Working with granite can be very dangerous. Certain precautions must be followed to make sure everyone involved is safe and unharmed. If these precautions are implemented and followed, it could result in employees being crushed and seriously injured by slabs during the unloading and loading process. If you are someone who works in a granite yard or who owns one, it is vital to inform your employees and co-workers of the risks and to make sure everyone involved is educated in the proper loading and unloading tactics.
The Dangers of Working with Granite
In the past years, there have been several fatalities resulting in people being crushed by granite. Each slab weighs anywhere from 700-1,200 pounds depending on the size and components of the specific stone. During the process of loading and unloading, there is a certain way in which it should be done to avoid these unfortunate circumstances.
Loading and Unloading
Two different ways are commonly used for unloading and loading. There are specialty cranes and trucks that are made specifically for moving granite slabs. Without the proper equipment, moving the slabs can be very difficult and dangerous. These cranes used for loading have stabilizers to keep the slab from swaying and falling. They also are built to withhold the weight of these stone slabs. When a slab is suspended by crane, you always want more than one person managing it. Two people if not more is ideal, this way everyone can assist in making sure the proper steps are followed.
Storing Your Granite On-Grounds
Every granite distributor is different and has its own ways of storing their slabs. The two most commonly seen are A-Frame racks and Slab racks. An A-Frame rack allows the slabs to rest in a slanted position in the form of the letter A. This, in our opinion, is the most efficient because it allows the customers to be able to fully see the stone in its entirety without having to move the slab at all. The slab also has a decreased chance of falling since it is sitting in a slanted back position.
Slab Racks are also a popular solution and are typically used for half slabs, rather than full slabs. The way a slab rack works is with two horizontal bases with poles inserted into the base to act as dividers. The slabs sit in between the dividers. Slab racks, although popular, have their faults. For example, it is very hard to see the stones face while being in these racks. There is also a chance of the stones falling into each other if one of the dividers becomes loose, which can result in damage to the stones themselves as well as customers and employees who are nearby.
Each of these options is efficient and does the job, although they need to be installed and secured properly. A-Frames should be bolted the floor of your warehouse to prevent them from falling and slab racks should be properly welded, with the dividers secured.
Transporting granite is probably one of the most nerve-wracking steps in working with granite slabs. Granite is normally transported in shipping containers that use wood supports. These supports are to hold the slabs steady and prevent them from sliding, shifting, or breaking during transport. If you think about it- a piece of wood supporting a 700-1200-pound slab and the wood will possibly break at some point. This makes this a win or lose option. For delivery of granite to customers once it’s at the slab yard, this procedure is up to the granite supplier. It is recommended that you use the proper sized delivery truck and implement A-frames in the transportation of granite. You want granite to stay upright or at a slant when on the move. Granite is durable and strong if laid flat and with enough pressure applied to it, but it can crack or shatter, which we want to avoid. Once you’re at your delivery site, the same precautions should be followed when unloading a new container of slabs. Make sure you have a suitable number of people, as well as the right equipment necessary.
If you would like to skip all these complications, give us a call! We can both provide granite slabs and recommend a contractor who will take care of the installation process for you!