Prevent Defense – Pallet Rack Protection Options from All Angles
Discover affordable ways to reduce damage
Traffic coming and going within your facility’s pallet rack storage areas is a daily occurrence (or at least it better be!) and the higher the traffic, the better off your operations are probably doing. With tight supply chains, inventory shortages, longer lead times and limited patience from customers, movement around your rack is a constant. You can’t afford an accident. With that constant activity comes the potential for rack and inventory damage from various angles and situations. With that in mind, what are some simple ways you can protect your pallet rack?
Watch for overloading
Let’s start here with the obvious: without the knowledge of what your pallet rack is capable of holding and withstanding, you are always a load or shift away from disaster. To help prevent overloading, you must educate your workers who are involved in the pallet areas of what they can and can’t add to existing racks. Similarly, understanding the seismic zones you reside in is critical to know just what to use for the design and installation of rack.
Along with education, make sure all rack areas have the proper signage stating max heights and weights, and that your operators and their employees follow the guidelines to the letter.
Keep the row ends safe from traffic
An easy way to cause damage is by leaving the end of each row unguarded. With each row itself a high-traffic area, forklifts, mobile trucks and AGVs zooming and turning from one to another offer different versions of the same highly portable, highly damaging machine moving in and out. To combat and reduce such damage, look to items such as an end guard, which anchors to the floor for highly visible protection, or post/column protectors, which offer multiple versions (from snap-on to bolt-on) and interchangeable convenience.
Don’t forget the back of the rack
Just as a forklift has the potential to damage your row ends, it can damage areas that are critical for rack stability, the back of the rack. You can push a pallet through the back. In fact, less attention is probably paid when loading and unloading with regards to how close and how fast one is using the forks. And just as there are for the end of an aisle, there are options to help prevent damage to the back of your rack.
- Installing a pallet guide rail helps keep palletized loads from hitting the back of the upright or being pushed over the back of the rack. With a rounded front tab, this steel guide mounts to the inside of the rack frame and helps ensure proper pallet loading to keep your rack in good shape. Not only can they protect critical space in the back and act as shock absorption, but they also let drivers know when the end of an upright is there and prevent possible falling items.
- Including safety netting is another cost-effective method to protecting your rack investment.
- Use rack back wire mesh panels for rigid back-of-rack protection.
Each of the items discussed above for back-of-rack safety also helps aid in maintaining proper airflow for flue space purposes. This is highly important for many reasons, as not only do you want a correct flow to direct fire up and not out for effective sprinkler coverage, but in doing so you can protect your rack as well. Even a simple addition like a row spacer can provide additional flow and reduce the dangerous spread of flames.
Outfit forklifts themselves
Protecting your pallet rack is not all about what you can add to the rack itself. We talked about how a forklift moving in and out of aisles has the potential to damage your rack, so what about giving the drivers more ways to be aware and safe. Of course, education by way of teaching and reinforcing to drivers how to slow down when using a lift around rack is important, but you can help them even more with equipment such as forklift tine laser guides or a blind-spot camera system. Simple items such as rubber fork covers or a tilt indicator offer a great price-per-use when it comes to helping protect your racks.