Modern storage facilities are designed for maximum efficiency. Many businesses look to vertical space and automated systems to get the most out of their available space. The combination of stacked goods and more dependency on machinery means warehouses are full of hazards.
The US Bureau of Labor reported that 5% of warehouse and storage workers experienced a work-related injury in 2015. Forklift impacts, rack damage, and undertrained staff can easily contribute to avoidable accidents in a warehouse.
To ensure your warehouse racking and shelving systems are safe and compliant with US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, management must create and implement in-p equipment inspection checklists and schedules.
Detailed rack inspections and component checks help keep your equipment in working order, improving product, employee, and pallet racking safety.
Signs Your Equipment is Unsafe
Although detailed inspections are necessary to identify certain signs of damage or wear and tear, obvious indications that your equipment is unsafe include:
- The racking shakes or wobbles when it is pushed or if pressure is applied to it.
- Spacers are damaged or crushed due to poor installation.
- Tight beams make safety pins difficult to remove.
- Missing hardware parts, such as safety locks on the end of a beam.
- Visible damage is evident on key parts of the racking, such as the beams and uprights.
- Slanted racks.
- Upright deflection.
- Twisted columns.
- Missing, loose, or damaged anchoring and footplates.
If you notice any of these signs, your storage rack system may be at risk of collapse. Take swift action to repair or replace damaged equipment. Failing to do so may put your employees and products at significant risk.
At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we supply a wide range of new and used pallet racking systems and shelving units for upgrading your facility.
Our Pallet Rack Starter and Add-On Units are a popular option for businesses that want to upgrade their warehouse with a new system. Each unit is available at 96” or 144” heights. The weight capacity per pair is dependent on the beam width and spacing, but they can support up to 9,370 lbs.
Employee training can go a long way in preventing warehouse accidents. Employees should be trained on how to assemble and take apart racking and shelving safely.
They must also understand how to pack and pick correctly, ensuring the products are loaded and unloaded safely. Training staff to understand storage capacity and materials handling reduces the risk of overloading and pallet rack collapse, creating a safer warehouse.
Forklift operators must be properly trained. Forklifts are surprisingly quiet, especially in noisy warehouses and factories, meaning workers don’t always hear them approaching. As operators are constantly weaving in and out of tight spaces and narrow aisles, contact with racking can happen, causing accidents.
In the interest of safety and to remain legally compliant, forklift operators must be trained. It is illegal for warehouse personnel to operate a forklift without proper training and certification. OSHA mandates this law, and breaching regulation can result in severe fines.
Strategic Warehouse Layout
The design and layout of a warehouse are not only important for smooth and efficient operations, but it is also crucial for warehouse safety. Although you may want to maximize storage capacity by installing as much shelving as possible, tightly packed storage facilities can be dangerous.
Employees must have enough space to carry out tasks and operate machinery safely. Ensure your warehouse layout promotes a safe working environment.
If your storage facility expands over the years or your products change, so too must your warehouse design and layout. While your heavy-duty cantilever racks may have been suitable for storing homeware equipment in the past, there may be a more beneficial storage option if the focus of your business has transitioned to components and replacement parts.
36” wide small parts storage and security cabinets from Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., allows you to store and organize high volumes of small items, up to 650 lbs. Each unit contains heavy-duty, 14 gauge steel and features 96 individual hook on bins.
Inspect Your Equipment
It’s vital to inspect racking and shelving equipment regularly to reduce the risk of accidents. One inspection per month is a useful guideline but if rack-related accidents occur frequently, consider performing inspections more often.
A trained employee can perform regular, in-house inspections. However, annual inspections by third-party professional engineers can help detect deeper-lying issues, such as diminished rack or shelf load capacities.
The most important circumstances to consider a professional inspection of your equipment includes:
- After a new rack or shelving installation.
- After repairs or replacements.
- After rack or shelving reconfiguration.
- Before purchasing used equipment.
- To gauge a performance benchmark.
- To improve rack and shelving safety.
- If your equipment lacks important documentation, such as load capacity labels.
Protecting Racking and Shelving Units
If your equipment is in good condition, but you’re looking for other ways to protect racking, shelving, products, and employees, you can optimize safety with protective barriers.
At Shelving + Racking Systems Inc., we provide a variety of safety netting, guards, barriers, posts, bollards, and rails to protect racking and shelving systems from collisions and accidental damage. This prolongs the life of the equipment and minimizes the risk of falling items or collapsing racks due to contact with workers or forklifts.
Our Stand Guard Ribbed Rails are made from 10 gauge, high-tensile steel and contain sleeves welded to posts, giving your pallet racking heavy-duty protection from machinery.
Improve Warehouse Safety By Upgrading Your Equipment
Running a safe storage facility is a full-time commitment that requires regular inspections, maintenance, repairs, and replacements. If you want to improve the safety of your pallet racking and shelving through storage upgrades, safety equipment, or by redesigning your warehouse layout, get in touch with Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.
We provide high-quality new and used racking and shelving, from full pallet rack systems to wire deck replacements. If you need help reconfiguring your storage space, one of our trained and licensed project managers can recommend effective and affordable options according to your needs and budget. Give us a call today or visit our online catalog to view our full product range.