From hiring and firing to meeting production goals, running a warehouse or distribution center can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, most managers do not place enough time and energy into setting up their warehouse and training their workers to meet goals in a safe manner. While shocking to learn, warehouse employees have one of the top 100 deadliest jobs. Although many injuries and deaths occur due to faulty equipment or improper handling, other accidents involve pallet racks. With these pallet racking tips, you can reduce your employees' risk of accidents and injuries in the warehouse.
Choose the Right Racks
There are many different types of racks, all designed to store pallets and other items. However, you need to choose a rack suited to the needs of your warehouse. When considering racks, focus on these three factors:
Do not focus solely on the size and weight of your product. Focus on the turnover rate as well. If your warehouse has a high turnover rate, which is great for business, make sure to choose durable racks no matter if you are distributing light and delicate light bulbs or heavier brake rotors. The added activity can increase your risk of damage, which can eventually lead to accidents and injuries, so it is best to base your rack choice around product and activity rather than weight and dimensions.
Every rack will have a plaque displaying the recommended load capacity. This capacity is determined and regulated by government officials in an attempt to reduce rack damage and accidents or injuries.
Unfortunately, many warehouses lack the space needed to store their products, so they will not follow these regulations. This is very dangerous, since overloading is one of the most common causes of rack failure. Not only will you be placing your products or equipment at risk of expensive damage, but overloading also places your workers in harm's way.
Many workplace accidents occur due to lack of training. To protect your products and your employees, make sure to provide sufficient training for not only stocking and loading, but also utilizing pallet jacks and forklifts.
Training should include safe operation of pallet jacks and all required classes for licensing that allows your employees to drive a forklift. The majority of damage to pallet racks is done by forklifts, so this training is imperative to reduce costly damage and dangerous accidents. Forklift training should include classroom training and physical, hands-on training that involves operating and driving the equipment for the set amount of hours recommended by OSHA.
If all workers have participated in forklift training, but accidents are still occurring, consider requiring each worker to take a refresher course.
The constant loading and unloading of pallet racks, whether through a pallet jack or a forklift, can cause damage over time. The wearing down of the metal and wood racks will eventually worsen, leading to complete failure and serious damage to your products and employees.
You and your employees may have properly set up the warehouse and are using smart techniques to avoid accidents and injuries, but the racks can quickly wear down. To reduce your risk of rack failure, make sure to inspect the rack system regularly.
A damaged rack is capable of standing for years, but stacking pallets an inch in the wrong direction or bumping it slightly with a pallet jack can cause the entire system to fail. Check the racks regularly for signs of minor damage. Dented metal, chipped wood, and loose bolts are sure signs your rack is in distress. In addition, if pallets do not sit level on the racks, there is an underling issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
Your warehouse should be safe for your products and your employees. With these simple tips, you can keep your racking system safe and functional. Find more info here.