The safest way to secure stock in high winds

Your approach to stock storage significantly impacts the quality and shelf life of building materials, supplies and equipment. It’s also a major health and safety consideration, particularly in high winds.

When conducting risk assessments at builders merchants across the UK, we often see towers of disused pallets or timber stacked above head height without proper banding or strapping.

In windy conditions, improperly secured stock is especially vulnerable to shifting and tipping, raising the risk of crushing incidents and serious injuries to customers and employees.

To prevent accidents and keep goods in saleable condition, builders merchants need to follow best practice storage techniques that stand up to extreme weather. In this blog, we outline your action plan for safe stock storage across your yard and retail space.

  • Secure items above head height. When materials exceed head height, they need to be strapped together and anchored in place. Use plastic banding or shrink wrap to bundle materials and prevent loose items from falling. For timber, consider using ratchet straps for a speedy and safe solution.
  • Don’t stack pallets above perimeter fencing. This practice increases toppling risks, leaving you open to incidents both inside and outside your yard. Instead, store pallets in low, solid stacks and regularly check for instability and deterioration.
  • Give everything a safe storage space. Take time to plan storage across your retail and yard areas, marking out dedicated, purpose-built zones for stock and waste items. Stacking goods against gates and fences poses a double threat. Materials are more likely to be dislodged by wind and present increased fire and arson risks.
  • Check the weather in advance. When strong winds are forecast, carry out extra checks to ensure stock is securely fastened and augment your safety controls, if needed.
  • Consider closing certain areas in dangerous conditions. If severe weather hits during trading hours, safety needs to be your top priority. Err on the side of caution, cordoning off potential injury or accident risks with a stable, weatherproof barrier system.
  • Look for hazards after high winds. Following extreme weather, conduct a thorough site walk to check for fallen or insecure items. To prevent repeat incidents, tidy areas immediately, note the location of loose materials and take steps to improve storage and stacking methods.
  • Follow work-at-height best practice. Always take work-at-height requirements into account when securing stock. Bring goods down to ground level when strapping and banding materials and employ appropriate lifting devices or machinery to set items back into position.
  • Use local knowledge. You know your yard better than anyone else. Take note of how wind typically impacts your area and shape your safety controls accordingly. To ensure you cover all legal compliance requirements, team your know-how with the expertise of an experienced health and safety consultant.

Prevent safety incidents with support from Opus

High winds can pick up without warning, so it’s essential to keep stock organised, accessible and safely secured at all times – not just when the forecast demands it. Working with an Opus expert highlights hazards across your yard and retail areas, keeping you on top of potential compliance issues.

If you have questions about health and safety across your builders merchant, talk to our experienced team. We’ll provide clear, commercially sound guidance to tackle your site’s specific safety concerns.

Get in touch on 0330 043 4015 or email