Tips on Pallet Racking

Pallet racking is common method of storing goods and cargo, particularly a significant number of large and/or heavy items. Often used in warehouses, factories, and farms world, a good system can make a big difference. Want the basics? Racking is a storage system that involves cargo on pallets being stored on racks. Read on for some great tips!

Proper racking is very important to the efficiency and safety of any operation. What should you take into consideration when it comes to your property?

Some important tips on pallet racking to keep in mind is to consider the load. What are you planning on storing? This will have a bearing on whether you would select:

  • light-duty pallet racking (load does not exceed 660 pounds)
  • medium-duty pallet racking (load is between 660 and 1,320 pounds)
  • heavy-duty pallet racking (load is more than 1,320 pounds)

The capacity of the pallet racks corresponds to the load it will be bearing. The weight of the cargo on each shelf should never exceed the maximum capacity. Never overload your shelving, even if the rack seems to be able to bear it. When considering load or capacity, you need ensure that your pallet racking is not “top-heavy”. Lighter cargo should be placed on top (high), and heavier cargo should be placed on the bottom (low). Proper distribution of weight will make storage and handling safer for you and your team.

Types of Pallet Racking Systems

There are many different types of systems available to consider:

  • load/capacity: as mentioned, choose pallet racks based on what you need to store—light-duty for lighter loads/cargo, heavy-duty for heavier loads/cargo, etc.
  • standard pallet racking systems: basic pallet racks
  • drive-in systems: also known as drive-through, high-density storage; can increase pallet storage and maximize space by eliminating aisles
  • pushback racking systems: helps store more in less space by increasing the density of the storage system, maximizing warehouse space, and increasing pallet count
  • carton-flow racking systems: designed for high-volume order picking with reduced operator activity; used for order accuracy; common with conveyor systems
  • gravity-flow racking systems: manufactured with rollers and use gravity to “feed” pallets to their positions; some are designed to hold up to 20 pallets deep within a single storage lane
  • cantilever pallet racking systems: common in steel factories and lumberyards; also known as “furniture racks”; ideal for the storage of long, continuous items
  • mezzanine flooring racking systems: use existing square footage and overhead space to maximize warehouse space

Other Pallet Racking Safety Tips

Safety should be a top priority when it comes to pallet racking. Here are some other pallet racking safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Maintain awareness of all potential hazards in the pallet racking area/areas; this can include falling objects (cargo, pallets, and pallet components), ladders, spills, trip hazards, and forklifts
  • Trip hazards: Regularly inspect pallet racking areas and keep an eye out for trip hazards, such as pieces of broken wooden pallet pieces, pallet strapping, cardboard, shrink wrapping, paper, etc; pick up and discard trip hazards
  • Forklifts:
    • Only certified forklift operators should operate forklifts
    • Stay alert when working in pallet racking areas where forklifts and/or pallet trucks are in operation
    • Stay away from areas where forklifts are in frequent use
  • Regularly inspect for damaged racking. Immediately report any damages and do not attempt to fix yourself if you aren’t trained
  • Regularly inspect pallet racking for falling object hazards; report immediately
  • Do not stand on or climb pallet racking shelves
  • Ensure pallet jack and racks are used only for their intended use
  • Consider having a professional engineer inspect your pallet racking system ever year

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