A Guide to Pallet Racking Safety

warehouse pallet racking system

Pallet racking safety is an important consideration for any warehouse manager.

The productivity and safety of your employees should be your number one priority. Not only do workplace accidents and injuries account for millions in lost revenue, but they are also the single biggest cause of missed days of work, which can have a significant impact on productivity.

The warehouse can be a hazardous place, and this fast-paced environment combined with high rise storage and mechanical equipment can mean a recipe for disaster. But some simple precautions such as adding safety features to your pallet racking system can help to keep your employees safe and your inventory intact.

Perform Regular Inspections

Pallet racks are constructed from many components from beams to uprights, locks to guards. Over time, any of the components can become damaged due to inventory movement or collisions with mechanical equipment during retrieval and loading.

Regular inspections, in addition to your annual inspection by the racking safety inspector, can help identify problems before they become dangerous to the safety of your employees.

Check beams for vending or deflection, which can indicate the racking is overloaded. It is important to overlook smaller components such as beam locks which are often made of plastic and can become dislodged or broken during loading or retrieval compromising the integrity of the system. Ensure you inspect all components and have a qualified person make any adjustments and repairs as necessary.

Proper Loading and Retrieval

Improper loading can mean that pallets are stored sub optimally, leading to both wasted rack space and potential hazards.

Special attention should be paid to loading and unloading items from the upper levels, especially regarding weight capacity and load position. The heaviest items should always be stored at the bottom of the racking system, while smaller, lighter items can be stored toward the top. Items falling from these heights can cause serious injury or even fatality.

Comprehensive worker training and regular refresher courses keep workers updated with current loading practices and keep their skills sharp.

warehouse pallet racking system

Label Your Racking

Understanding the maximum capacity, number of items, and the position to load them is key to a stable and efficient warehouse operation. Labelling your pallet racking system is a simple but critical step to ensuring the safety of your employees.

Pallet racking labels should be constructed from durable material to last the life of your racking system. During your inspections check if labels are missing or damaged and replace the immediately to guarantee your racking system performs optimally.

Add Safety Features

Though standard pallet racking systems are constructed with important safety features integrated into the design, additional safety features offer an extra level of security for your employees and inventory that not only keeps them safe but can also improve warehouse efficiency.

Some rack safety accessories you may consider installing to your current pallet racking system might include post protector to prevent damage to uprights from forklifts and pallets, column guards which are typically floor mounted and brightly colored to enhance visibility, wire mesh back guarding for protecting employees from shifting inventory while also allowing you to monitor the inventory, and rub rails to evenly distribute the impact of collision between front and rear column.

You can add safety features to suit the needs and hazards in your warehouse. It is often a good time to install safety features when adding new pallet racking, or when planning a new warehouse layout as they can both boost productivity and prolong the life of your pallet racking system.

warehouse pallet racking system

Final thoughts

Pallet racking safety precautions are the key to ensuring the safety of your employees. Though your racking system is inspected annually by an approved inspector, it is always best to conduct weekly internal inspections and apply additional safety features and protocols when needed to create a safe and productive workplace.