Guide

Storing goods and materials safely

Assess the risks of goods storage

You need to assess the risks posed by storing goods and materials and take steps to reduce them.

You should consider the hazards and risks caused by storing goods and materials as part of your overall health, safety and environmental risk assessment.

You also need to look at how storing materials affects the fire risks faced by your business. See fire safety and risk assessment.

Businesses with greater risk

All businesses need to consider the hazards caused by storing goods and materials. But there are some which face greater risks, such as:

  • factories
  • warehouses
  • shops
  • construction businesses
  • agricultural businesses
  • food businesses
  • any business which has to store hazardous materials such as gas cylinders and oil

Storage risk assessment 

Your risk assessment must:

  • identify hazards caused by your storage of goods
  • analyse the likelihood of their occurring
  • determine who and what might be at risk

You then need to take any precautions needed to ensure all risks are minimised.

You'll also need to record your findings and remember to review your assessment regularly.

See health and safety risk assessment.

Types of possible hazard you'll need to consider include:

  • goods falling from shelving or racking
  • someone falling when climbing on shelving
  • stock or materials blocking fire exit routes
  • accumulations of used packaging
  • poor storage causing increased manual-handling risks, eg putting bulky items above head height
  • spillages of goods causing environmental damage or increasing the risk of slips and trips occurring
  • exposure to badly stored hazardous substances
  • contamination or danger caused by storing inappropriate materials together
  • the use of mechanical-handling equipment, eg loads falling from forklift trucks
  • vandalism, theft and arson causing pollution
  • flammable substances

This list shows just some examples, there may be more that apply to your business.