Your warehouse space should be used as economically as possible. But your warehouse should also be as safe as possible. This means that while you may want to stack items in a high and rough manner, it probably is not the best idea. Improperly stacked inventory can lead to safety issues as well as a list of other issues which come along with improperly stacked and stored goods. Here is a list of steps you can take to ensure safe stacking while still correctly using the warehouse space available to you.
Collapse. Item collapse is caused when parcels are not stacked in the proper arrangement and become unstable. Stacking items too high or in a careless manner contribute to this. Use the proper stacking method for different kinds of packages to ensure safety.
- Block stacking: Square items can be stacked one on top of the other in a neat cube and secured with straps, wire, or shrink wrap.
- Brick stacking: This method is similar to block stacking, but on each level you turn the item 90 degrees. The items will then stay in place better if the stack is bumped.
- Pinwheel stacking: Pinwheel stacking adds even more security than brick stacking. When using the pinwheel stacking method, turn each quadrant of items 90 degrees to lock everything in place.
- Irregular stacking: This applies to items which are irregular shapes. Add a sheet of plywood between each layer of items for more stability.
Also consider the height and weight of the items you are stacking. Very heavy items should not be stacked too high and should be tapered starting at a certain height (depending on the requirements of the item) in case of collapse.
Fires and Explosions. Fires and explosions in a warehouse are a very real risk even when dealing with stationary items. Check the labeling on an item to see if it is flammable and if it has specific storage instructions. Do not store flammable materials near machinery that may spark and therefore cause a fire. Be sure to separate flammable liquids from all other materials by a firewall.
Tripping. Tripping is one of the most common workplace accidents in warehouses. Tripping most often occurs when items are stacked in tapered piles rather than cubes. Simply make sure the bottom row of a stack does not stick out too far to help avoid employees tripping.
Aisle and Exit Obstruction. Be smart where you place your stacks of products. Not only is it inconvenient to place stacks in the middle of aisles or in front of exits, but it is also a safety issue. Aisles and exits must be clear in the event of an emergency, and you must also think about the types of equipment which need to navigate the aisles on a regular basis. Make sure everyone and everything has a clear path to do their job.