When you get a new pallet rack system installed, it’s a good feeling. You’ve purchased your racks, had a pallet rack installation company come to make sure it’s properly erected, and joined the ranks of 21st-century warehouses. Now that you have a more efficient warehouse, everything will start running a lot more smoothly.
While pallet racks are incredibly rugged and can hold up to a lot, there are some safety issues that you really need to pay attention to. After all, you’re not just protecting your inventory but also your employees.
Failure Is Seldom Due To Errors In Installation
Pallet rack installation is a big deal, and that’s why you have to choose the right pallet rack installation company when you get new shelving. Yes, there are incorrect ways to assemble them, and that can lead to problems. Always make sure that you hire an experienced racking installation company, because proper installation and pallet design will ensure that your pallets perform as you need them to.
But to tell the truth, it’s not usually the installation that’s the problem. More often it’s improper use, such as uneven loading, overloading, or leaving something heavy on for too long a time. If you let pallet rack inspection lapse over the years, you could also see small problems become larger problems. Which brings us to the following point…
A Small Hit Can Cause Big Problems
When you’re working with pallet racks, you might think that you’re working in three dimensions. But in truth, you’re actually dealing with the fourth dimension as well: time.
We’ve all seen damage take time to show itself, and it’s not just in racking systems. Take the tower game Jenga, for instance. A block can be moved and placed on top, and the player sighs because it didn’t fall. But just because it didn’t fall for 10 seconds doesn’t mean that it’s going to stay there forever. Micro-movements in the blocks, the tiniest vibration of the floor, and the block on top settling can all cause the entire tower to fall.
Small damage to industrial shelving can do the same thing. You might take a look at the rack that the forklift hit and think it’s not a big deal. But visible damage isn’t always the problem, because the racking was shaken and moved by the hit. Over time, that hit could determine whether or not the storage racking fails and endangers employees. If your pallet rack shelving has experienced any damage, it’s time to contact a pallet rack inspection service. Speaking of which…
Pallet Rack Inspection Services Should Not Be Delayed
Some warehouse managers think that the only time a pallet system should be inspected is when it is damaged, but that’s just not the case. As we mentioned above, it’s not just damage or accidents that can affect it, but time as well. You should have pallet rack inspections performed
Of course, that’s if you know about the damage. Not every hit on the racking system is reported, no matter how much you remind employees to report it. If an employee thinks they can get away with not telling you about hitting the rack, they probably will. They simply don’t want to get in trouble.
If you’ve been putting off pallet rack inspection services, we have one word for you: don’t. Warehouse racking needs constant inspection to protect your employees and your inventory.
Working With Pallets Requires Training
Since there are very few (if any) moving parts in a pallet rack system, it’s easy to think that there’s nothing to learn about them. Unfortunately, that’s how safety concerns arise.
There are two approaches that need to be taken in order to ensure safety is a priority for everyone involved. It begins with the employees who are working the warehouse floor. While a layman might think that the process is simple — drop a pallet on the rack and leave it there — it’s actually a learned skill that needs to be honed. Anyone putting pallets on the shelving needs to know exactly what a pallet rack was designed to do, how much it can hold, and what a dangerous height is. They should also be trained in spotting safety concerns and always encouraged to report damage, even if it’s anonymously.
But warehouse supervisors and managers also have to be involved at the ground level. That means taking time out of the office in order to make sure that everyone is following the training we mentioned above. Never hesitate to stop bad employee behavior in your warehouse, especially if it could lead to a dangerous situation. It’s also important that warehouse supervisors are involved with both the installation process and every inspection so that they know what to look for. When they are aware of the warning signs that a pallet rack is about to fail, they can have it repaired before anything catastrophic happens.
Some Official Might Check
If someone can’t be convinced to have regular pallet rack inspections done in order to protect employees, and if the prospect of losing inventory won’t sway them, there’s one more reason that just might: someone might come and check.
OSHA can step in and inspect your entire warehouse, including your pallet racking system, anytime they want. It doesn’t take an accident to invite them in, though an accident certainly ensures a visit. They can spend hours or months at your warehouse, looking for any problem that could lead to employee injury. If they find something wrong with your shelving system, they won’t ignore it; you’re going to get a fine. That’s going to cost a lot more than racking inspection.
DAK Equipment and Engineering Can Help!
If you believe you might have problems with your pallet racks, or if it’s just been too long since you’ve had an inspection, it’s time to call in the experts. We can make sure that your racks, and your employees, are kept safe in their work environment. Click here to learn more about rack inspections!