Pallet racks are an ideal warehouse storage and handling solution: they increase organization, optimize storage space, and are customizable to fit virtually any storage need. However, due to the everyday wear and tear they endure, pallet rack damage is a common occurrence in warehouses—but poor installation and ignored routine maintenance can further amplify safety risks.
This is why a maintenance manager has the responsibility to prioritize warehouse safety and protect its assets and workers from accidents involving faulty pallet racks. Scheduling routine safety checks as part of your preventative maintenance strategy and making repairs when needed can be your key to drastically minimizing these risks!
Pallet Rack Repair and Maintenance is Essential for Employee and Asset Safety
Pallet rack maintenance may often be overlooked, but it is vital that warehouse managers regularly check and repair storage systems just like they would high-value machinery such as forklifts. One of the worst ways warehouse rack effectiveness and safety is diminished is by ignoring maintenance issues. For example, using a damaged racking system can cause the entire structure to collapse, which can destroy inventory and seriously injure your workers. Additionally, pallet racks with loose bolts, unbalanced shelving levels, or a malfunctioning vertical reciprocating conveyor (VRC) can cause debris to fall onto an innocent passersby.
How can these disasters be avoided? Preventative maintenance is crucial for pallet rack safety and smooth warehouse operations. It also lowers long-term warehouse costs by preventing damage to your valuable equipment and inventory, minimizing the risk of employee injuries that can lead to higher workers’ compensation premiums, and helping you avoid making more costly major repairs down the line.
Pallet Rack Repair and Maintenance is Part of OSHA Compliance
Prioritizing pallet rack safety isn’t just something you should be doing—it is also a legal necessity. Warehouses must adhere to OSHA regulations outlining the proper warehouse rack safety measures. If you are not in compliance, you can face hefty fees and even legal ramifications. Here are three of the most common citations given to warehouse employers for failing to follow OSHA’s regulations:
- Not having rack columns securely anchored to the floor;
- Load ratings not being clearly present on racking; and
- Using a damaged rack.
Simple routine safety checks and preventative pallet rack repairs can identify and solve these problems before they result in an OSHA violation or injury. Another critical aspect of meeting these regulations for warehouse storage safety standards is installing the proper pallet rack safety tools. Some of these safety tools include guardrails, bollards, rack netting, wire mesh rack backing and decking, pallet support bars, punch decking, column protectors, and rack end guards. A warehouse service technician can help you install these additional safety measures, as well as check their continued effectiveness during your routine maintenance checks.
What Should Rack Safety Checks Include?
During routine rack safety checks, a warehouse service technician will survey for any potential damage to ensure the pallet rack is structurally sound and operating efficiently. If there are any current damages that need to be addressed now or issues that are likely to arise soon, they will notify maintenance managers so they can proactively schedule the necessary repairs. Your rack safety checks should ensure that:
- Every rack is securely anchored to the floor to increase stability and avoid horizontal displacement;
- Safety clips and locks are properly installed to prevent dislodged pallet rack beams;
- The pallet rack allows for enough clearance space when loading or unloading assets;
- Inventory is evenly distributed onto the storage system;
- The pallet rack is not overloaded, which can be determined by checking that beam connectors are parallel at an upright angle and racking braces are not bent, diagonal, or horizontal.
By understanding the importance of pallet rack safety and prioritizing routine maintenance now, you can avoid costly and harmful accidents later.
At Southern States Enterprises, we provide assistance when it comes to identifying and installing the right racking system for your warehouse, as well as planned maintenance programs for long-term efficiency and safety. Our maintenance programs are customizable for your facility and its needs, and once our inspections are completed, you will receive a written report of our findings and recommendations for corrective rack repair actions.
To learn more about our products, technologies, and service solutions to help you achieve your warehouse goals today, reach out to one of our experts!