Across the nation, warehouses are vital to the success of a wide variety of industries, and also providing countless individuals with jobs. While pallet rack systems are in almost all warehouses, unfortunately, the safety of those systems is often ignored, ultimately resulting in serious damage and injuries. Listed below are a few ways that you should ensure that your warehouse implements important safety precautions to keep your pallet rack system from causing issues. Whether you are in the process of building an entirely new warehouse or if you are taking over and renovating an existing system that is already in use, these tips are important to consider and put into practice.

Warehouse Safety - Forklift Training1. Forklift Operator Training

There are many reasons why pallet racks may fail and cause damage; however, one common reason is untrained forklift operators. Operating machinery can be difficult since it usually involves making tight turns and carries the risk of bumping into nearby racks. OSHA mandates that all forklift operators be trained, and that is exactly what needs to happen if you want to keep your warehouse safe and accident-free. Learn more about our Forklift Training.

2. Warehouse Layout

It is important that the warehouse aisles are wide enough to safely navigate with any necessary machinery. While it’s tempting to make aisles small so that the warehouse can hold more merchandise, this can result in serious trouble when it makes it impossible to avoid bumping into pallets and pallet racking systems with equipment.

3. Using Guardrails, Rack Guards, Column Protectors, and Bollards

Even the best forklift operators sometimes make mistakes and can miscalculate turns. To ensure optimal pallet rack safety it is important to use bright yellow guardrails, end of rack guards, column protectors, and/or bollards to protect it from damage. Give us a call and we will be happy to talk to you about which of these products would best protect your warehouse without breaking your budget.

4. Anchored Pallet Racks

It is best practice to always anchor your pallet racks to the floor for stability. This will help prevent the collapse or failure of the pallet rack system from accidental impact. The proper anchoring of a pallet rack system will depend upon the seismic hazard zone in which you are located. In very low seismic hazard zones, we prefer to use one ½ inch diameter, 4 ¼ inch long anchor per footplate.

5. Don’t Overload Your Storage Racks

In overcrowded warehouses, it is common to try to store as much as possible on storage racks in an effort to organize your products better and open floor space. While this is an understandable temptation, it comes with serious consequences if your pallet racks are not capable of handling those loads. When Pallet racks are overloaded, it can cause serious problems to the system’s structure and stability. OSHA and ANSI suggest that each warehouse provide individual plaques or labels for every storage rack that displays the load limits. If you do not know the capacity of your pallet racks, contact us. We may be able to help. 

6. Inspect Storage Racks Regularly

In a busy warehouse setting, it’s difficult to find time to maintain all products and equipment; as such, the idea of trying to inspect storage racks may seem like simply another nuisance. Thankfully, regular storage rack inspection is not as difficult as it sounds and can easily be completed on a daily basis. At Stein, we have safety programs that can help teach your employees how to do daily inspections of the racks as they are working. In addition, we have monthly, quarterly, or bi-annual inspections that our experts perform at your warehouse to ensure all damage is properly recorded, monitored, and repaired. 

7. Reinforce Pallets

Pallet Rack Safety NettingWhen something falls off a stored pallet and onto a passerby or working employee, it can cause serious injury. To eliminate the possibility of this occurring, there are a plethora of products and solutions we can provide to mitigate this risk. Depending upon the type of product you are storing, we may suggest you use a backstop beam, pallet stop, netting, or a wire mesh screen.

8. Stack Loads Carefully

When putting pallets in place on the storage rack beams, drivers should understand that they need to be carefully positioned into place and loaded squarely onto the system. If you don’t place the pallets on the support beams, all of the weight of the pallet will be resting on the wire deck or pallet support, which could lead to capacity issues described above. 

Keeping a pallet rack system safe can be a difficult job for anyone; however, by using these eight tips, you can expect to ensure that your storage racks are one area where you won’t have any cause for concern.

 Learn about our Warehouse Safety Program