Slabs
The following recommendations will minimize the potential hazards associated with "stone racks" and other storage racks for storing stone slabs:
1.Design storage racks to withstand the loads and forces imposed on them.
2. Design a storage rack system to secure slabs from shifting, sliding and collapsing, or provide secondary bracing or a restraint system to secure slabs from shifting, sliding and collapsing.
3. Ensure that the "slab racks" are properly installed. Inspect each component to ensure that poles can be inserted into the holes.
4. Maintain the rack, ensuring that no debris or other objects interfere with the insertion of the poles used with "slab racks."
5. Develop and implement procedures for the placement and removal of slabs from the racks, keeping employees out of danger zones.
6. Do not allow employees to use damaged storage racks.
7. Inspect the storage racks prior to loading. Ensure that the racks are properly installed. Look for:
-Cracked structural members;
-Deformed or bent structural members;
-Splits in wooden supports;
-Areas that show that the rack has been damaged or overloaded; and
-Poles or other uprights not seated properly in sockets or holes.
Recommendations for Handling of Stone Slabs
The following recommendations will minimize the potential hazards associated with handling and transporting stone slabs:
-Avoid manual lifting of stone slabs where possible. Use mechanical aids (slab dollies, suction lifts, scissor clamps, etc.). Lift only loads that can be safely handled.
-Use the proper material handling equipment, such as an overhead crane with appropriate approved attachments, or a forklift truck equipped with appropriate and approved boom attachments and lifting devices, or other equipment to assist with the unloading and loading of slabs.
-Place the clamp on the secure area of the stone when moving and/or lifting a slab with a scissor clamp. Placing the clamp over a weak vein can cause the stone to break and fall. Clamps should be used only on grade "A" marble and other solid stones without flaws, open seams, or cracks.
-Assure that a suction cup is rated to lift these types of finishes when moving unpolished slabs with a suction cup lifter. CNC self loading equipment with Hydraulics will be available in 2009.
-Do not use scissor clamps on equipment operating on uneven surfaces.
-Never stand under, near or in the fall shadow of a slab when moving it with an overhead crane. Use a tag line to control slabs being supported or moved while suspended from a crane cable to prevent them from falling or toppling.
-Always walk at the end of the slab. Never walk in the "fall shadow" of a slab. The "fall shadow" is the area on both sides of the slab where the slab could land and topple if it were to fall.
-Assure that dollies used to move stone slabs are designed to support the weight of the slab.
-Have employees walk on either end of the dolly to support the slab.
-Raise the load only as far as necessary to clear the road surface or obstacles when using powered industrial trucks.
-Only handle loads within the rated capacity of the truck when using powered industrial trucks.
-Remove the supports and bracing from the stone slab bundles inside shipping/storage containers using a sequence that does not allow for the other slabs to shift or collapse.