Pallet racks are used extensively in industries and warehouses throughout the world. They provide storage space for products while keeping them protected, upright and stable. In addition to storing goods, pallet rack systems that follow the necessary safety guidelines can help keep workers safe. However, there are many hazards associated with the use of pallet racks.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines each year on how to keep your employees safe while on the job. OSHA estimates that pallet rack safety issues cause approximately $1 billion worth of injuries each year. This makes it one of the most dangerous types of industrial equipment.
There are several ways to ensure safer working conditions in your warehouse:
- Ensure that you have proper training for employees.
- Make sure that your pallet racks meet current industry standards.
- Use pallet racks that are appropriate for the type of product being stored.
- Keep pallets away from moving parts.
What Are The Pallet Rack Safety Guidelines?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published a set of pallet rack safety guidelines. These guidelines cover everything from how to use pallet racks safely to what types of injuries can occur during a workplace accident.
According to OSHA, pallets are used to transport goods throughout warehouses and distribution centers. Pallets are often stacked up to four high and secured together with metal bands. Workers use forklifts to move pallets around. Forklift operators must adhere to certain rules and regulations when working with pallets.
In addition to following proper safety practices, employees must always wear PPE. This includes eye protection and hearing protection. When working near or around moving machines, such as those used to lift and stack pallets, workers must wear earplugs and hard hats.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) publishes standards for many different industries. While pallet rack safety falls under the jurisdiction of OSHA, it is also covered by ANSI standards.
Common Pallet Rack Safety Issues and How to Avoid Them
Pallets are used extensively throughout warehouses and distribution centers across North America. They’re cheap, versatile, and easy to store. However, they come with one major drawback: they can be flimsy. A single gust of wind can topple a stack of pallets, causing serious damage.
This is why many warehouse owners invest heavily in strong pallet racks. These structures hold up heavy loads of goods without breaking down. But there’s another problem: most of them aren’t installed properly.
A recent study conducted by the American Warehouse Association found that nearly half of all pallet racks fail within three months of installation. Some of those failures lead to injuries among workers. Others cause damage to expensive inventory, and some even lead to fires.
To help keep pallet racks safe, we’ve put together this guide to common safety issues and how to avoid them altogether.
Damage to Racking
Pallets are used to store goods while products are being moved around the warehouse. They are usually stacked vertically one above another, and each pallet holds up to 40 pounds of weight. When a pallet rack is damaged it can cause serious injuries to workers and damage to the product stored inside.
Repairing damaged pallet racks requires specialized tools and knowledge. A damaged rack could fall over causing injury to people walking underneath it. If the rack falls down, it could crush boxes of inventory, potentially damaging the contents. Damaged racks can also affect the stability of the entire warehouse.
If you notice damage to a pallet rack, contact the experts at Pallet Rack World immediately. Our technicians are trained to inspect and repair damaged racks safely and efficiently.
Most Important Pallet Rack Safety Issue: Making Unsafe Modifications or Repairs
Pallets are designed to handle loads of up to 10 tons. If you modify a pallet rack incorrectly, it can cause injuries or even death. In fact, improper modifications or repairs are one reason why over half of the deaths associated with forklifts occur during loading and unloading operations.
Not Posting Capacities
The number one problem we see with overloaded pallet racks is that it causes damage to the rack itself. This leads to issues like damaged components, bent rails, broken hardware, and even cracked wood. If you are having trouble keeping up with the demand of your customers, consider adding additional space to your warehouse.
Pallets should never be stacked closer than 3 feet apart. They should always be placed on flat surfaces such as concrete or plywood. When stacking multiple layers of pallets, make sure there is enough room between each layer to allow air flow. In addition, keep in mind that the weight of the load above the stack could lead to sagging or buckling of the bottom row of pallets.
Inspect Your Rack Regularly
Rack inspections are important because they help prevent future problems. Inspect the entire rack for cracks, warping, uneven spacing, loose parts, missing screws, etc.
Make sure that all parts of the rack are tight, level, and secure. Also check the wheels for proper alignment. If you notice anything out of place, contact the professionals at Pallet Rack World immediately.
Repairs Must Be Done Properly
If you do find yourself needing to repair your rack, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Don’t use tools that aren’t designed for the job.
For example, don’t try to tighten bolts with pliers; use a socket wrench. And remember to wear safety gear such as gloves and eye protection.
Pallet Rack Safety with Pallet Rack World
To keep your warehouse pallet racks safe, you must regularly inspect them for damage or wear. Inspecting your pallets for damage or wear is critical to keeping them in good operating order.
Replacing damaged or worn parts is essential to keeping your pallet racks running smoothly. If you are looking into buying new pallet racks, make sure you know what type of racks you want and how much space you need.
If you are working on a project in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, the variety of products and services offered by the experts at Pallet Rack World are perfect for you! You can also find many different types of pallet racks on our Pallet Rack World website. Check out our versatile pallet rack supply today. Some are designed specifically for warehouses while others are meant for retail stores. Knowing what you need helps you choose the best rack for your needs.