Your pallet racking is responsible for most of your warehouse’s main function: storage. It’s easy to take pallet racking for granted when you work around it every day, but it really is the skeletal system of the warehouse environment and without it, you certainly wouldn’t be able to function as well as you do. That’s why it’s important to take care of it. Caring for your pallet racking can include doing things such as:
- Keeping it clean and organized
- Inspecting it regularly
- Repairing damage as soon as possible
That last item on the list can prove to be a tricky one in certain circumstances; after all, how much damage is too much damage? If you can’t see the damage, does it really count? And if the racking still seems to be sturdy, can you ignore it?
The truth is even a small amount of damage to your pallet racking, especially to the upright supports and columns, can cause big problems for you in the future. While most pallet racks are reliable, when the columns of your racks are damaged even slightly you run the risk of your pallet racks collapsing.
The Big Impact of Collapsing Racking
This is every warehouse manager’s nightmare. A racking collapse can impact your warehouse in a lot of different ways:
- Additional expenses. It’s going to cost you to clean up the mess that’s left behind after a racking collapse. You’ll end up damaging out a lot of inventory, paying workers overtime to get the mess cleaned up, and you’ll need to invest in new, undamaged pallet racking. And that’s just the beginning. A racking collapse can lead to lost business and productivity, both of which will have a big impact on your bottom line. And worst of all, if workers are injured during the collapse, you’ll be facing worker’s compensation claims and potentially even a lawsuit.
- Lost time. Time is money, especially in business. A racking collapse can put you behind schedule for days and potentially even weeks or longer, depending on the severity of the collapse and how much inventory you lose afterward. Instead of fulfilling orders and getting them out the door, your team is going to be focused on cleaning up, and that’s not going to make you any money.
- Risk of injuries. This is the worst part of a racking collapse. Your employees could be injured, sometimes in life-changing ways, and there are numerous instances of workers being killed in a collapse. Not only do you have an obligation to create a safe environment for your team, this could badly damage the reputation of your company for years to come. Injuries come with big price tags, too, including worker’s compensation claims, lawsuits, the cost of replacing injured workers, and the damage to morale among the rest of your team.
How to Protect Your Uprights
There are a number of safety measures you can take to help prevent damage to the columns of your racks from forklifts. There are some safety measures that are required by OSHA and some that are voluntary, but warehouses try to skip on purchasing these items in order to save some money in the budget will quickly regret that choice. Options for rack protection include:
- Corner guards
- Floor mounted barriers
- Bollard post covers
- Column guards
- End-of-aisle rack guards
The main function of any of these pieces of safety equipment is to prevent your forklift or other machinery from accidentally backing into the frame of the pallet rack. This is the most common cause of pallet racking damage. Even if you don’t have forklifts in operation within your warehouse, though, you should consider putting this safety equipment in place. Even a wayward hand truck could end up damaging your pallet racks. If you aren’t sure which options are right for your warehouse, a DAK project manager can help you determine which equipment is necessary to keep your warehouse equipment and your team safe.
How Much Damage is Too Much Damage?
Even a small amount of column damage can turn into a big issue. That’s because any structural damage can cause the entire rack to collapse. As a general rule, if your columns have suffered more than a ½” of deflection, you’ll want to replace them right away. That small amount of damage can be hard to see with the naked eye, which is another reason that consistent and thorough inspections of your warehouse are done on a regular basis.
For a simple way to determine any deflection, hold a straightedge such as a yardstick up to the column and measure the gaps between the column and the straightedge. If you measure greater than a ½”, it’s time to call DAK Equipment & Engineering. That indicates that the column supports have been compromised and the entire structure of the pallet rack has been weakened.
How DAK Equipment Can Help
We offer a few options for rack repair. First, we can attempt to repair the rack, saving you the cost of replacement. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option, so we can also replace the parts and pieces that are putting your pallet racks in danger. Once we’ve repaired the damage, we’ll make sure you have the upright protection that will prevent similar damage in the future. Over the lifetime of your warehouse, this could end up saving you thousands in repair and replacement costs.
Get In Touch with Us Today
Give DAK Equipment a call today and make an appointment with us for rack repair or a facility inspection. You can also put in an order through our online store for upright protection. Whatever you need to make your facility safe and keep your pallet racks in good shape, DAK has it! Our project managers are ready to get to work on finding you the racking and safety equipment you need or arranging for the repair or installation team required. Our job is to help you make your warehouse safer and more productive, so get in touch with us today so we can get to work!