The question of racking safety is an important one, both for your staff, the stored product, and the longevity of your racking system itself. Racks are massive structures supporting tonnes of goods, and any failure in the structure could be potentially catastrophic. The engineering that goes into a racking system is very sophisticated, but protection and maintenance are vital. Failure could mean risk to human life, loss of product and disruption of your business.
You must ensure that safety procedures are in place and rigorously adhered to so that your employees are safe and the racking kept in good condition. Let’s look at some of the issues involved and the safety measures you should have in place.
Pallet Racking Safety: Inspection
Regular inspections are key. The primary level is to ensure that the manufacturer of the racking system is reputable and supplies high-quality materials. You should also inspect the components on delivery to the warehouse and as the whole system is being constructed. When the assembly is completed, you should ensure that the racking is configured as agreed and is fit for purpose.
Once the warehouse is up and running, how often you inspect is governed by usage. Low-value items have to move in and out rapidly, making the likelihood of damage greater, so inspection of the system should be quite frequent, perhaps once a month. If traffic is less, then perhaps quarterly inspections would be more appropriate. All racking systems should undergo a detailed inspection at least once a year, paying particular attention to the end of rows and pass-throughs where damage is more likely to occur.
It is usually a good idea to get an independent inspector who knows what to look out for, is efficient and thorough. Shelving Shop Group provides just such a service, and we’d be pleased to perform your warehouse safety audit.
Pallet Racking Safety: Reporting
All damage, whether major or minor, should be reported, and there shouldn’t be a blame culture that might prevent this. Accidents do happen, but any damage must be addressed and not ignored.
Pallet Racking Safety: Repair or Replace?
Ideally, any damaged component should be replaced by an identical one, but logistically this may not always be possible. In that case, the repair must be carried out by a fully trained inspector so that the integrity of the structure is not compromised.
Pallet Racking Safety: Seismic Events
Earthquakes are a fact of life in New Zealand, though more likely in some areas than others, and need to be born in mind when buying and installing a racking system. Since the events of 2011, engineers are more aware of just how sturdy racking systems have to be in order to be safe in New Zealand.
It is best to design for the worst-case scenario, expect to pay more, but be reassured that lives won’t be lost and business not disrupted.
How to Minimize Damage to the Racking System
There are a variety of ‘must-haves’ that will help protect your racking structure.
- Post protectors are an economical way to protect the racking uprights, and either heavy-duty metal ones or plastic clip-ons are available.
- End protectors can provide vital protection for the ends of your aisles, the most vulnerable areas of any warehouse.
- Bollards are a flexible way to keep forklifts from going where they are not wanted.
Pallet Racking Safety: Protection to Provide
- Expanding safety barriers are an excellent way of cordoning off areas where a forklift is working, or there is any other danger for the unwary.
- Safety nets are perfect for ensuring your stock stays where it is meant to be – on the shelves – and simply clip on.
- Similarly, safety mesh provides protection for both staff and visitors and can be fitted when the racking system is erected or to an existing installation.
Racking system safety is extremely important and has to be taken seriously. But with regular inspections and some simple add-ons, warehouses can be made safe for staff and the products stored, and increase the lifetime of the pallet racking system.