Pallet Rack Safety: A Checklist To Help You Maintain A Safe Work EnvironmentPallet Rack Safety: A Checklist To Help You Maintain A Safe Work Environment

It is vital to maintain high standards for worker safety in any environment, but especially in industrial operations because of the serious injuries that can be suffered due to the type of equipment being used. Pallet rack safety is a major concern in the material handling industry. Significant danger exists when these storage systems are not utilized properly, and when they are not regularly inspected for structural defects. There are some measures that can be taken to help employees avoid any potential injuries while working around a pallet rack system, and to help promote an overall safe working environment. This brief checklist outlines a few things that should be considered.

Adhere to Capacity Guidelines

Pallet rack manufacturers specifically list the load-bearing restrictions on individual systems. These are not guidelines to stay close to, but rather strict weight limits that must be adhered to at all times. You must always know how much your pallet loads weigh, and how much weight your system can support, because overloading pallet rack systems can severely compromise the structural integrity of the overall system. Believe it or not, overloading pallet rack systems is a common problem within material handling operations, mostly due to employees and supervisors not taking the appropriate amount of time to familiarize themselves with the weight-bearing capacities in place and how much stock is loaded on individual pallets. These user errors, which put all employees in harm's way, can be avoided.

Conduct Regular Inspections

It is always important to take the time to regularly inspect your pallet rack system to make sure it is in proper working order. Inspecting pallet racking on a regular basis also can enable you to identify potential small problems with the structure before those issues become much larger. During inspections, there are several things that you should keep an eye out for, such as rust, corrosion, cracks, and dents. If you deem portions of the racking system need to be replaced, you should do so immediately to prevent potential accidents from occurring. It should be noted, however, that in addition to conducting routine pallet rack inspections on your own, you should also regularly hire a qualified racking expert to inspect your system as well. This step further helps promote and maintain a safe work environment for your workers.

Forklift Safety

Material handling equipment, such as forklifts used to load and unload pallets on a racking system, need ample room to operate safely. It is vital make sure that enough space is left between aisles and around corners for the forklift trucks used in your facility to safely maneuver. While the design and layout of a pallet rack system is critical to forklifts being able to safely operate, so, too, is making sure that the facility floor remains free of obstructions, such as loose stock that isn't properly stored. If the space in your warehouse is limited in any way, it could cause the forklifts to come in contact with the pallet rack system. In turn, damage that threatens the system's overall structural stability is unnecessarily created.

Educate Employees

Anyone working in an industrial operation that utilizes a pallet rack system should be required to undergo training on safe work practices prior to being permitted to start working shifts in the facility. However, continual education on safe work practices can also be helpful, as it gives you the chance to routinely reinforce safe work practices and provide any necessary safety updates as warranted.

by Charlie O'Brien
References and Bibliography
Charlie O'Brien is a professional writer specializing in the material handling industry. His writing focuses on new and used pallet rack, cantilever rack, and other industrial shelving, and his work has been featured on multiple material handling industry websites.
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