Keep Warehouse Racking Safe

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How Do You Keep a Warehouse Pallet Racking System Safe?

Warehouse pallet racking systems are essential in modern-day logistics and warehousing operations, providing storage for goods and materials of varying sizes and shapes. However, these systems can be hazardous if not correctly maintained or used. To keep warehouse pallet racking systems safe, several essential factors need to be considered. These include proper installation, regular inspection, appropriate use, and employee training.

What is the OSHA safety standard on pallet racks?

OSHA does not have a specific standard for pallet racks, but they provide guidance in various publications, including “Steel Storage Racks – OSHA Fact Sheet” and “Warehouse Safety: A Practical Guide to Preventing Warehouse Incidents and Injuries”. Employers have a general duty to provide a safe workplace, including ensuring that pallet racks are constructed, maintained, and used properly to prevent injuries and accidents.

Central Utah Water Conservancy District Pallet Rack

1. Proper installation:

One of the primary keys to having a safe warehouse pallet racking system is to ensure it is installed correctly. The installation process should follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take into account the load capacity and weight of the items to be stored. A professional installer will assess the site’s specific requirements, ensuring the racking system is installed correctly and safely.

Pallet Rack End Guard

2. Install Row End Guards To Protect Uprights From Fork Truck Damage

Installing row end guards on pallet rack helps to protect uprights from damage by forklifts by creating a physical barrier between the forklift and the rack upright. These guards are typically installed on the ends of the racks at the point where the forklift enters and exits the aisle. The guards absorb the impact energy of the forklift and distribute it over a wider area, reducing the amount of force that is transmitted to the upright. By doing so, they help to prevent damage to the uprights and extend the life of the rack system.

Pallet Rack Safety Netting

3. Employee training:

Employee training is also essential in ensuring a safe warehouse pallet racking system. Regular employee training should include procedures for operating and maintaining the racking system, including the correct handling of items and how to spot signs of damage or wear and tear. Training should also take into account the types of hazards associated with warehouse operations, including worker collisions, trips, and slips. Workers should also be trained on how to keep the work area around the racking system free from clutter, debris or other obstructions that can increase the risk of accidents.

Caution hard hat area

4. PP and E

In addition to training, employees should also be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with warehouse pallet racking systems. Such equipment includes hard hats, safety shoes, and high visibility vests. Depending on the nature of the work, gloves or safety glasses may also be required.

Wirecrafters Pallet Rack Wire Enclosures

5. Swinging Security Doors to restrict access to chemical or pilferable items

Swinging security doors can restrict access to chemical or pilferable items on pallet rack by providing a physical barrier that can only be opened or accessed by authorized personnel. These doors can be locked, making it difficult for unauthorized individuals to access the items stored on the pallet rack. Swinging security doors can be customized to fit the specific size of the pallet racks and can be easily installed. By restricting access to chemical or pilferable items, swinging security doors can help prevent theft and unauthorized access, ensuring the safety and security of the items stored on the pallet rack.

Pallet Rack Upright Guards

6. Install Upright Protectors If Forklifts Are Used

There are several reasons why it’s important to install upright protectors on pallet rack:

1. Protection against Damage: Upright protectors can protect the uprights of pallet rack systems from accidental damage caused by forklifts, pallet jacks, or other material handling equipment, which can help to prevent costly repairs or replacement of the entire upright.

2. Improved Safety: By installing upright protectors, the risk of an upright collapsing due to impact is reduced, which can improve safety in the workplace and prevent potential injuries or even fatalities.

3. Compliance with Regulations: Some regulatory agencies require that pallet rack systems have adequate protection to prevent damage or collapse. Installing upright protectors can help to ensure compliance with these regulations.

4. Reduction of Maintenance Costs: Pallet rack systems with upright protectors require less maintenance compared to those without them, which can result in reduced maintenance costs over time.

Overall, installing upright protectors on pallet rack can help to improve safety, prevent damage, ensure compliance with regulations, and reduce maintenance costs.

Nylon Netting Pallet Rack Backing

7. Safety Netting to Keep Inventory From Falling

Is Safety Netting to Keep Inventory From Falling off pallet rack

Yes, safety netting is important to keep inventory from falling off pallet rack. When pallets are stored on higher levels of the rack, there is a risk of items falling off the rack and injuring employees or damaging other inventory. Safety netting is a simple and effective solution to this problem, as it provides a physical barrier to prevent items from falling off the pallet rack.

In addition to preventing injury and damage, safety netting can also help to improve overall warehouse organization and efficiency. By keeping inventory secure on the pallet rack, companies can reduce the risk of lost or damaged items, streamline picking and order fulfillment processes, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Overall, safety netting is an important safety feature that should be considered for any pallet rack system, particularly for those storing bulk items or heavy loads on higher levels of the rack.

Forklift Traffic Area Sign

8. Control access:

Lastly, controlled access should be instituted as employees using the racking system or forklifts around the racking system can put the racking system at high risk of damage. It is crucial to ensure that only trained employees are allowed around the warehouse racking system. Anyone who does not have the necessary skills or experience should not have access to the racking system.

9. Appropriate use:

A proper warehouse pallet racking system will have a maximum load capacity detailed on the upright frames, beams, and braces. Employees should be trained to pay close attention to these load limits, ensuring that they do not exceed them. Overloading the racking system is a common cause of collapse, and it can lead to devastating consequences. Employees should also be given guidelines on how to distribute weight, ensuring that heavier items are placed on the lower shelves, and lighter items are placed above.

10. Regular inspection:

Another critical factor in maintaining a safe warehouse pallet racking system is to have regular inspections conducted by a qualified professional. An inspection should be conducted on an annual or bi-annual basis or as required by the warehouse’s operating procedures. An inspection aims to identify any damage, defects or signs of wear and tear that may compromise the racking structure’s integrity. Such problems may include signs of damage or distortion to the upright frames or beams, loose bolts, or bent braces. Such issues can lead to collapse, resulting in fatalities or severe injuries.

In addition to formal inspections, employees using the warehouse racking system should be encouraged to report any damage, issues or signs of wear and tear immediately. A quick response will minimize the risk associated with the damaged section of the structure.

 11. Adequate lighting:

Adequate lighting is essential in ensuring a safe warehouse pallet racking system. The racking system should be fitted with adequate lighting to ensure that workers can see items clearly as they are loaded or unloaded onto the shelves. Insufficient lighting can make it challenging to spot signs of damage or wear and tear, increasing the risk of accidents.

12. Clean environment:

The warehouse environment should be kept clean, and in good condition, ensuring a safe system. Debris, dirt and other particles on floors can be quite hazardous, particularly when a forklift is being used to move heavy items around.

Ensuring that a warehouse pallet racking system is safe involves several essential considerations. Proper installation, regular inspection, appropriate use, employee training, adequate lighting, a clean environment and control access are some of the factors to consider to maintain a safe and secure system. Through the right maintenance measures, warehouse operators and workers can create a more secure working environment and reduce the risk of accidents in the workplace, keeping employees and goods out of harm’s way.

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