Safeguarding Your Warehouse: A Guide To Racking Safety

SAFETY

Peter Hills

1/15/20242 min read

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Warehouse racking systems are a cornerstone of efficient storage, enabling businesses to maximise space while holding substantial loads. However, the dynamic nature of warehouses, with forklift trucks buzzing around towering pallet racking, introduces unique safety challenges. In this guide, we'll delve into three key areas crucial for minimising risks associated with warehouse racking systems.

Construction and Loading in Accordance with Guidelines

  • Competent Assembly: Ensure racking systems are installed by skilled assemblers following codes provided by the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (SEMA).

  • Manufacturer's Guidelines: Adhere strictly to manufacturers’ guidelines for loading, modification, and installation. SEMA members should supply load data notices for clear visibility, indicating maximum loading weights and beam heights.

  • Safety Locks: Employ safety locks on all beams to prevent accidental dislodging when forklifts are in operation.

  • Consultation for Changes: Seek written confirmation from manufacturers or suppliers before making any alterations to beam levels. Even small adjustments can impact the entire frame's loading capacity.

Fostering Safe Behaviour Among Employees

  • Handling Clearances: Enforce adequate handling clearances between pallet loads and racking frames. SEMA recommends a minimum clearance of 75mm on the top and sides of each load.

  • Driving Rules: Implement and strictly enforce rules on safe driving, speed limits, and adherence to floor markings for workplace transport, especially for forklift operators.

  • Column Guards: Consider removable column guards to prevent forklift trucks from getting too close to the racking structure, especially around exposed corner uprights.

  • Aisle Maintenance: Train all workers to keep aisles clear of obstacles. Good housekeeping not only prevents slips and trips but also contributes to overall vehicle safety.

Regular Monitoring and Repairs

  • Annual Inspections: Schedule annual inspections by SEMA-approved rack inspectors. Ideally, choose an independent inspector to assess the condition without ties to suppliers or repairers.

  • Damage Reporting: Encourage a culture of reporting any damage promptly. From a minor clip by a forklift truck to noticeable beam deflections during stock checks, all damage should be reported.

  • Pallet Quality: Monitor the condition of pallets placed on racks, as damaged pallets can compromise stability. Implement a system for reporting damaged pallets for repair or disposal.

  • Immediate Action: If damage is detected, offload the affected bay and restrict its use until necessary repairs are completed. Replacement with like-for-like components is preferable over splicing or welding.

Conclusion

While warehouse racking is a fundamental part of operations, overlooking safety can lead to severe consequences. By focusing on construction adherence, employee behaviour, and regular monitoring, you can create a safer warehouse environment, ensuring both personnel and inventory remain secure. Remember, in the realm of racking safety, proactive measures are the key to accident prevention and sustained operational efficiency.