Skip to main content

Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Safe system of work: Stacked materials

Control measure knowledge

A cordon should be set up around a stacked materials if there is a danger of collapse or of materials falling. The radius of the hazard area should be big enough so that debris from the collapse does not fall outside it.

Access into the cordon should be prevented altogether, or limited to essential tasks only. Anyone entering the cordon should be aware of the hazards and the signs of collapse so they can withdraw if necessary.

When establishing a safe system of work the following information will be needed, and any changes monitored:

  • The size of the stack
  • The materials included in the stack
  • The density and stability of the stack
  • The likely impact on the materials or the stability of the stack by:
    • The incident
    • Fire and rescue service activity
    • Current and forecast weather

Fire and rescue service personnel should exercise caution when working near stacked materials. Unless unavoidable, they should not walk on or across stacked materials, or work on the stack

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Make appropriate risk information available to personnel regarding the size, type and locations of stacked materials

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Establish and communicate cordons and hazard areas around unstable stack and falling materials

  • Identify the quantity, type and density of stacked materials

  • Implement an appropriate safe system of work for crews working around stacked materials

  • Monitor the effects of operational activity on the stability of stacked materials

  • Monitor current and forecast weather conditions if they could affect the stability of stacked materials