Safety Standards for Storage Shelves


Shelves are one of the most common pieces of furniture we see in the office and in the home. If you do not follow some simple rules of shelving safety, however, shelves can be very dangerous.

Anchoring Shelving Units

  • Anchor shelving units to walls to prevent them from tipping over. Most shelving units come with a wall-mounting bracket that you attach to the unit and then mount into one of the wooden wall studs. Never use a drywall anchor to mount a shelving unit, as the weight accumulated on the shelving unit may pull the drywall anchor from the wall, destabilizing the shelving unit.

Know the Limits

  • Manufacturers are typically required to assign weight limits to shelving units in order to prevent injury and damage from overloading the shelf or shelves. Post the manufacturer's recommended weight limits for a shelf on or near the shelf where people can see it, and do not exceed those limits.

Never Go Beyond Your Reach

  • Never climb a shelf. Always have a step ladder or a step stool available so people can readily reach what they need.

Be Mindful of Others

  • Keep aisles clear when people are taking items from shelves or placing items on shelves. Do not stand directly behind someone who is reaching for an item on a shelf.

Repair and Replace

  • Keep shelves sturdy and balanced to prevent injury to a person or damage to the unit or its contents. If a shelving unit is damaged beyond repair or cannot be hung straight or soundly braced to a wall to prevent tip-over, be safe rather than sorry and discontinue use of it, emptying its contents and removing the entire unit as a temptation for climbing children.

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