A recent “near-miss” incident involving a wall-mounted shelving system prompted this safety tip. Although no one was hurt, similar incidents have been reported in past years where occupants were not so fortunate. To avoid problems, please keep these guidelines in mind when inspecting and using wall-mounted shelving.
Ensure standards are securely attached to the wall — standards installed on walls should be tight. When installed on drywall, standards should be spaced so the screws used to secure them are driven directly into a stud. Appropriate anchors must be used when screws cannot be driven directly into studs or when installing standards on walls made of concrete or other materials. There should be as many screws used to secure each standard as there are screw holes provided.
Ensure the ends of brackets have not worn loose — Before inserting brackets into standards, inspect the shelf bracket tabs to ensure they are not bent or worn; grip the end of the bracket that will be inserted into the standard and try to wiggle it - there should be little to no play.
Ensure bracket ends are fully inserted and seated into the standards — lightly tap the top of the bracket with a hammer close to the standard once the tabs have been inserted until they are fully seated.
Ensure shelves are properly sized to the brackets used — the front edges of shelves should not overhang the lips on the end of the bracket and the ends of shelves should not overhang end brackets by more than eight inches. Objects should be placed on the shelf so their weight is evenly distributed — be careful not to place items on the ends of shelves in a manner that causes the shelf to tip up or causes brackets to twist or bend.
Ensure shelves are not overloaded! The #1 cause of shelf failure is placing items on them that are too heavy. Longer shelves and shelving used for heavier items generally require more brackets, spaced as needed to support the maximum weight of the objects that will be placed upon them and to prevent shelving from buckling.
Think before you lift! The #1 cause of shelf-user failure occurs while one is trying to place or remove items that are too heavy or awkward, especially above shoulder level. Place heavier items on lower shelves whenever possible and be sure to use approved step stools or ladders and to ask for help when it’s needed.
The installation of wall-mounted shelving in university facilities must be performed or approved by Facilities. To arrange for the installation of new shelving, or if you’re uncertain whether existing wall-mounted shelving is adequate for its intended use, please contact Facilities, 208-885-6246.
Please share this information with others in your unit, and thank you for your interest in safety!