6 Apr 2016

1 dead, 7 injured after racking collapse in Virginia, USA

The following report covers the devastating and tragic affect that a racking collapse can have on a business and more importantly the lives of those caught up in the incident. It highlights the importance of routine Racking Safety Inspections to help identify potential faults before it's too late. 

In this particular incident it appears that the racking was not bolted/fixed to the floor (a mandatory requirement for racking of this height in the UK). It sounds as if this particular unit had a high level of traffic (both pedestrian and vehicular) with manual handling equipment including forklift trucks in frequent use. Clearly, a risk assessment should identify potential for collisions in such a scenario and the need for racking to be secured. 

We do not know the official cause of the collapse at this stage but one thing is for sure - this type of accident could and should be avoided by carrying out simple visual checks during routine walk-arounds of the facility. Racking is unlikely to simply collapse without one or more contributing factors (overloading, FLT Impact, corrosion, damage, incorrect installation etc) - and spotting faults early is key to a successful safety and maintenance regime. 

I only hope that this awful tragedy can serve as a reminder to businesses to take more care and notice to racking and the potential damage it can cause, our thoughts and condolences go out to all those involved. 

One person has died and six other people are injured after a large shelving rack collapsed on them at a food distribution warehouse in Manassas, authorities say.
According to police, an interior rack system used to store food products collapsed on several employees. A male worker was pronounced dead at the scene.

"A couple of employees were crushed right in front of me,” said Marcus Yates. “I saw it with my own eyes."
Employees said an aisle of steel pallet racks holding thousands of boxes of frozen food products came crashing down.
"The support system for the beams started crushing, it started buckling and a domino effect all the way down the aisle,” said Yates. “Everything came down."

"The shelving units measured 200 feet long, 30 feet tall and 10 feet deep,” said Prince William County Fire Battalion Chief Thomas Jarman. “Think of your local warehouse store that you go into and put it on steroids.”
Fire crews went inside the freezer warehouse searching for a missing employee. He did not survive the collapse.
"It was very chaotic,” said another witness. “Everybody was just jumping over palettes trying to find people. Everybody is digging and pulling boxes out of the way."

 The surviving victims were transported to various hospitals for treatment. Two of the workers were in critical condition and had to be airlifted to the hospital.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now investigating the collapse. Yates says he and other employees have voiced concerns before, that the racks aren't properly secured. "We've complained about the racks not being safe. Nothing's been done," he says. "When you don't have anything screwed into the ground, when you've got all that weight on them, of course it's not going to last forever."

Yates went on to say he thought the accident could have been preventable and from the various reports we've read (I've included a few links below) we'd have to agree. To find out how our racking inspection systems can help to identify faults please visit our site at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk

Links to stories relating to this incident:

1 comment:

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