Opening a business can be an exciting time, but it requires a great deal of discipline, motivation, and responsibility. While you may already have your offices and warehouse set up and ready for production or shipment, workplace safety should also be a priority. Unfortunately, an estimated 15,000 injuries and illnesses occur in warehouses each year. From slips, trips, and falls to forklift accidents, many of these injuries could have been prevented with proper training and precaution. If you are a new business owner, consider using these tips to reduce injuries that may stem from improper pallet racking in your warehouse.
Improper training is a common problem in many warehouses. Without educating your workers on proper safety, they will be at an increased risk of accidents and injuries. To reduce the risk of pallet and forklift accidents in the warehouse, make sure they understand the following:
- Protection – Wood pallets may splinter and break, causing cuts and scrapes that can become dangerous. In addition, nails and screws in the pallets and racks may injure your workers. Make sure each of your employees wears a pair of safety gloves when working around pallets. Safety goggles are not always necessary or required, but they can be beneficial when working around sharp objects or corners of pallet racks.
- Disposal – Inspect all pallets and racks for damage periodically and dispose or recycle damaged materials.
- Lifting – Moving loaded pallets will require a forklift or pallet jack. However, your warehouse employees may choose to lift and carry empty pallets by hand. To prevent accidents, make sure they place the pallet on its side before sliding it to a new location.
- Stocking – Employees should never throw a pallet onto a rack. Pallets should also be stocked using a forklift or pallet jack. Do not climb up on pallet racks, since this increases the risk of falls. Also, climbing onto pallet racks increases the weight on your racks, which may lead to a rack collapse.
- Forklift Training – All employees in your warehouse should be trained on the proper use of a pallet jack. However, full certification is required for employees who will operate powered machinery, such as forklifts.
Proper Rack Design
Having knowledgeable and responsible employees in your warehouse is smart, but they must be able to work in a safe environment with proper materials.
Your racking system must be bolted into the ground, no matter what types of items you are storing on the pallets. This will secure the racks in place, preventing the entire racking system from toppling over.
Of course, following OSHA guidelines is imperative for your business, but they currently only require the following key elements:
- Secure Items – Using racks to stack objects will prevent them from collapsing or falling over.
- Rack Clearance – There should be a minimum clearance of 18 inches between the storage rack and the ceiling, allowing for the proper use of fire alarms and sprinklers.
Make sure your pallet racking system is suitable for the needs of your warehouse. This will ensure you are not placing an excessive amount of weight on each pallet rack.
Stacking a higher capacity of weight onto your pallet racks may improve your warehouse productivity, but it can become dangerous. Post the maximum capacity of on each section of your racking system. Having this displayed will help your warehouse employees follow the recommended safety guidelines.
While surprising to learn, many of your warehouse workers may not know how to load items onto your racking system. They must understand the importance of using the lower racks for the heaviest items, since this will reduce the risk of a rack collapse.
Getting your small business up and running is overwhelming, but you should place time and energy into warehouse safety. Using these tips on safe pallet racking, you can prevent dangerous accidents and injuries in your warehouse.
For more information, contact a company like Tri State Surplus Co.