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Compactus storage

The compactus is a very efficient way to use storage space. There are several issues associated with the use of this equipment including its weight, maintenance of rails, location of files and the potential to be trapped inside.


  • Activate the locking mechanism when in use.
  • Train workers before use.
  • Regularly inspect locks and rails.

Potential harm

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Crushing injuries

Identified hazards and controls



  • The locking mechanism fails or is not used.
  • Trapping of a staff member between the bays.

What workers can do

  • Check the locking mechanism to see if other people are in the compactus before unlocking and operating it.
  • Apply brakes or locks, where applicable, to the bay that you are working in to prevent other people moving the door.
  • Retrieve or replace your items quickly and exit the compactus.

What employers can do

  • Instruct workers to check that no other person is working inside the compactus before operating it.
  • Display appropriate signage to advise how to correctly operate the compactus safely.
  • Locate a mirror to allow workers to see ‘blind spots’ in the compactus.
  • Conduct a risk analysis on the compactus and review if it is still fit for purpose.

Trips and slips


  • Tripping on the raised compactus floor or rails.

What workers can do

  • Watch where you are walking and avoid carrying too many items, as this can obstruct your view.

What employers can do

  • Highlight the rails so that they are visible.
  • Use signage to remind people of the step up and step down into the compactus.

Muscle strains and sprains


  • Excessive force when pulling open shelving bays.
  • Reaching for heavy items above head height.
  • Hand or fingers getting caught between the doors.
  • Lifting heavy items from low levels with poor posture or lifting technique.

What workers can do

  • Face the direction you want to move the compactus and use the winding mechanism, where provided. Where no mechanism is installed, lean forward slowly, driving with your legs.
  • Get help to reach high items or move heavy items.

What employers can do

  • Arrange maintenance and lubrication for moving parts in the compactus.
  • Check periodically that the compactus is not loaded beyond its design capacity and is easy to operate.
  • Ensure that workers who need to use the compactus have the necessary knowledge to operate the mechanisms.

More information


  • See Ergonomic hazards for more information on physical factors in the environment that may cause musculoskeletal injuries, such as sedentary work and slips, trips and falls, and how to eliminate these hazards.



Page last reviewed: 04 May 2021

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 |

Date printed 21 Apr 2024