This Safety and Health Information Bulletin is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. The Bulletin is advisory in nature, informational in content, and is intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. Pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers must comply with hazard-specific safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, pursuant to Section 5(a)(1), the General Duty Clause of the Act, employers must provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
The purpose of this Safety and Health Information Bulletin is to:
The Seattle OSHA Regional Office has been alerted to the hazards associated with handling and transporting granite and marble slab . During loading, transport, and unloading of the slabs, the loads can shift and tip over. Workers can either be caught in between slabs or can be struck by shifting or falling slabs. A review of OSHA's Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) data confirmed that there have been a number of worker injuries and fatalities associated with the handling and transporting of granite and marble slabs.
A number of companies use flatbed truck to transport the slabs. Rock slabs can vary in weight from hundreds to a few thousand pounds. An average individual truck load can weigh between 20,000 to 40,000 pounds.
The slabs are transported vertically on storage racks strapped to the bed of the truck. These racks can be made of metal and/or wood. Often, these racks are an A-frame structure (see pictures below), and the slabs are strapped to these A-frames. The slabs are loaded on the truck by the distributor and then transported to their destination. The employees at the other end off-load the slabs from the racks. Often, the truck driver may assist in the unloading process.
During transport, the loads can shift or the tracks can become deformed or fail. As a result, the slabs may shift or fall while they are being unloaded.
In many cases, the A-frames have not been designed to take into account the weight of the slabs. The A-frames also have not been designed to prevent shifting of other slabs if one of the slabs either shifts or is removed.
Often, the slabs are secured using restraining devices and/or tie-downs. When these restraining devices or tie-downs are removed, the loads can shift if the frame is not designed to prevent shifting. The slabs can also shift or fall due to failure or to improper placement of these restraining devices.
The following procedures will minimize the potential hazards associated with handling and transporting granite and marble slabs:
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