Pallet racking systems are the most practical methods of storing large quantities of goods in confined spaces. They allow for the effective loading of pallets using cranes and forklifts in an environment created for this type of machinery.
As such, material handling businesses operate at their best when safety features are adequately put in place to protect workers, delicate products, and warehouse infrastructure. For business owners, these safety features can ensure that your warehouse operates seamlessly and prolongs the serviceability of your equipment.
Here are six pallet racking safety tips you can implement for your business:
1. Install The Right Pallet Racking System
One of the most vital steps to ensure pallet racking safety from the start and for the long term is using the correct system for your warehouse. The type of system you use will largely depend on several factors that have to do with your business operations, the products you store, and the warehouse design layout.
To choose the right pallet racking system, consider your warehouse floor and space, how accessible the aisles are to forklift operations, how you manage inventory, and of course, your budget. Some more common systems, such as selective racking and drive-in systems, can maximize space limitations while maintaining height and width safety standards.
Time-sensitive product storage can use double-deep or live racking systems that use equipment to move goods faster and more carefully. These are essential safety considerations because they can help prevent critical forklift collisions with racks or uprights and endangering personnel.
2. Inspect Racks Regularly
It’s recommended that the warehouse supervisor of your business perform safety audits regularly with a checklist. This includes examining equipment, such as racks, forklifts, shims, uprights, beams, safety, pins, frames, pallet supports, and any other equipment used in your racking system. These components should be checked for rust, dents, and any damage that could compromise the integrity of the entire structure and lead to breakdowns in the future.
Additionally, your rack safety inspections should comprise checking for levelness and testing the loading capacity of your racks. The assessment should also entail measurements that evaluate deflections and out-of-plumb ratios to check that your racks are still within balance standards. Inspections for damage combined with assessing functionality can guarantee that your racking system is secure and safe to use.
3. Train Personnel Routinely
In relation to the tip above, warehouse employees should also be trained and educated on rack system safety. This is so that they can also conduct random inspections as they work and know how to identify signs of damaged and faulty equipment. Making your personnel aware of safety regulations can help prevent or reduce hazards that may lead to unwanted incidents or accidents.
Moreover, special attention needs to be directed to training workers on using your business’ forklift type. They come in contact with the limited aisle space to offload and collect pallets the most frequently. With this, workers should be trained to drive cautiously, accurately judge the distance between the forklift and beams, and adhere to weight capacity on rack labels. Reporting all collisions to management should also be part of the training procedure.
4. Comply With Pallet Racking Weight Capacity
Every storage rack should have a label that clearly displays its load limitations or weight capacity. The labels should show how many pallets can be stored on each rack and how to correctly position each load to maintain its center of gravity. The best labels should be durable and long-lasting as the weight limitations of racks don’t change.
Use larger plaques if necessary to ensure this crucial information is visible at a glance. This, along with employee compliance, can prevent overloading that can threaten the entire structure to collapse or risk falling skids or loose produces. If you’re unsure of each of your rack’s weight capacities, you can have it checked and verified by a warehouse servicing company.
5. Use Protective Equipment To Mitigate Collision Damage
No matter how expertly trained your forklift operators are, minor collisions every now and then are a reality of maneuvering in constrained spaces. Thus, the best way to maintain safety standards is to prevent serious crashes while mitigating minor ones. This is where protective equipment that surrounds or is built into the structure of your racks can prove helpful.
Appliances such as guard rails, end of aisle guards, and column protectors can absorb the minimal impact from a forklift truck from damaging the rack beams. They should also be used in conjunction with highly-visible and bright floor markings so that drivers can judge when to turn in tight aisles to prevent hitting the beams.
Then from higher up, you can have wire mesh panels and backstop beams inserted at the backs of the upright rack to catch loads that could topple over whenever a collision takes place. Be mindful that this type of equipment can reduce the severity of crashes but isn’t foolproof, especially for major incidents.
6. Ensure The Racking Uprights Are Secure At Floor Level
Once you are certain that your uprights and beams follow safety protocols, you can then focus on making sure the rack is secured at the floor level. The structure’s sturdiness is mainly dependent on how firm the foundation is. This step is necessary, especially if you have used racks installed in your warehouse. If you notice that the concrete flooring is uneven or your uprights are losing rigidity to being worn out, there are several options you can remedy this.
There are various types of anchors, such as wedge and concrete strike anchors, which are screws used to fasten the racks to the floor. Alternatively, you can have the uprights bolted to the floor and inserted into footplates for extra stability, particularly in earthquake-prone areas. This floor security secures your racks for the long term and is considered a good standard practice of warehouse safety.
Pallet racking safety mainly centers around protecting employees from hazards and the damage caused by any incident or accident. This can be achieved using protective equipment and tools to help workers navigate the space in which they work.
Moreover, securing the structure of racks and keeping pallets balanced and loaded within their weight limits are also necessary safety procedures. Keeping construction in place is essential to ensuring that the materials to be stored and your personnel can move around in conditions free from danger and damage.