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5 Common Mistakes People Make with Pallet Racks

June 5, 2014

Pallet rack system

When it comes to warehouse storage, pallet racks provide an optimal, easy-to-maintain solution. They’re the most common way of storing pallet loads in the world, and they’re used in the vast majority of warehouses, manufacturing facilities, commercial operations, and even retail stores. Whether you’re dealing with selective, pushback, drive-in, or other types of racks, the issues are frequently similar.

Safe pallet rack operation involves understanding how to properly use racks; an otherwise safe rack can become dangerous and expensive if used incorrectly. Here are 5 common mistakes people make with pallet racks—and what you can do to ensure you don’t make any of them in your warehouse.

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Saving Space in Rack Storage Areas

December 3, 2010

pallet rack rows

Pallet rack storage is relatively inexpensive and extremely common. In many facilities, it also consumes the majority of square footage. When you can cut down on this space, significant gains can be made that allow you to use the square footage for other purposes. Here are some ideas for reducing your rack storage footprint while maintaining storage capacity.
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Another completely preventable forklift accident

February 16, 2010

You can see some of the mistakes happening in this video. Others aren’t so obvious.

What were the problems here?

#1: The driver is traveling too fast. That said, he’s not racing, but that doesn’t matter. He’s carrying a wide load through a narrow space. He was either distracted or he went faster than he should have through a tight spot, or both.

#2: The aisle is cluttered. Why create a pinch point with stacks of drums? Poor housekeeping in a warehouse is dangerous. One of the best things you can do for safety in your warehouse is to make sure there is adequate — or more than adequate — aisle space. It should be clear, it should be clean, it should have space and it should be highly visible. It should never be close to this tight. If you need space, find it elsewhere.

#3: The pallet racks were possibly overloaded. That forklift was moving too fast for the situation, but it wasn’t pedal-to-the-metal-fast. Although the weight of a forklift can turn a slow impact into devastation, a properly loaded, undamaged rack with upright post protectors should not necessarily collapse when struck slowly.  While you never want to smack an upright, exceeding rack capacities can make them much more susceptible to collapse, even to minor impacts. Always know your listed capacity, and stick to it.

#4: The uprights may have suffered previous damage. This can cause a collapse. I’ve been in warehouses where you could walk for five minutes and find a dozen bent uprights. That’s insanity. There isn’t any way to tell whether or not the upright was dented from this video, but the point is this: routinely inspect your racks and assess your uprights. They’re cheap to replace, and doing so could prevent injuries and major accidents.

#5: The driver should not have fled the forklift. It has a cage for a reason — to protect him from falling objects. He was much safer inside than he was doing the “Die Hard” jump out.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Steel (and Material Handling) Prices might be on the Move

May 12, 2009

Steel millAlthough most metal markets are still depressed from their all time highs of the last few years, it’s quite likely that steel pricing is going to increase in the near term. What’s that mean? It means that pricing for steel goods like warehouse racks, conveyors, shelving, mezzanines, and other material handling equipment will be on the rise.

“We are clearly going to see higher prices for May,” said Marty Forman, president of Forman Metal Co.  in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Things aren’t going to explode, by any means, but the scuttlebutt is that steel prices are going up $15 to $20 a ton.”

The takeaway? Prices are as low as they will be for the near future right now.

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