Every kind of shelving is at risk for damage in a warehouse. No type of pallet rack or wire shelving is impervious to the wear and tear that goes with life in a fast-paced environment full of moving parts. The key to minimizing damage to by setting up the shelving correctly, training personnel, and providing some safety tips and practices that protects people and property alike.
The number one thing you can do to keep people and product safe is train your personnel how to work around the pallet racks. Teach them how each type of pallet rack in your warehouse works (drive-in, push back, cantilever, flow rack systems) and how to navigate around them. This is especially important for material handling equipment operators, like forklifts and pallet jacks, as they control the moving parts that go into picking, loading, unloading and transporting goods around the warehouse, and on and off those shelves. But all personnel need to understand how they work, where to stand when working around them, and basic safety tips.
Space is important to safety. It might be the most important aspect of safety. Forklifts need space to maneuver, personnel need space to lift and move, and inventory needs to be spaced to make picking and putting down easy to do. If space is too confined, accidents will happen. This can be forklifts crashing into people or shelves, or pinched fingers and strained backs. No matter how badly you made need space in your warehouse, taking away the space that keeps everyone space is just asking for trouble. Keep aisles wide enough for forklifts to pass, multiple people to navigate and keep clutter and debris from accumulating there.
- Safety Guards.
There are safety guards you can place on edges, corners and low parts of the posts and bases that keep your shelving upright to help minimize the wear and tear that come with soft bumps and scrapes that are a normal part of material handling equipment operation. They should be inspected regularly for cracks or other signs of damage and replaced as needed.
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It is not just the safety guards that need inspection but also the racks themselves, including any wire shelving you also use in your warehouse, administrative or storage areas. While pallet rack systems are durable and strong, they should not be taken for granted. Inspect for cracks, cuts and other damage to the posts or shelves, including accessories like baskets, dividers and rollers. Repair if needed, and start to plan ahead for when it may need to be replaced. It is better to know and plan than to have an accident or inventory come falling down if not addressed soon enough.
The best time to take these steps to protect your property and personnel is to plan into the work schedule. Look for slower demand times or peak personnel hours to schedule the inspections and training classes. Be proactive to prevent instead of reactive to clean up or take care of problems after the fact, and you will keep your warehouse running smoothly and safely.