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Wall-Mounted Shelving

Wall-mounted shelving is in common use throughout the campus. If used inappropriately, such shelving can pull away from the wall, potentially placing people in the area at risk of injury.

Wall Mount Incident
Near Miss Incident: A wall-mounted shelf collapsed in an office unoccupied at the time of the collapse.
1. Assess the overall loading of your shelves:
  • Heavy materials should be loaded on the bottom of the unit with progressively lighter materials at the upper levels
  • Shelves should not be tightly packed to maximum capacity from side to side.
  • Shelves should not sag or “belly” in the middle. Shelved materials should not extend beyond the edge of the shelf.
  • Shelved materials should not be brought towards the front of the shelf and lined up evenly.
  • Push shelved materials to the back of the shelf, against the wall.
  • Avoid the use of heavy bookends such as bricks, large solid brass, bronze, or stone objects

2. Assess the distribution of your shelved materials:

  • Materials should be evenly distributed across the width of the shelves, and vertically along the full range of the unit. Heavy materials should be at the bottom with progressively lighter materials towards the upper shelves.

3. Assess the attachment of the unit to the wall:

  • Look from the side at the upright pilasters into which the shelf brackets fit. Report immediately any pulling away or sagging outward of the pilasters.
    (Pilaster: the vertical column affixed to the wall. It is often made of slotted metal into which shelf brackets fit)

4. Assess work practices used in shelving and retrieving materials:

  • For reaching above shoulder height, a step stool or ladder should be available. Never allow anyone to step on a shelf as a makeshift ladder even for a brief period of time. This will cause overloading and could result in immediate detachment of the unit from the wall.

If you have any concerns about the integrity of your shelving, please call the Work Control Centre at 22401. If you believe there is serious risk of collapse, unload the shelves immediately.

In the event of a near miss incident involving a collapsed shelf, complete a Near Miss Form: