Here are some hints and tips on pallet racking safety:
- Racking accidents can be caused by improper installation & maintenance. Boltless beams should always be secured to the rack. Check the rivets after installation to be sure they fit well and that safety clips are utilized. Monitor the rivets over time to be sure they haven’t been knocked. If your uprights are not properly bolted to the floor, or have loosened over the years, rack accidents can occur. Check them regularly to be sure they are firmly fixed to the floor.
Understand how your rack will be used when you specify it.
The two main pallet racking safety points are the proper initial design of the racking so it doesn’t collapse, and training of personnel to ensure a clear understanding of the structure’s operational characteristics. If you inherited the pallet racking from someone else, find out the details of the rack system and its design. Enforce your capacity ratings so that your racks will not be overloaded or mis-loaded.
The corners and ends of the rack aisles are most susceptible to a direct lift truck hit – so defend them.
Use seel guard rails and post protectors to shield them from lift truck accidents.
The majority of pallet rack structural failures result from just three sources – know them, and most of the rest takes care of itself.
These are (1) Misplacement and overloading (2) impacts from a lift truck collision (3) Lack of understanding that racks can be dangerous, Operations with a safety mindset will also understand that impacts are deadly, and they know how to safely load their racks.
Place the load squarely.
Drivers should deposit pallets correctly on the rack beams. They should be square, and if possible should overlap uniformly on front and back. Also, pallets out of square can cause accidents in 2-deep rows when the other side is being loaded.
Don’t exceed stated capacity.
Train your warehousemen to understand what the capacities of your racks are, and what each load might weigh. Post capacities on the racks so anyone using them can understand at a glance how much weight the beams can take. Beam capacity is much easier to understand than upright capacity. The rule of thumb is that the greater the vertical space between beam shelves, the lower the upright capacity.
Guard your racking bays with wire guards for maximum pallet racking safety.
These safeguards are relatively inexpensive solutions, and can be invaluable in particular in areas where there is foot traffic, order picking, or other human activities in the aisles below.
Replace damaged racks.
It is a pain to unload racks, take them down and put in new uprights or beams. And the racking is not free. But this is a clear safety hazard and needs to be avoided at all costs. If something is damaged, and it’s carrying thousands of pounds of inventory, it can trigger collapse in entire rows, endangering people and costing much more than simple replacement.
If you would like advice on pallet racking safety please contact us at South West Forklifts.