Stacking Up A Pile Of Trouble

An alarming number of employee accidents and injuries are associated with forklift operations. Many of these are a result of poorly stacked materials that topple and damage property and/or injure people.

Stacking boxes, bagged goods, and similar items is usually thought to be an uncomplicated job. Yet, like most tasks that are considered to be easy, a lack of attention or knowledge can create major safety problems.


  • Stability of a stack is the number one concern.
    • If a stacked load is going to be moved, with a forklift or pallet jack, you can see that the inevitable jostling may cause items to fall.
  • What about stacks that are not to be moved?
    • Stability is still important. An accidental bump could cause something to fall which could cause property damage and injury.

10 Safe Stacking Tips

  1. In order for a load to be stable of course its base must be stable. This means you must start building the stack on a firm, level surface.
  2. The base of the stack should be wider than the height.
  3. Inspection of the pallet.
    • Always inspect it to be sure it’s in good repair. If not, don’t use it! Though it seems obvious, make sure everyone on the crew knows the difference between “good” and “bad” pallet repair.
  4. Place larger and heavier objects at the bottom.
  5. Pay attention to the printed instructions on the box that advise how many units can be stacked.
    • If you go higher, the weight could cause the lower boxes to crush, creating an unstable stack and damaging goods in the boxes.
  6. If the product is bagged, be sure the contents are evenly distributed in the bag as you lay it down. This will create a flat surface for the next tier.
  7. Interlock the unites as you build the load.
  8. Tie or wrap the stack to increase stability when finished building.
  9. Total weight must not exceed the capacity of the equipment. Make sure to spread the load out so the weight is not concentrated in one area.
  10. Always know the weight bearing capacity of floors and shelves and NEVER exceed them.

Do not contribute to a lift truck mishap. Pay careful attention and take pride in having an accident free, injury free record.