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Warehouse safety is a major topic when it comes to occupational safety regulation. OSHA takes its regulations very seriously, and if it finds your warehouse in violation of rules relating to the use of pallet racking equipment safety, you’re in for a bad time.
What can get you in trouble with OSHA when it comes to how you handle your pallet racking systems? Here are four of the biggest problems that OSHA has come across in the past that have led to violations and fines. Keep these in mind, and other pallet rack safety regulations and best practices, and you’ll be in better shape.
Pallet racks need to be installed properly in order to be used safely. Failing to anchor posts and braces properly, or not to the specifications of the racking system’s manufacturers, can lead to a number of problems.
Even a perfectly stacked load can cause a poorly-installed pallet rack to fail, sometimes spectacularly, and this means not only thousands of dollars in damages but the possibility of serious or even fatal injuries to workers from a collapsing pallet rack.
It’s not rare for equipment to get damaged in warehouse settings. This goes double for pallet racking that is constantly in contact with forklifts (see forklift safety training). Whether it’s damage to horizontal cross braces that support pallets or the posts that hold up the racking themselves, forklifts can cause a lot of damage. Even small dings and dents can result in the strength of the pallet rack being compromised, so repairing damage in a timely manner is an absolute must to avoid incidents from occurring.
Sometimes it might seem quicker and easier to repair a damaged pallet rack using inappropriate or unapproved methods. An example of this would be replacing a damaged crossmember with a piece of steel that workers may have handy, holding it in place with non-standard fasteners. Non-engineered modifications such as these are inherently unsafe, and if an OSHA investigation or inspection finds you’ve been doing as such, you will be found in violation.
Overloading a properly installed rack is unlikely to cause a collapse. That being said, improperly installed pallet racks, or those who have been repaired using unapproved methods, are most certainly a danger. Either way, maximum loads for pallet racking systems should be posted clearly at all times in order to prevent the kind of overloading-related rack damage that can lead to racking failures and employee injuries.
Keeping your warehouse pallet racking in good condition requires both an ongoing investment in proper repair and replacement as well as a commitment to safety above all else, including productivity if necessary.
Keeping these requirements in mind will make it easy for you to abide by OSHA regulations and keep your warehouse safe and free of incident as much as possible.
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