Forklifts play a key role in warehouses But their counterparts – pallet racks – are just as important. Forklifts provide an efficient way to move items from point A to point B. Pallet racks provide sturdy inventory storage until the products get shipped. Like any equipment, pallet racking can suffer damage during the course of duty. Damaged pallet racking can cause many problems in a warehouse. These include:
1) Training: Driver training should always be at the top of the list. Drivers should also receive training in the racking system and the maintenance, characteristics, and operational limits of their forklift.
2) Visibility: The more a driver can see, the more safely they can perform. Adequate lighting allow’s the driver to safely negotiate the aisle and have a good view of the racks. Likewise, wide-angle convex mirrors mounted on the forklift and at the ends of aisles give forklift drivers an increased ability to observe their surroundings, greatly reducing the opportunity for mishaps.
3) Rack inspection: Pallet racks endure a lot of wear and tear.
Collision with forklifts, improper loading, climbing by workers, and normal use put stress on the racks. Trained personnel should regularly inspect racks for structural integrity, damaged uprights, corrosion, row alignment, overloading, and floor condition and level.
4) Replacement/repair: Damaged rack components should be immediately replaced or repaired. Continued use of a structurally damaged rack could lead to failure, which would result in greater cost than fixing the problem. In many cases repairs are much cheaper and involve less down time than rack replacement.
5) Ensure Aisle clearances: Aisles should be free of clutter. For drivers to effectively navigate the aisles, clear pallet stacks and ensure the full aisle width is reserved for forklifts.
6) Rack loading: Racks should be properly labeled with clearly defined load tolerances. Heavier loads should be placed on the lower rack levels, and rack uprights should be designed for the heaviest weight pallets that might be stored. This may require reinforced upright columns.
7) Racking: Closed tube and high-strength structural rack uprights are more resistant to damage from collision with a forklift than are open tube rack uprights. While it may cost a little more, it will be far less costly than a rack collapse. Warehouses located in areas at risk for earthquakes must build racks to seismic specs.
8) Decrease Speed Limits: One easy way to curtail damage is to clearly and definitively reduce the driver speed limits while on the floor. Much like the open road, by encouraging drivers to be more aware of their speeds, you can reduce the number of collisions in your warehouse.
9) Rack Protection: Eventually, a forklift will hit a rack. There are a number of options available to safe guard racks and prevent or limit loss from these impacts. End of aisle rack guards, low profile rack guards, and post protectors are just a few options available.
Warehouses and distribution centers can be hectic, and it is essential to have solid damage prevention practices in effect to prevent employee injury and minimize loss. However, in an environment where workers are maneuvering heavy equipment and heavy loads in confined spaces, accidents are bound to happen. even the best driver occasionally has a collision, and when a five-ton forklift confronts a pallet rack, the rack is going to lose. Rack collapse is rare, but the structural integrity of the rack can be diminished, laying the groundwork for future failure. Fortunately, a lot can be done to prevent these accidents and minimize the damages when they occur.