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What Are OSHA’s Safety Standards for Mezzanines & Platforms?

December 11, 2007

We see a lot of structural mezzanines in our business in a range of facilities. They range from professionally manufactured to home-made, with quite a few fabricated by a local shop. It’s a good business for the fabrication shops (although maybe not so much for end-users, given the potential pitfalls), and if you go that route, you need to be sure your mezzanine fabricator is complying with OSHA & local safety regulations, particularly on guard railing, stairs and gates. You also have to look at local building codes. If your fabricator doesn’t routinely work with mezzanines, this is something you’ll have to do on your own. It’s not something to dismiss lightly.

The best policy is to look at established vendors if you don’t want to micro-manage the details of building permits, code compliance, and OSHA’s blessings.

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| 1 Comment »

If you’re putting in a pushback rack system, you need this free booklet on safe operating procedures and usage

November 27, 2007

pushback rack enhances storage densityTo max out both storage and selectivity, warehouse managers are frequently moving to higher-density storage systems like pushback rack instead of floor stacking or selective racks. Whether a pushback system makes sense for you is something that depends on what you’re storing, how you are accessing it, and what you need to do with it once it’s picked.

Pushback rack systems can give you up to 90% more product storage than selective storage rack systems and up to 400% more selectivity than drive-in racking systems. They’re probably the best balance between selectivity and storage density.

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Don’t Forget The Building Permits

November 21, 2007

building permits are a necessary step in properly executed installations

Many people do not realize that when installing equipment such as pallet racks, mezzanines, shelving, in-plant offices, or many other pieces of common material handling and storage equipment that you may be required to obtain a building permit. If you ignore the building permit process it can cost you money in delays, fines, or even having to remove the equipment being installed until a permit is obtained.

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Posted in Conveyor, Material Handling, Mezzanines, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Are You Loading Pallet Rack Beams Near to Rated Capacity?

October 23, 2007

pallet rack loading diagram

It’s easy to understand the idea of pallet rack beam capacities. They’re listed, mostly, in a per-pair style and common in the 5,000 pound range so that you can rack a couple of 2,500-lb. pallets on a 96″ span. That’s probably the most common pallet storage setup in the world. But if you’re not loading pallets correctly, you aren’t getting your full capacity rating. This article on beam loading methods explains it in detail, but the basic story is that if your load does not fully overhang or rest on the tallest part of the beam, you aren’t getting the full capacity because you’re not using all the steel and your load isn’t setting flush in the horizontal space.

Loads that rest on decking or pallet support put more pressure on the thinnest vertical section of the beam, in the ‘step’. This can diminish beam capacities. I’m not saying you can’t load racks this way (people do it all the time) but that you need to check out the capacity of the beams when they’re loaded on the step, not the full beam.

Read the article. It tells the story better.

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Cisco-Eagle safety white paper recognized by Material Handling Industy of America

October 23, 2007

cover of safety brochureThis is an honor that I’m pleased with because one of the things material handling, when done right, does best is to make industrial facilities safer. When you are storing and handling heavy, bulk products, the way you do that has the potential to make the operation more dangerous (if you do it wrong) or safer (if you do it right). Companies that make a conscious effort to emphasize safety should start with the way they store things. That’s not the end of the safety story, it’s the start. But it’s an important start.

The The College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE) through MHIA awarded us third place for a white paper we published last year on material handling and safety — “15 Ways Material Handling Can Make Your Operation Safer”. There are more than 15, of course. There are probably as many ways as there are storage methods. And there are ways to enhance safety with simple products like guard rail and rack enclosures that also help operations in other ways.

You can get the PDF of the paper through the link above. You can also check out our index of materials handling safety related articles and resource links.

The award was a nice thing. To have placed with people like Modern Materials Handling and FKI was very gratifying for us. Thanks to Mike Ogle, CICMHE and MHIA for putting the awards together. It’s the second time we’ve placed. Maybe in 2009, the next time they run it, we can win!

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