Health and Safety Article - Stability
The stability of equipment, stock, items of furniture; in fact pretty much anything in the workplace is often overlooked but is just one vital aspect of creating a safe place of work, as unstable objects can cause serious injuries or even kill a person if they were to fall on top of them. Whilst light objects can still cause injuries, heavy items can be particularly damaging. Items which fall from above such as those stacked up high are likely to impact upon a person's head first as that is the highest point of the body when a person stands up. The resulting blow to the head can cause concussion or skull damage, and if the person is rendered unconscious, they may injure themselves further as they fall to the ground.
Health and safety risks with regards to stability are not just limited to items which are high up. Not only can machines and items which are situated on the ground topple over and crush a worker, but certain machinery needs to be stable when it is operated, otherwise it could pose a danger no the person using it. For example, circular saw benches need to be stable otherwise there is a real risk of the operator cutting into their hand and doing themselves a nasty injury. In fact, the sufficient stability of machinery and equipment is so important that it is referred to in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992 (PUWER).
Virtually every place of work will have a risk from unstable items, whether it be a workshop which has cutting machinery, a laundrette containing big heavy washing machines, or an office with boxes of stationery piled high or up on shelves. The stability and location of items is just a small part of the overall practice of good health and safety at work, and often goes hand-in-hand with other elements such as manual handling and training in office safety.