A pallet racking system is arguably one of the most integral aspects of your distribution and warehouse operations. Although pallet racks are designed and built to be solid and sturdy, they are exposed to several rigorous applications that can cause them damage. Damaged racks can cause several problems in a warehouse, including safety risks for forklift drivers and other workers on the floor. Therefore, it is crucial to establish solid damage-control practices to reduce the risk of damage, minimize losses, and prevent employee injury.
Providing your staff with adequate training on safety and proper use of warehousing equipment goes a long way in preventing typical pallet rack damage. Specifically, forklift drivers must be routinely trained on safety aspects applicable to pallet racking operations, including maintenance and operational limits. Additionally, make an OSHA-approved safety course mandatory for all your forklift drivers.
One of the leading causes of rack damage is improper loading and unloading. You can prevent this type of risk by ensuring your racks are clearly labeled with their load limits and load instructions. Ideally, operators should ensure the load weight is centered when placing pallets on racks. The heavier loads should be placed on lower rack levels and lighter loads on upper levels. Heavier weights being stored for longer periods should go to the rack uprights. If you need an added layer of strength, consider leveraging reinforced upright columns.
Leverage Enclosed Racks and Frames
Enclosed racks and frames are purposely designed to offer more racking damage tolerance. Ideally, they can take in more damage than partly enclosed racks. They can also absorb more truck impacts without causing severe damage when compared to the open back column.
Ensure Proper Signage and Visibility
Visibility and signage in a warehousing environment are crucial to enhanced safety. Ensure you have appropriate markings in place covering floor to ceiling to direct forklift operators and all other staff. This helps reduce any confusion and minimize the risks of accidents and damage. Similarly, improve visibility by adding adequate lighting to all spaces. Operators who cannot see specific sections are bound to cause hazards. You can also help drivers see better by installing rearview mirrors, backup alarms, and other safety devices to increase drivers’ visibility.
Free Up Space
Typically, clutter in confined spaces makes it challenging to handle forklifts. Pallets stacked in aisles and a range of other common warehousing obstructions reduce the driver’s visibility and maneuvering options. If a driver keeps swerving to avoid clutter in aisles, the chances of damaging a warehousing pallet rack increase substantially.
Protect the Corners
Forklifts usually collide with racking systems when drivers are turning too sharply at the end of the row, ultimately causing damage to horizontal and diagonal braces. You can protect the corners of your racking systems by installing protective systems such as bollards and rack guard railings. These systems are designed to help drivers make wider turns, thus avoiding hitting the racking system.
Rack Inspection and Maintenance
Pallet racks are exposed to massive wear and tear. Contact collision with forklifts, improper loading, and constant use are just a few of the elements that put a lot of stress on racks. Have professionals regularly inspect racks and carry out necessary maintenance services. Specifically, racks should be inspected for structural integrity, corrosion, row alignment, overloading, floor level, and more. Damaged racks should be replaced or repaired immediately as continued use leads to more significant damage.
Set Speed Limits
Reckless and overspeeding drivers are another major cause of pallet rack damage in warehouses. Posting speed limits conspicuously across the warehousing floor is a great way to remind drivers to be mindful of racking safety concerns.
Warehouses are busy and hazardous spaces with higher risks of accidents and damages. Fortunately, taking proactive measures listed above can help optimize operational efficiencies, improve safety, and reduce the chances of pallet rack damage.
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If you have further questions or need help choosing ideal pallet racking solutions, our team can address them. We have been providing all types of warehousing pallet racking to thousands of businesses and organizations since 1990.