Journal Article Title: Forensic Engineering Analysis of Falling Merchandise in a Retail Warehouse
Article Author(s): Armstrong, Jeffrey D., P.E., Yaxley, Wilbur T., P.E., C.S.P.
Volume: 23
Volume #: 1
Month: June
Year: 2006

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Abstract:

This paper discusses a forensic engineering approach to the analysis of falling merchandise incidents in retail warehouses. A discussion of the engineering and safety analysis of two personal injury incidents caused by falling merchandise is included. The first incident involves a fork-lift pallet that held a stack of lounge chairs, which fell from an overhead shelf, striking a customer. The stack of lounge chairs was an irregular shape that was longer and narrower than the pallet. The chairs were held together with stretch wrap and attached to the pallet with 'X-bracing' using cords made of twisted stretch wrap. The placement of the pallet in the overhead shelf, the attachment of the chairs to the pallet, and various safety policies and procedures are analyzed. Various analyses to determine the properties of stretch wrap were performed. A scale model was constructed to assist with the analysis. The second incident involves a rack of vertically stacked lumber that fell forward striking a customer after he had removed one or two boards from the rack and placed them on a cart. The boards, the stacking system, and the restraint system are analyzed. A video re-enactment was prepared to illustrate how the boards fell.