When a company needs to maximize warehouse space, it often makes an investment in pallet racking. However, many forget to factor in pallet rack protection within their budget.
A strong impact to a rack system’s uprights may cause them to buckle. Repeated impacts compromise the properties and capacity and make it vulnerable to a collapse that can injure employees and damage product. Therefore, it is important to decrease the likelihood of forklifts and other equipment coming into contact with the racking.
Pallet Rack Protectors
Rack protectors come in various shapes and can be used in most applications, including narrow aisles where space is premium. The most common rack protection sits close to the upright, wraps around to protect it from all angles and is anchored at four points to the floor. “Most companies I have worked with choose protectors that are 18” in height. Safety yellow is a good choice for forklift operator visibility,” shares Thomas Rademaker, ProLift Storage & Handling Specialist.
Return on Investment
So how do you justify the cost of protection? The average cost of each rack protector is $50, a much lower cost compared to an upright replacement. However, depending on the amount of rack uprights in the warehouse, placement of a column protector in front of every upright can result in a large cost. Thomas advises, “It is important to think about other factors such as the time it takes to install a new upright. Product must be taken off the shelf, load beams must be removed and warehouse traffic may have to be rerouted. Of course, this is a small inconvenience compared to a racking collapse.”
Pallet Rack Inspection
To stay aware of potential hazards, creating a schedule to inspect pallet racking is recommended. “Uprights located on the end of the aisles are the most susceptible to bumps from equipment,” cautions Thomas. “If an operator cuts a turn into the aisle too tight, he will inevitably hit the upright.” Even noting scuffs on the rack can highlight where operators are facing lift impact challenges.
Pallet Racking Safety Tips
In addition to rack protectors, consider these safety tips for pallet racking:
- Provide ample safety training for operators, making them aware of racking hazards
- Ensure a safe working load, especially for loads not contained in a cube (i.e. using stretch wrap to stabilize load)
- Place heavy items on the bottom rack(s)