Warehouse owners are often so focused on maximizing the space they have available that they fail to consider whether or not their warehouse space is a safe space. While boosting space is vital for the bottom line, providing a safe working environment is actually more important. It is definitely something you should be devoting time to.
If your warehouse racking system has been in place for a long time, there is a very real risk that it could have become weak or damaged over the years. This means that the risk of collapse increases. Heaven forbid your racking system were to collapse, the best-case scenario would be facing damage to products; at the very worst, it could result in the serious injury or even death of a staff member. It should therefore be a priority, and your responsibility as owner and/or operator of the warehouse, to ensure the warehouse storage racks are in prime condition at all times.
Implementing Regular Inspection Schedules
Speedrack West, a company based in Oregon and specializes in warehouse racking systems, advises warehouse owners and managers to implement a regular inspection of storage racks. This will ensure that any racks that have been damaged can be identified sooner rather than later and action can be quickly taken to either repair or replace these items. A monthly or weekly (if your product inventory has a high turnover) schedule is typically the norm. During these inspections, it is crucial to check not only the steel structure but also the pins and bolts holding everything together.
Create a Safer Environment
As well as monitoring the warehouse racking on a regular basis, consider the current layout of the warehouse. There might have been a temptation to squeeze as many racks into the available space as possible, but without sufficient clearance space for workers and machinery, such as pallet jacks or forklifts, there is a much greater risk of damage to the racks.
Providing more aisle space means that your workers will find it easier to access the products they need to and the risk of accident or damage to storage racks will decrease. As a business owner trying to maximize every inch of warehouse space possible, the idea of creating more aisle space might seem anathema to you, but you are almost guaranteed to see an increase in productivity if you do.
Guidelines for Safer Working Practices
On top of implementing a regular inspection schedule, look at putting some safer working practices in place. Employees should be advised to be on the lookout for any damage to the warehouse racking system and if they do notice anything untoward to report it immediately. Any damage caused by forklift drivers should also be reported immediately.
At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to repair or replace damaged elements of your racking system immediately. Failure to do so could be catastrophic.
Do You Need a New System?
Now that you know how to ensure your warehouse is safer for employees, it is worth taking time to do a full inspection of your facility and your current system. If your warehouse storage system has been in place for a long time and regular inspections have not been the norm, you might want to consider investing in brand new racking, especially if you notice quite a bit of damage to the present structure and supports, which can happen with time as well as from abuse and misuse.
A safe working environment is extremely important, and experts say that within a warehouse, one of the most important elements to maintain in good working order is the racking system.