The do's and don'ts of pallet racking systems

Welcome to our guide on the do’s and don’ts of pallet racking systems! Efficient pallet racking systems can streamline storage operations and tremendously increase a warehouse’s capacity. However, proper racking components and storage practices must be in place to ensure safety and efficiency. 

This guide will cover safe pallet rack storage practices, pallet rack inspections, loading and unloading procedures, safety accessories, permitting and compliance, choosing the right components, and proper design. Call 888-578-1578 or fill out an online quote form today for help planning your storage system!

Safe Pallet Rack Storage Practices

Following safe pallet rack storage practices is crucial for productivity and warehouse safety. Pallet rack storage encompasses numerous processes, from proper loading/unloading techniques to load monitoring, warehouse maintenance, and more.

Weight Limits and Load Capacity

Every pallet rack system has a specific capacity rating, and loads must not exceed that capacity limit. If exceeded, a pallet rack system is at risk of beam deflection, leading to hazardous storage conditions or system failure in extreme cases. 

When planning and designing a pallet rack system, understanding load capacity specifications is the key to selecting proper pallet rack components and configurations. To choose the right pallet racking for your application, you need to know the weight and dimensions of your product and loaded pallets.

Rack capacity labels ensure future adherence to the system’s capacity requirements in lieu of warehouse changes like relocations, product rearrangements, or system modifications. Contact us if you would like help with capacity labels or plaques. 

Finally, performing regular inspections and load monitoring ensures continued compliance with the rack’s stated capacity and upholds the safety of products and warehouse personnel.

Loading and Unloading Procedures

Safe loading and unloading begins before a forklift operator even steps foot in the warehouse – it starts with training. Training for warehouse personnel is the first step in ensuring safe loading and unloading and minimizing accidents. Moreover, continued forklift driver evaluations and training can refresh and remind longtime operators of safety practices they may have overlooked after however many years on the job.   

When loading and unloading, forklift operators should check the pallets for damage before lifting or moving them. Slow, steady loading gives the operator more control and time to react. 

Operators should center pallets on the two beams for even weight distribution, careful not to clip the underside of the beam as they lift. Secure stacking and placement prevent beam deflection or falling pallets. 

In safe storage systems, pallets will overhang the edge of the beam by 6 inches on either side. This overhang increases visibility for forklift operators as they access the pallets and prevent pallets from being pushed too far or not far enough into the system.

Warehouse Safety Best Practices

Maintaining clear aisles, sounding forklift horns around corners, and walking only in designated walking paths are all examples of warehouse safety best practices and are mandated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). 

Forklift collisions are responsible for 90% of pallet rack failures. Implementing safe forklift practices is pivotal to whether you run a safe or hazardous warehouse operation. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like reflective vests, hard hats, and safety glasses can increase visibility and protect employees from falling objects or other warehouse hazards. 

Warning signs and labels can increase awareness for employees and guests within a warehouse. Standard warehouse signage warns individuals of falling objects, fire hazards, forklift zones, heavy machinery, electrical components, and PPE-required zones.

Choosing the Right Pallet Rack Components

As previously mentioned, every pallet rack system and component is rated for a specific capacity. It is vital to choose the correct parts for your storage application. At Pallet Rack Now, we offer lightweight pallet racking to heavy-duty pallet racking in many sizes and dimensions. 

Visit our pallet rack dimensions page to get an idea of what pallet racking is available, and call 888-578-1578 for help choosing the right components!

Safety Accessories for Pallet Racking

Safety accessories can bolster pallet racking against forklift damage and prevent falling pallets and other hazards. Rack guards and end protectors absorb forklift impacts instead of the indispensable pallet rack columns.

Safety nets, rack backing, and backstops provide a hard stop for pallets as they are loaded into the system, so forklifts cannot push them off the back of the system.

Other safety accessories include gates and safety rails, fencing, partitions, pallet rack stabilizers like row spacers, wall ties, anchors, safety clips, and shims.

Investing in quality accessories is a must for every warehouse. They enhance overall warehouse safety, reduce the risk of accidents, and prevent minor bumps from becoming catastrophic or deadly pallet rack collapses.

Other Warehouse Safety Considerations

  • Permitting and compliance
  • Routine warehouse inspections
  • Selecting appropriate rack types
  • Warehouse design
  • Future expansion considerations

Pallet racking systems are fantastic space-saving storage solutions, but with warehouse storage comes a heap of do’s and don’ts. 

In summary, DO invest in safety accessories, proper rack components, and warehouse signage. DO provide intensive and ongoing forklift training and consult warehouse design specialists when planning your pallet racking system. 

DON’T overload the racking, use broken pallets, or neglect to use PPE. DON’T block aisles, walk in forklift zones, or ignore OSHA regulations.

If you have questions or concerns about the do’s and don’ts of pallet racking systems, call 888-578-1578 to speak with a pallet rack specialist today! We look forward to assisting you.


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