Warehouse Safety Standards in Your City

When setting up a warehouse, you must consider warehouse safety and abide by your city’s warehouse safety standards. Familiarize yourself with the building code requirements and warehouse storage regulations laid out by your city before getting started. 

We’ve compiled some general resources and code/safety regulations here, but this is not an exhaustive list, and you still need to follow the warehouse safety standards for your location. 

Need a pallet rack inspection? We can send an expert to inspect your warehouse racking and identify damage or improvement areas. We always suggest playing it safe when it comes to warehousing standards and the safety of your product and personnel. 

Warehouse safety apparel

What are Warehouse Standards?


Warehouse standards are a set standard of regulations that are put in place by OSHA and other regulatory agencies. Though OSHA doesn’t specify exact warehouse requirements, they do state that every employer should provide a workplace free from recognized hazards and offer solutions as laid out in this pocket guide.

Top 5 Warehouse Best Practices

1. Maintain a clean warehouse

Proper housekeeping drastically decreases the likelihood of workplace accidents like slips, trips, falls, or crashes. Keep your warehouse floors and racking clean, and free of dust and debris.

2. Correctly position your talent

A respected leader in the warehouse greatly influences the work environment, turnover rates, and warehouse safety. Place individuals in leadership who know how to manage people not just processes in order to optimize your workflow and efficiency.

3. Take preventative safety measures

Hazard prevention is equally as important as having an emergency action plan. The following prevention tactics help you avoid accidents to begin with:

  • Forklift safety training — forklift accidents are the primary source of rack damage and warehouse injury. Educate your employees to avoid such mistakes to act quickly and properly if an accident occurs.
  • Regular rack inspections — don’t wait for insurance or safety audits to force your hand. Regularly inspect your racking for damage and missing components like clips or bolts.
  • Rack protection — proper rack guarding like column protectors, end-of-aisle guards, and more stop rack damage in its tracks.

4. Acquire proper capacity labels and permitting

Be sure to label your racking for its stated capacity and follow all local and state warehouse standards.

5. Account for pedestrian traffic

Adding designated floor coloring or actual guardrail to prevent pedestrians from entering the space used for forklift traffic greatly decreases workplace accidents. Consider all forms of warehouse traffic flow and make accommodations to optimize daily operations.

Commerical building permit application

Warehouse Permits

It is vital to acquire proper warehouse permitting to avoid delays in the project or having to make changes unaccounted for in the design.

Throughout the building permit process, permitting experts look at things such as:

  • Warehouse layout and engineered stamped drawings
  • Fire safety
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Electrical safety
  • Pallet rack codes and standards (such as capacity and rack configuration)
  • Hazardous material storage
  • Warehouse design and construction
  • Seismic rating 
  • Egress requirements

Warehouse Regulatory Agencies and Resources

Remember, different areas have different regulations and building codes for warehouses. These resources are helpful when learning about general requirements, but you need to research your location to stay up to code.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA is a large US regulatory agency that inspects and sets standards for workplace safety.

The resources below contain OSHA warehouse storage regulations: 

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The Material Handling Industry of America (MHI)

MHI is “the nation’s largest material handling, logistics, and supply chain association.” Its vision is to be the leading resource for the material handling industry by delivering knowledge, connections, and market access. MHI safety standard resources:

MHI logo

Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI)

RMI is a branch of MHI specializing in steel storage racks and wire decking. RMI drafted the American National Standards for industrial pallet racks, cantilever racks, and wire decking for the ANSI. Helpful RMI safety resources:

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Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Believe it or not, there are FDA food storage warehouse regulations. Find these FDA warehouse regulations in the policy guide below:

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Warehouse Safety Standards Next Steps

We hope this page served as a resource to you. If you still have unanswered questions about warehouse safety standards and codes, we’d love to help. Call us at 800-722-5908 for more information or to schedule a pallet rack inspection today!


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