Material Handling Experts


Information on the products and techniques to better store, handle, and move products in your facility.

A Guide to Pallet Rack Wire Decking Finishes

April 3, 2013

wire decking for pallet rack

There’s a lot of confusion about the different finishes that can be applied to a pallet rack wire deck. Various manufacturers offer different finishes, and you may have need of more than one of them for different types of storage applications. Nashville Wire, our rack decking supplier, has sent us this super-basic primer on the common finish options.

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Don’t Climb that Pallet Rack!

March 18, 2013

To save time, people  sometimes climb pallet racks to pick orders or do other things. This should never happen. While  it’s faster to climb than it is to bring a rolling stair ladder or a forklift in to do it right, it’s dangerous and counterproductive. Do it long enough and there will be injuries.

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Infographic: Safer Pallet Rack Operation

January 29, 2013

Pallet rack is typically safe and easily-maintained storage equipment, whether you are dealing with selective, pushback, drive-in, or other types of rack.  But if you load it wrong, if you don’t inspect and repair/replace damaged components, if you don’t understand your capacities, and if you don’t take steps to ensure your rack isn’t impacted by loading equipment, that safe rack can become dangerous and expensive.

We have created an infographic to help you navigate the most common mistakes people make dealing with pallet racks.  Feel free to share this graphic to any site or other media. It is the first of many infographic posters we’ll be offering to help people operate and maintain material handling equipment.

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The Cost of Managing a Skid or Pallet

September 24, 2012

If you’re paying someone to store a pallet for you, what’s reasonable? Are you overpaying for convenience or location? It’s not easy to compare 3PL vs. 3PL, or even your own warehouse so you know for sure if you are getting value for your money. But there are some basic assumptions you can make to help you understand what you’re dealing with, the costs the 3PL may experience, and reasonable costs for your storage projects.

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Tips to Prevent and Reduce Pallet Rack Damage

September 14, 2012

damaged rack post

Pallet racks are frequently subject to abuse, and even the toughest rack will need some cautious handling, processes, guarding equipment, and other help to remain in service. Racks can be overloaded, hit by heavy forklifts, misloaded, and otherwise impacted. These are some tips to help you avoid the frustration, expense, and danger of rack damage.

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Video: Danger in the Rack Aisles

August 21, 2012

Although this incident took place in a big-box warehouse store, it could have happened in any number of industrial warehouses across the country. The presence of order pickers, shoppers, or others in a rack aisle is a top safety concern, in particular if the aisle on the other side of the rack row is being restocked. Most likely this accident was caused by a push from the opposite side of the racks.

In any case, a tragic accident was narrowly avoided by sheer luck.

If possible, these kinds of accidents should be guarded against with items such as rack safety nets or wire mesh safety panels. This isn’t always possible, since lifts may need access to both sides of a rack aisle.

Another thing you can do is try to remove pickers from aisles where trucks are working the other side. If they are executing each-pick or carton-pick from lower bays, is it possible to move those to their own area of the warehouse, away from lift truck traffic?

In the case of poorly constructed storage, it’s a matter of process. Inspect pallets before they go into the rack. Are they stacked for stability? Shrinkwrap or band them to shore them up. Don’t allow carton picks from those pallets if possible, as that can destabilize the load. If you must pick from them, bring them down, pick, re-balance, and restock them. That’s time consuming compared to a quick carton pick, but given what almost happened here, and what could happen any day in any warehouse, it’s a small price to pay.

You can also clear both sides of a bay when either side is being loaded or unloaded by forklift. This helps you keep people safe even if there is a spill. Of course training lift drivers to avoid these types of “push” accidents is mandatory, but you can’t count on training alone when there is this kind of danger to people in the next aisle.


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Protecting Order Pickers in Rack Aisles

June 22, 2012

Picking orders in a pallet rack aisle

“We need help before someone gets hurt”

The situation is familiar: in a busy warehouse or distribution center, you can have dozens or hundreds of order pickers that walk the floor with carts and clipboards or scan guns to pick orders for shipping. These are usually focused people who have the job in mind. After all, you’ve probably told them how speed is of the essence – which it is. The problem is that in many or most operations, there are also powered industrial trucks (forklifts, walkies, electric powered jacks) operating in the same space, often in cramped pallet rack aisles. And guess what? They’re busy and focused on the job, too.

And these two groups are working the same space, at the same time. It’s almost assured that if you have this situation, you’ve had accidents, or near-accidents — which you may never hear of, until the near-miss isn’t a miss at all.

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Securing High Value Inventory on Pallet Racks

May 17, 2012

pallet rack aisle

It’s always difficult to secure high-value inventory in the warehouse, and it’s even harder when the load resides in pallet racks, which are larger, have a conventionally open design, and more difficult to secure than inventory that sits on shelves or in carousels or within tool cribs.  Pallet rack loads can be palletized or stacked on decking, but either way they are more “open” than other types of inventory.  What are your alternatives?

  1. Use upper bays to keep it out of reach.
  2. Utilize secure aisles.
  3. Store it in a separate area/facility.
  4. Utilize rack-mounted security cages.
  5. Utilize solid-side rack security enclosures.

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Inspecting Your Pallet Racks for Damage

April 1, 2012

drive in rackWhen was the last time you had your pallet rack inspected?

Every operation that operates mechanical lifting equipment is required by the  Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to inspect and document the safety of their racking systems. It’s the most common storage equipment in the world, and an inspection can not only help you comply with the law – it can help you see other issues in your warehouse. We have created a checklist of items to check and ways to check them.

Posted in Docks & Shipping, Industrial Shelving, Material Handling, Mezzanines, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Justifying AisleCop Forklift Safety Gate Systems

January 13, 2012

AisleCop warehouse pedestrian safety systemWe see two kinds of operations that have shown interest in, or implemented an AisleCop® forklift safety gate system. The first are those companies who have defined traffic plans and are looking to prevent possible accidents in high-risk, limited-visibility, or heavy-traffic aisles. They foresee potential accidents and are taking measures to prevent them. The second kind are companies who have had an incident, or a near-miss.

In both cases, the question has been “how can I justify this system?”

Aside from the fact that it could help save a life, or help prevent horrific injuries (the only kind that a forklift-pedestrian accidents seem to produce), AisleCop® can also save money in a variety of ways.

We have created a document, free for download, that you can use if you’re pitching a safety system to your management. It’s a short, but informative read.

Check it out here: “AisleCop®  return on investment” (PDF file)

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