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

OSHA releases Forklift eTool

October 27, 2008

forklift-operation.jpgOSHA has released an eTool (which is basically just an informational web page) for powered lift trucks that you might find useful. It has drill-down information on the following categories:

  • Basic  Types and Fundamentals – The differing types and fundamentals of powered trucks
  • Operating the Forklift – the basic operating rules and safe work practices
  • Understanding the Workplace – how workplace conditions can affect safe operation
  • Training Assistance – operator training required by OSHA

This information specifically addresses OSHA’s Powered Industrial Truck requirements [29 CFR 1910.178]

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Intermingling new & existing pallet rack parts

October 3, 2008

pallet rack beam and upright connectionWhen you are running an operation with lots of racking, it isn’t uncommon to have to replace an occasional upright or beam, or to add new bays onto an existing row. Sometimes you cannot avoid it, as the rack was purchased years ago, by someone else, from a source you can’t even locate. It might be that you bought used rack and need to fill some gaps in, or it may be perfectly good, 15-year old rack that just needs some expansion or damaged components replaced.

This is done all the time, and although it isn’t an optimum situation for rack stability and safety, you can minimize the issues by following the following guidelines:

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More pallet rack safety tips

September 9, 2008

rack-aisle.jpgJust some tips we’ve picked up along the way when it comes to keeping pallet racks safe:

  • The majority of pallet rack structural failures result from just three sources – know them, and most of the rest takes care of itself. Those include (1) impacts from a lift truck collision; (2) Misuse and overloading (3) Lack of comprehension that racks can be dangerous, and the lack of a safety oriented mindset. Really, the focus is on #3 gets you to #1 and #2. Operations with a safety mindset will also understand that impacts are deadly, and they know how to safely load their racks.
  • Check out “When Racks Collide” for more information on protecting your racks.
  • Know how your rack will be used when you spec it. “The two main rack safety points are the proper initial design of the structure so it doesn’t collapse, and proper training of personnel to ensure a clear understanding of the structure’s operational characteristics,” said Rack Manufacturer’s Institute (RMI) President John Nosfinger in a 2008 Modern Materials Handling article. If you inherited the pallet rack in your operation from someone else, find out the details of the rack system and its design. File that so that anyone can access it, and enforce your capacity ratings so that your racks will not be overloaded or mis-loaded.

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Wire Pallet Rack Decking Capacities – What you Need to Know

August 17, 2008

pallet rack wire decking

Craig Chamberlain has an article over at the MHEDA Edge website that you need to read if you use pallet rack wire decking.

Here’s the money quote:

“Decking can, and often does, directly bear the total weight of the application’s load and transfers that load to the beams of the pallet rack. Regardless of the weight-bearing capacity of the rack’s beams, an improperly overrated deck can and will jeopardize the load-bearing capacity of the entire system and result in a failure.”

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When racks collide: ways to minimize forklift impacts on pallet rack

July 3, 2008

pallet rack with end of row guard railsPallet racks take a beating over time. They get loaded with exceptionally heavy pallets, by exceptionally powerful lift trucks over and over throughout the course of years. Chances are that if you have pallet rack in your warehouse, it’ll get hit at some point. When it does, inspecting (and generally replacing) it is your best course of action. But what about avoiding that hit, or its dangerous aftermaths in the first place?

Rack is easy to ignore from a safety standpoint. In fact, it’s too easy. Other hazards might stick out like a sore thumb, so there are times plant managers or warehouse supervisors can be less concerned than they should for hundreds of tons of racks and load in a warehouse bustling workers and lift trucks.

Here are some ways to avoid (or minimize) lift truck/rack impacts…

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Comparing Pallet Rack Guards: Flexible Netting vs. Wire Mesh Panels

May 19, 2008

pallet rack wire mesh guardingUnguarded rack is flat-out dangerous if orders are being picked in the lower bays, or there is consistent foot traffic below. Safety managers know this, insurance companies know it, and if you have rack in your facility, you should know it too. Look, we have all probably seen pallets break. We’ve seen drivers make mistakes when loading & unloading. We’ve seen things fall off. If you’ve been in the business any length of time, you may have walked into your warehouse in the morning to find a case of something from the fourth level split open on the floor. It happens to everyone, and if you’re in the industry long enough, it’ll happen to you.

Stuff falls off of racks, and if we’re fortunate, none of the stuff hits someone. But you can also prevent that drop in the first place and maybe save the stored inventory as well. So if you buy into the fact that your racks should have some fall protection, then the question becomes: “what kind?”

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The top 10 OSHA violations for 2007

May 1, 2008

rack protected by steel guard railingFrom a total of 39,324 inspections last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found 88,846 violations. For warehousers, distributors and manufacturers, the list is familiar.

  1. Scaffolding
  2. Fall protection
  3. Hazard communication
  4. Control of hazardous energy
  5. Respiratory protection
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Electrical (wiring)
  8. Ladders
  9. Machine guarding
  10. Electrical (general requirements).

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

Pallet rack specification drawings available

April 27, 2008

selective rack drawingWe’ve added a series of drawings from Steel King that detail out the critical dimensions for various kinds of pallet rack, ranging from selective to drive-in, to over-door pallet storage racks. It’s a small PDF file (just 368 KB) that shows front and side views of various rack types and the things needed to correctly specify them. It’s easy to print and has some other links to useful pallet rack information and web pages.

Check it out. If you’re working on a rack project, it’s one more tool you can put to fast use.

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Rack Manufacturers Institute Releases 2007 Wire Decking Standards

January 9, 2008

wire decking for pallet racks

Wire decking is ubiquitous with selective pallet rack–it’s perhaps the most broadly-specified selective rack accessory. People use it to when they want pallet support with greater structural strength than other materials, when they want to load boxes or other non-palletized load onto racks, when they want to handle loads that aren’t deep enough to sit on uprights, and when they want to eliminate dust and debris inherent with solid decking materials…

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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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