Protecting your equipment is a key part of running a safe and productive warehouse. Unfortunately, the use of heavy machinery can lead to accidents if you’re not careful. Forklifts, pallet jacks, and other vehicles can cause major damage to racking systems. Pallet rack damage puts your products, equipment, and employees at risk.
Prioritizing the following tips for preventing pallet rack damage in your warehouse can help you streamline your workflow, preserve your inventory, and maintain a safe work environment for everyone on your team. Learn more about the top pallet rack safety solutions with this guide.
Invest in Personal and Optimized Racking Solutions
Pallet racks, storage systems, and other warehouse systems are not one-size-fits-all solutions. You need an optimized solution that serves your specific business and workflow. Review your current equipment to ensure your racks and other systems can handle the load requirements and material movement needs of your warehouse. Using the right racking system from the start helps prevent damage to frames and beams due to overloading. Investing in custom or optimized racking solutions is the key to creating the best workflow possible and preserving your racking systems in the midst of your busy warehouse.
Protect Racking Systems With Pallet Rack Protectors
Even if you have the perfect equipment in your warehouse, it helps to have added protection. Pallet rack protectors and similar rack protection equipment help keep your racking system safe from accidental damage.
Row guards and column protectors add an extra layer of protection in the event of a collision. This helps prevent forklifts and other warehouse vehicles from damaging your racks by accident. You can also install rack protection equipment that aids load capacity and better secures products on the shelves. For example, adjustable pallet stops increase the stability of pallets on the shelf. Pallet stops prevent products from sliding off the shelf or sliding back and crushing other pallets.
If your facility sees a lot of vehicle traffic, corner guards are another useful piece of equipment to install. Anchored steel corner guards provide durability and protection, making them useful against vehicle collisions and regular wear and tear.
Increase Visibility With Lighting and Layout
While you can’t prevent every accident, you can greatly reduce damage by making your warehouse easier to navigate. Lighting and layout changes can increase visibility—especially in narrow aisles or around corners—and make navigation easier for your forklift operators.
Start by reviewing the layout of your warehouse and identifying areas that experience racking damage or other accidents most frequently. Next, look for what you can improve within those areas. Inadequate lighting is a common cause of forklift accidents. Look for ways to brighten the area and increase visibility. You can also install mirrors on both racks and vehicles to help drivers see around corners as they navigate the area. Another option is to post signs about speed limits, blind corners, or other helpful reminders your drivers can use to navigate the warehouse safely.
Keep Aisles Clear and Clean
One straightforward yet effective tip for preventing pallet rack damage in your warehouse is to keep your aisles clear and clean. Pallet stacks, trash, loose materials, and other obstructions force drivers to either stop or move around the clutter. This leads to a slower workflow and a much greater risk of accidents.
Clear aisles make navigation smooth and easy for everyone in the warehouse. While mistakes happen, clear policies about cleaning up after yourself or walking through the facility a few times a day will eliminate clutter and keep aisles clear for your drivers.
Prioritize Driver Training
Responsible training processes create responsible employees. By emphasizing rules, guidelines, and best practices for forklift operation early, you instill a sense of safety and responsibility in every employee who joins your team. Investing a little extra time and energy into the initial training process can save you from costly accidents in the long run.
Training shouldn’t be exclusively for new hires, though. Ongoing training, such as refresher courses and annual certifications, is a great way to ensure your forklift drivers continue to work safely and responsibly, even once they’ve settled into their roles.
Additionally, you should prioritize training for both general guidelines and more specific lessons that revolve around certain machinery or sections of the warehouse. A comprehensive training program promotes more responsible drivers and fewer warehouse accidents.
Create and Enforce Best Practices
Preventing pallet rack damage needs to be a priority across your entire team. Consistently enforcing best practices helps emphasize the need for safety and ensures all workers are operating with care and responsibility. It’s not enough to create a list of best practices. From onboarding and training to signage throughout the warehouse to leaders who exemplify proper practices, these procedures must be a significant part of every employee’s experience.
Even basic procedures, such as following the speed limits, should be a priority throughout the warehouse. Speed limit signs, employee training manuals, and other reminders emphasize safe driving practices and make workers more aware of how they operate. At the same time, supervisors and other experienced team members should lead by example and follow all best practices themselves. This commitment teaches new staff members and ensures they take best practices seriously throughout the warehouse.
Follow Load Tolerances
Proper load placement keeps your racks safe and stable through delivery and retrieval. Comprehensive knowledge and training of load tolerances will allow your workers to follow best practices and avoid damage or accidents.
Start by labeling racks with clear, visible load limits to prevent confusion or mistakes. It also helps to post guides and reminders about safe loading practices throughout the warehouse. Easy access to guidelines will help prevent mindless mistakes and reduce the number of accidents in your warehouse.
Stay on Top of Daily Wear and Tear
Minor bumps and other forms of daily wear and tear don’t seem like a big deal at the time, but these issues add up to major damage down the line. Staying on top of daily wear and tear prevents minor issues from becoming costly problems. Moreover, catching problems early helps you identify accident patterns and create more effective ways to prevent damage in the future.
There are a few ways you can better monitor and address daily wear and tear. Weekly walks through the warehouse allow you to spot damage early. Annual inspections allow you to stay on top of equipment repairs and replacements. You can also implement an anonymous system for reporting accidents, encouraging workers to report damage without fear of repercussions.
Pallet rack damage puts your employees and products at risk, but the right solutions keep your warehouse safe. Contact DAK Solutions today to learn more about how our equipment can optimize your business.