Warehouse Safety Netting: Essential to Prevent Costly Damage and Injuries

Cost Effective Warehouse Safety Netting

For companies that rely on logistics and storage to operate, warehouse safety should be your highest priority. Promoting safe storage and retrieval practices and using protective equipment safeguards your inventory and employees. This approach creates a smoother workflow for increased productivity and leads to a better bottom line for your company.

While column guards, bollards, and rails can help prevent materials handling accidents, they often require a substantial initial investment, which can be cost-prohibitive for many small to mid-sized businesses.

Safety netting provides an easy, cost-effective, and efficient method to enhance security in your facility. It plays a crucial role in preventing falls from mezzanine levels and pallet racking, offering an affordable approach to adopting safety measures in your distribution center or warehouse.

Find out how using cost-effective warehouse safety netting in your warehouse can protect your employees and merchandise.

What is Warehouse Safety Netting?

By installing safety netting in warehouses, you ensure compliance with OSHA regulations and create a physical barrier that prevents palletized goods and loose inventory from falling to the warehouse floor.

Safety netting is usually made from polyethylene, nylon, or polypropylene. These materials are engineered to resist impacts, tears, and abrasion and provide long-lasting durability.

Netting is securely attached to structures such as racking systems, mezzanines, and conveyors using steel cables, eye bolts, custom-designed brackets, or specialized rail systems for a dependable installation. Proper installation ensures items are securely contained and provides additional time to absorb impact, enhancing safety.

Warehouse safety nets are available in various durable materials, colors, sizes, shapes, and weight capacities to match your specific risks, loads, and budget. While full-coverage protection netting systems are designed to protect entire racking sections and extend from the floor to the top beam levels, partial safety nets can be strategically placed to protect high-traffic zones and aisles.

Different Types of Warehouse Safety Netting

When considering warehouse safety and functionality, there are several different safety netting models to choose from, including:

  • Pallet rack-mounted safety nets. Attach directly to vertical and horizontal rack beams using specialty brackets. Strategic net placement contains loose items falling off the rear of racks during loading/unloading, protecting workers and inventory.
  • Post-mounted safety nets. Free-standing safety nets that use durable nylon nets clipped into galvanized steel posts bolted into the concrete floor. They provide flexible overhead protection along aisles and busy zones prone to falling hazards.
  • Elevating rack guard systems. Mountable retractable nets inside pallet bays that raise and lower using an automatic spring balancer and pull cord. This allows entry while guarding access points from loose items accidentally pushed off racks.

How Safety Netting Prevents Worker Injuries

Catastrophic injuries are unfortunately common in industrial settings, with 2.3 million injuries occurring on the job in 2022. Safety netting offers an effective system for protecting employees from falling and preventing severe warehouse injuries.

This also ensures that you comply with OSHA fall protection guidelines that require fall protection at 25 feet for construction sites. However, safety netting can also protect workers at the ground level.

Inventory handling from heights combined with heavy machinery like forklifts moving rapidly in tight spaces creates an opportunity for accidents. Warehouse safety nets provide a layer of passive protection for workers on loading docks, along conveyors, in racking aisles, and anywhere else objects may fall.

Stopping loose inventory before it gains momentum may reduce the severity of impact injuries to employees below. Placing netting systems strategically along key pedestrian pathways also shields administrative and management personnel from falling objects in areas near equipment and machinery, where tools or parts might accidentally be dropped from above.

Warehouse Safety Netting

Using Safety Nets to Prevent Inventory Damage

The costs add up quickly when racking, inventory, or equipment are damaged in a warehouse accident. The average warehouse shrinkage rate can vary between 2-10% each year due to damage, theft, or loss.

This scenario could lead to your company spending thousands to replace lost inventory. Additionally, the labor and operational costs for cleanup can be significant. These expenses will increase if the racking or equipment requires structural repairs.

Replacing any destroyed inventory, plus restocking fees and shipping costs, takes a toll, and that’s not even considering the revenue losses from operational downtime as the accident is addressed. Warehouse safety netting contains loose overhead inventory, preventing it from gaining enough momentum and velocity to wreak havoc below.

Containment nets placed under conveyors or racking bays collect smaller items before they hit the ground. This helps prevent major damage to inventory, equipment, and racking structures. It also allows you to reclaim any undamaged product caught in the safety netting so it can be put back into circulation.

Explore the Advantages of Installing Safety Nets in Your Warehouse

The installation of safety netting on your warehouse racking and shelving system is a critical step towards a safer, more productive facility. But there are numerous additional benefits that you can expect from safety netting, including:

  • Increasing employee confidence. Placing safety nets in key areas around your warehouse instills confidence in your workers since they are less concerned about sustaining an injury on the job. This increased confidence can help them concentrate more fully on their job, increasing warehouse productivity.
  • Lowering operational costs. With fewer safety incidents, employees have less downtime, and you can save on insurance or workers’ compensation costs.
  • Protecting inventory investment. These nets help prevent your stock and equipment from getting damaged by falling items, which can lead to significant cost savings over time.
  • Meeting regulatory standards. Integrating safety netting enhances compliance with OSHA and state workplace safety regulations.
  • Demonstrating safety commitment. Prioritizing employee well-being and inventory protection improves the morale, culture, and retention of the teams.

Integrating Safety Netting into Your Warehouse

To determine the best places to install netting, conduct a thorough walkthrough assessment of potential fall and impact hazards in your warehouse:

  • Identify fall hazards along racking runs, mezzanines, stairwells, and loading docks, noting down height differences.
  • Check for areas where loose items may fall onto pedestrian corridors below.
  • Look for equipment like conveyors, pick modules, or sorting systems passing over work zones.
  • Make a note of narrow flues between back-to-back racking rows prone to debris accumulation.

Measure dimensions in each hazard zone to obtain quotes for appropriately sized netting and seek professional recommendations on load capacities, materials, and installation methods required.

Adhere to all applicable OSHA regulations and safety precautions during net installation. Use load capacities that match potential falling objects. Train your staff to inspect nets and report any damage immediately. Schedule regular safety net inspections for compliance walkthroughs.

Make Safety a Priority in Your Warehouse

Cost-effective warehouse safety netting stops overhead hazards before they can cause injuries and damage below. Strategically protecting workers reduces accidents and increases morale, confidence, and productivity, while protecting valuable inventory reduces operational costs and eliminates revenue losses from damage and downtime.

Contact Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. today at (800) 589-7225 for a free assessment of your facility. Our experienced team can recommend a customized netting solution to reduce risks and protect your staff and inventory. Investing in a properly designed safety netting system pays dividends through a safer, more productive warehouse.