In warehouses, pallet rack damage is a major workplace health and safety issue. In a busy warehouse environment, the risk of forklift collisions or accidents due to carelessly loaded pallets is a serious concern. To ensure your staff and products aren’t at risk, we’ve compiled a list of ways to improve pallet racking safety in your warehouse.
Implementing proper safety measures and regular maintenance can minimise the risk of injury for staff, and risk of damage to your products.
Here are 7 ways to improve pallet racking safety in your warehouse:
1. Ensure You’re Using the Right Forklifts
Finding the right forklifts for your warehouse will depend on several factors including, but not limited to, the type of product you’re transporting, the width of your warehouse aisles, and the height of your racks.
Consult a storage solution professional to understand which forklift is suitable for operating safely within your warehouse.
2. Handle Pallets Correctly
Ensure your forklift operators have received adequate training to place pallets properly on racks. Pallets need to be placed square and evenly. If you encounter damaged pallets, replace them immediately. There’s more about pallet rack damage in point 7.
3. Install Pallet Rack Protection
To protect your staff, warehouse equipment, and products, install custom pallet rack protection. This way, pallet racks are protected from forklift collisions.
Pallet racking is often supporting many tonnes of product on uprights not designed to take hits from the side, so even low speed collisions can cause structural damage that is both costly to repair and dangerous to the lives of workers. Protecting these uprights is of vital importance to avoid potential disasters. Replacing pallet racking and inventory due to avoidable damage is very costly, therefore by preventing such damage means significant long-term savings.
4. Check All Safety Signs and Operating Instructions
Put procedures in place to ensure operations are done safely with regard to the racking design and the load and capability of lifting equipment.
Image Source: (SafeWork NSW, 2019)
As a minimum, these should include:
- correct use of the handling equipment
- rated capacities of the racking
- prohibitions on unauthorised alterations
- a clear process for reporting any damage as soon as it occurs.
Ensure all safety signs and operating instructions are up-to-date. Annual racking audits by an industrial storage specialist are required by Safe Work Australia. Load capacity should be clearly outlined with proper signage. Ensuring you have adequate signage is a safety measure that shouldn’t be overlooked.
5. Never Exceed Rack Capacity
Although load capacity is a safety measure that is emphasised, exceeding rack capacity is still a common occurrence in warehouses. Ensure load capacity documentation and signage is accessible to all staff, and that all staff are trained to understand the beam capacity of each rack. Allowable safe limits are there for a reason, staff should adhere to these limits for their own safety, and the safety of others, warehouse equipment, and products.
6. Keep Aisles Clear
Operating forklifts can be an incredibly hazardous job if safety measures are not implemented and enforced. Aisles must be kept clear for ease of access, as any obstruction could lead to serious injury or damage to warehouse equipment or products. Obstructions in aisles are a sure way to attract forklift collisions in your warehouse. If you take the safety of your staff, your warehouse equipment, and your products seriously, you will ensure these safety measures are not only implemented through training and signage, but also enforced and inspected.
7. Report Unsafe Situations and Damage
Any racking used in the workplace should be designed specifically for the size, shape, and weight of the products being stored. Workers should report any damage to a supervisor immediately, so it can be inspected and assessed.
All safety risks related to operation or maintenance of the racking should be reported to management immediately. In some circumstances – e.g. major collapse of racking exposing a worker or others to serious health and safety risks, SafeWork must be notified immediately by calling 13 10 50.
Damage should be recorded – e.g. coloured stick-on tags used to show the location and level of damage. See the figure below.
Image Source: (SafeWork NSW, 2019)
Improve the Safety of Your Warehouse with Verge Rack-Pro
The Verge Rack-Pro barrier is a robust guard designed to protect your assets against costly forklift impacts. Rack-Pro is manufactured from heavy steel plate and bolted to the warehouse floor independent of the racking, thus isolating any impact from the structural elements of the racking system. Verge Rack-Pro being modular, has low replacement costs. If it gets damaged, you only need to replace the damaged part saving you up to 70% in repair costs.
Advantages of the Verge Rack-Pro
- Modular – Low replacement costs. If it gets damaged, you only need to replace the damaged part saving you up to 70%
- Galvanised and powder-coated – highly visible and wont rust
- Extremely strong steel construction – prevents costly damage to racking
- Available in three standard lengths.
- Supplied in kit form – comes complete with fixings
- Full range of spare parts available.
- Mounts independently of racking – isolates impact from the racking system
- Comes flat pack – big savings in transport costs
- Cost effective – prevention is always cheaper and better than cure.
- Complies with Australian standard: AS4084-2012
- Protection to a height of 400mm – suitable for all brands of pallet racking
- Reduces damage to racks from fork lifts – improves employee safety and protects your assets.
- Quick and easy to install – no welding, no cutting, no mess!
- Provides low cost insurance compared the cost of potential damage.
- Saves money, labour and replacement rack costs
- Designed to absorb impacts from forklifts, vehicles and trolleys.
Get in touch with Verge Safety Barriers for your pallet racking safety needs
If you’re wanting to protect your warehouse equipment, products, and most importantly the safety of your staff, install pallet rack protection. Replacing pallet racking and inventory due to avoidable damage is very costly, therefore by preventing such damage means significant long-term savings.
Contact the team at Verge Safety Barriers to learn more about pallet racking safety solutions for your warehouse.
SafeWork NSW. (2019). Pallet racking fact sheet. [online] Available at: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/resource-library/pallet-racking-guide [Accessed 3 Jan. 2019].