The University of Iowa

Material Storage - Offices

Proper material storage and housekeeping are essential in maintaining a functional office operation.  Improper storage and housekeeping can lead to injuries and contribute to the fuel load in a building fire.  

  1. Storage of office materials should be kept to a minimum so as not to increase the combustible fire fuel load.
  2. Keep storage organized and neatly arranged so that items can be easily retrieved when needed.
  3. Storage racks and shelves should be firmly secured to prevent them from falling over or collapsing.  Do not overload the intended design of the rack or shelf; be sure it is capable of handling the material placed on it.
  4. Keep heavier items and material on lower to middle shelves for easy retrieval.  Items located above the shoulders while standing on the floor increase physical risk to the upper body when loading and unloading material from shelves.
  5. Keep step ladders and stools in the immediate area and always use them to reach upper shelves.  Never stand on furniture that is not designed and stable for such use.  Use a ladder or appropriate step stool when reaching for materials.
  6.  In buildings and areas with sprinklers systems, never store materials within 18 inches of sprinkler heads.  A full spray pattern is needed for the sprinkler head to work effectively when it is activated.
  7. Be sure materials are placed on shelves so they will not topple and fall off.
  8. Provide isles when needed, and ensure they have a minimum width of 18 inches.