Factories and warehouses commonly use pallet racking systems to store and organize goods, but some facilities don’t use them correctly. When used incorrectly, pallet racks can be a major source of accidents.
Damaged racks and forklift accidents can result in citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace injuries, and product loss.
Do: Consider Your Facility Space Before Selecting a System
Large factories with high product turnover have different needs than small warehouses with low turnover. The diversity of product offerings also affects the type of system needed for accessing and moving products in a timely manner.
Pallet racks might not be the only type of shelving a given facility needs. Other small shelves and containers may be necessary for sorting smaller quantities of goods.
Don’t: Be in the Dark — Know Your Pallet-Racking System Options
Pallet flow racks allow pallets to be moved in the order that they are received, with the first pallets inserted being the first ones taken out when it’s time to fill an order. Push back pallet racks result in a first-in-last-out system that allows old stock to sit for a long time.
Other systems include mobile pallet racks, which have a wheeled system, and drive-in pallet racks, which allow forklifts to enter the rack itself. There is a wide range of pallet racking systems available, so talking to an expert at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., is the best way to determine the appropriate option for your facility.
Do: Build Processes Around Reporting Damage
Forklifts and other equipment can significantly damage pallet rack supports. Although this damage may appear insignificant at first glance, it can result in a catastrophic collapse in rare cases. Managers must repair or replace any damaged racking as soon as possible.
Don’t: Avoid Problems When You See One
Damaged racking isn’t the only potential hazard in a pallet racking system. Packaging debris, misplaced pallets, and other obstacles can prevent workers from doing their job safely and quickly.
Managers must be proactive about addressing problems, creating policies to prevent accidents and re-training employees as needed.
Consider how big the warehouse is before picking a system
Small warehouses simply can’t handle the same size of racking as larger warehouses. Forklifts need adequate space to move around aisles, and failure to use forklifts safely can result in serious accidents or OSHA citations.
While most warehouses will have enough space for some pallet racking, keep in mind that other, smaller racking systems may be necessary for small facilities.
Create a way to report damage
In a busy warehouse or factory, damage can be accidentally or deliberately ignored. Employees must be carefully trained to report any damage, however slight, to a supervisor as soon as it is noticed.
Don’t keep yourself in the dark about different pallet-rack systems
There have been many improvements in logistics technology in recent years, and pallet racking systems can now use technology to help managers and front-line employees keep track of products. This technology can be added to many types of pallet racking systems.
Make sure to buy the right size
Many warehouses and factories have high ceilings that allow for tall pallet racks. Take advantage of this space by installing safe, high-quality pallet racks that have two to four levels.
Also remember that the depth of pallet racks makes a huge difference. Racks are often up to six pallets deep, allowing companies to minimize wasted aisle space.
Buy more than enough racking
Insufficient racking can result in employees being forced to wedge pallets onto racks in unsafe ways or leave pallets in the aisles. Remember that as a company grows, its racking needs will increase as well. Try to anticipate company growth and install additional racks well before they become necessary.
Don’t ignore forklift damage
Create a damage reporting system that doesn’t penalize employees for minor accidents. While employees should be held accountable for repeated problems, sometimes accidents are caused by unforeseeable circumstances that are outside of the employee’s control. These accidents should be treated with fairness and with an emphasis on preventing future harm.
Don’t exceed capacities
Pallet racking systems have a weight limit, and this capacity can vary based on the size and material of the supports. Exceeding racking capacities can result in OSHA citations and other headaches.
Using racking as safely as possible can help prevent injuries and lost work time, too. Make sure to also check the capacities of forklifts and pallet trucks, and use a scale as needed.
Don’t assume used is as good as new
While high-quality used racking can be safe, the safety of that racking depends on how well it is re-inspected before installation. Buying used racking from an unknown supplier or a business is dangerous, as it could be damaged or missing parts. Only buy used racking from a reputable retailer.
Don’t overlook the height to depth ratio
Shelving of any kind must have a maximum height to depth ratio of 6:1. Though attaching shelving to a wall can help maintain stability, this does not fully address the safety issues that arise when dealing with tall shelving. Managers must also inspect shelving regularly to make sure it isn’t leaning or bending.
Balancing safety and efficiency
Pallet racking is an excellent way to maximize available space in a warehouse. Although basic precautions must be taken to ensure its safe use, it is generally safe and can last for decades.
By researching and implementing the most efficient pallet racking systems, small and large facilities can benefit from these shelves.
For assistance with all your pallet shelving needs please call us toll-free at (855)-969-4164. We can help you design and install all your storage systems to meet your warehouse storage needs. We also stock a wide range of new and used material handling equipment to meet your needs.