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Top 5 No-Cost Warehouse Racking and Shelving Tips

Warehouse racking and shelving is of absolute pivotal importance to warehouse infrastructure. A bulletproof supply chain management system, maximizing warehouse space and optimizing warehouse organization is the make or break of any warehouse operations.

 

Warehouse racking and shelving systems are closely interconnected; this means when a pallet shelf or rack falls, there is almost always a domino effect which results in an entire row also falling. Though it costs time and effort to avoid warehouse shelving or racking accidents, a single accident is likely to cost more, due to loss of damaged product, delays in production, loss of customer orders, injury costs and absences.

 

Below is a guide of simple, completely free tactics you can implement to prevent a warehouse collapse.

 

Aisle Space

Warehouses are often built with maximizing available space in mind rather than safety. Warehouse shelves and racks should be carefully planned out in advance, taking into account shelving and rack height, proximity and accessibility. Companies may leave the minimum recommended space between aisles however factors such as inexperienced drivers and high amounts of traffic may not be taken into consideration. In addition to being safer, more room in aisles enables drivers to increase productivity as they can work at a faster pace.

The video below shows how lack of space resulted in disaster for one warehouse.

 

 

As can be seen by the domino effect in the video, the company in question did not leave enough space for safe navigation. You may be interested in reading more about wide aisle racking at Storage Systems.

 

Regular Racking Inspections

It is important to be proactive and minimise risk when it comes to replacing old or damaged racks or shelves. A qualified professional should regularly do inspections, as well as employees who should look out for damage in the form of dents or scrapes. Regular shelf and rack inspections means that damage can be quickly identified and evaluated to check if there needs to be repairs or replacements.

 

Organising load positions by weight

It is important to ensure that firstly the rack or shelf is capable of holding the load, particularly in upper levels. It is good practice to keep the heaviest loads in lower bays or on the floor and the lightest loads at the top. Also, be mindful of the pallet loads centre of gravity as this can cause the rack or shelf to pull forward or backward. Wall mounting brackets may be needed to secure shelves in place.

 

Proper Training

Correct procedures must be effectively taught to forklift drivers and other employees and efforts made to ensure they can regularly revise these procedures. Workers should be particularly well informed and educated on forklift speed limits; these limits should also be strongly enforced. Around pedestrians, the speed limit is 3MPH and 8MPH otherwise. Rack tunnels, around corners and other high risk zones should also be highlighted to workers as “go-slow” areas.

During these trainings, reporting of accidents should be encouraged, even if anonymous. Painting of forks should also be considered as firstly, if an accident occurs, it might be possible to trace back to who did it, also brightly coloured forks makes it easier for drivers to manoeuvre a load at a height as it increases visibility.

 

Remove all clutter

Cluttered aisles drastically increase the likelihood of forklifts striking a pallet as reducing visibility and limiting drivers’ options means floor space is now compromised. Strong lighting should also be installed to improve visibility, particularly in high danger zones. An incident captured in a Russian vodka warehouse which can be viewed below will be used to illustrate the simple but effective importance of removing clutter.

 

 

This accident happened in a moment’s loss of concentration. The poor layout of the warehouse racking meant that this mistake cost $150,000 in product losses, the driver was lucky to escape with his life and a mere leg injury.  As can be seen in the video, the aisle was very cluttered with pallets, pallet wrapping and another forklift, these obstructions limited the drivers manoeuvrability.

 

This concludes the top 5 No-Cost Warehouse Racking and Shelving Tips, to find out more information, read about Health and Safety at Storage Systems.