The environment in distribution centers and warehouses can be hectic. Accidents are likely to happen in areas where workers maneuver heavy equipment and heavy loads in confined spaces. Forklift drivers, for instance, can crash into a pallet rack and reduce its structural integrity.
Fortunately, facility managers can take steps to prevent accidents to help minimize pallet rack damage. They can implement the following damage prevention practices in their workplace:
Inspect the Racks Regularly
Improper loading, forklift hits, and climbing by workers put stress on the pallet racks. Trained personnel, therefore, should inspect the racks regularly for structural integrity, floor condition and level, row alignment, corrosion, and damaged uprights.
Replace Racking System as Needed
Facility managers should have damaged racks replaced as soon as possible. The continued use of a structurally compromised racking system could lead to rack failure and result in greater expense than fixing the issue. When it comes to replacing a pallet rack, companies like Suerte Steel Corporation advises to use a drive-in racking system. This system is easy to assemble, stores more pallets than selective racking, is durable, and carries up to two tons per pallet.
Conduct Driver Training
Drivers should go through a safety course and receive training on the operational limits, characteristics, and maintenance of their forklift. On top of that, facility owners should educate drivers on the warehouse’s pallet racking system.
Provide Adequate Visibility in the Workplace
Drivers can perform their work safely when the workplace has sufficient visibility. Adequate warehouse lighting enables the driver to have a good view of the racks.
Additionally, installing wide-angle convex mirrors at the ends of the aisles and on the forklift gives drivers increased ability to observe their surroundings better, which minimize the likelihood of mishaps.
Keep the Aisles Clear
Stacks of pallets lying around the aisles raise the risk of an accident. Warehouse employees should keep the aisles free of clutter to make sure that drivers have enough room to maneuver their forklifts.
Label and Load Items onto the Rack Properly
Before loading items onto the pallet racks, workers should properly label these racks with clearly defined load tolerances. Drivers must also keep the weight centered when balancing and stacking supplies on the rack.
Install Monitoring Systems in the Warehouse
Cameras and other monitoring equipment allow facility managers to identify where and when a forklift driver hits a rack so that they can address the accident with the driver. Monitoring systems also intrinsically make workers more aware of their actions, which means they’ll be more cautious with their movements.
Equip Racks with Pallet Protectors
Bollards and guardrails are pallet rack protectors that help cushion the potential impact from a forklift. They can also minimize the wear and tear on racking systems.
Facility managers must keep their pallet rack in good condition by inspecting the racks regularly, replacing faulty racks, conducting driver training, providing sufficient visibility in a workplace, keeping the aisles free of clutter, loading the items onto the rack correctly, installing cameras in the warehouse, and using pallet protectors. With proper planning, employee training, and maintenance, warehouse owners can help reduce accidents that can cost them time, money and employees.