Understanding the Workplace » Narrow Aisles

Figure 1. Reach truck.
Figure 1. Reach truck.

Conventional rack storage systems were designed for the counterbalanced lift truck which requires about a 12 ft (144 in) aisle width. Narrow aisle storage systems provide more storage space, but require reach trucks and order pickers to operate in much narrower aisle widths.

Figure 2. Reach truck with pantograph attachment that scissors forward from the mast to retrieve the pallet.

Reach trucks are a type of Class II electric motor narrow aisle truck. These trucks are used for high tiering, which involves storing material in multiple tiers high off the ground.

Potential Hazards

  • Danger of overloading, especially on high lift.

  • Danger of tipover.

Requirements and Recommended Practices

  • Check pallet weight before lifting.

  • Place heaviest loads on the bottom racks, and lighter loads on the top.

  • Do not exceed the load capacity of the lift truck with attachments such as a pantograph attachment. (Figure 2)

  • Do not lift the heaviest load to the maximum lift or stacking height. There may be a loss of stability.

Figure 3. Order picker operator using full body harness.

Order picker trucks are another type of Class II electric motor narrow aisle truck. These trucks are designed to lift the operator to retrieve items.

Potential Hazards

  • Falling

Requirements and Recommended Practices

  • Wear appropriate fall protection equipment that is properly fitted and adjusted. Ensure that employees are trained in the proper use of the fall protection equipment.

Additional Information:

Potential Hazards

  • Falling loads

  • Tipover

Requirements and Recommended Practices

Figure 4. Stored material stacked safely.

OSHA's Powered Industrial Truck Standard includes a series of rules for safe stacking:

  • Only stable or safely arranged loads shall be handled. Caution shall be exercised when handling off-center loads which cannot be centered. [29 CFR 1910.178(o)(1)]

  • Only loads within the rated capacity of the truck shall be handled. [29 CFR 1910.178(o)(2)]

  • The long or high (including multiple-tiered) loads which may affect capacity shall be adjusted. [29 CFR 1910.178(o)(3)]

  • Trucks equipped with attachments shall be operated as partially loaded trucks when not handling a load. [29 CFR 1910.178(o)(4)]

  • A load engaging means shall be placed under the load as far as possible; the mast shall be carefully tilted backward to stabilize the load. [29 CFR 1910.178(o)(5)]

  • Extreme care shall be used when tilting the load forward or backward, particularly when high tiering. Tilting forward with load engaging means elevated shall be prohibited except to pick up a load. An elevated load shall not be tilted forward except when the load is in a deposit position over a rack or stack. When stacking or tiering, only enough backward tilt to stabilize the load shall be used. [29 CFR 1910.178(o)(6)]

In addition, the following are recommended:

  • Move forks as far apart as the load will permit. Be sure the load is centered and the forks are completely under the load before lifting.

  • When stacking use only enough backward tilt to stabilize the load.