Your pallet racking system will play a pivotal role in the success of your warehouse or storage facility. When used correctly, it will improve efficiency and productivity and give you a foundation to build and streamline your supply chain. However, to make the most of your investment you need to avoid the common pallet racking mistakes that often occur in the early stages of warehouse development. We look at some of these below to give you some pointers on what to look out for.

Exceeding weight limits

Even if storage space is limited, the load capacity of each racking unit should also be kept in mind to avoid overloading the system. Placing too much weight onto the system can cause irreparable damage to the frame that can lead to a collapse occurring at any time – which puts staff in immediate danger.

Team members should all be aware of the load capacity to avoid this happening and as a reminder, the load capacity of each shelf should also be clearly on display. Place the heaviest loads or pallets at the bottom towards the back of each shelf so the system is not top heavy and potentially weakened.

Not attending to damage

It is unavoidable that a racking system will eventually show signs of wear and tear and certain parts will need to be repaired or replaced. When you become aware of any damaged parts they should not be ignored as the structural integrity of the entire system is put at risk.
If forklifts are used in your facility, collisions with racking will occasionally happen and you can add barriers to soften the blow for both the racking and machinery involved. Any damaged equipment should be reported right away and then inspected to assess if any repairs or replacements are required. Regular inspections should also be carried out during the year as this ensures that anything missed is identified and reviewed.

Climbing pallet racking

Most warehouses have pallet racking or shelving systems that store items that are not easy to reach using manual methods. During busy periods it can be tempting for staff to quickly climb the racking to reach a product that is on the top shelf, rather than using the appropriate equipment for the task.

However, staff should always use safety steps, ladders and other equipment to access items placed at this level, as climbing the racking can lead to the collapse of the system or even staff falling and suffering an accident. Appropriate safety training for staff can help negate this happening, letting them know the potential consequences of climbing racking so they can make better decisions in such a situation.

Buying used pallet racking

While there are more benefits that come with buying new pallet racking systems, second-hand systems can still prove useful, although you need to do more research before you spend. Pallet racking systems can prove to be expensive, so it is understandable why start-ups and small businesses look for a cheaper alternative. But you must ensure you buy from a reputable seller and do the necessary checks to ensure the system is in good enough condition for use.

Buying a used pallet racking system that is damaged or showing signs of too much wear and tear can pose more danger for your staff and the items you store. Always examine the system in person, looking at every aspect of the structure, including shelving, support blocks, joints and beams, while examining for rust and corroded parts.

Not considering your equipment

When you are shopping around for a new pallet racking system you also need to consider any existing equipment you currently use in your facility. The two will work hand-in-hand together, so while a storage system may tick all the right boxes, unless it can be supported by your equipment it could affect the efficiency and productivity of your operation.

Not all forklifts will work with every type of racking system, so if using this equipment is essential to the way you work, make it one of your main start points. You’ll need to ensure the equipment is able to safely reach all areas of the system to avoid your existing fleet of forklifts and other retrieving tools are not made redundant and in need of being replaced.

Limiting expansion plans

When you are looking around for pallet racking systems you also need to consider the possibility that as you grow as a business you will also need more storage. If you invest in a system that is only suitable for today with no consideration of the future, you could face the situation of having to buy a brand-new system a few years down the line.

Before you buy a racking system you should find out whether it can be expanded and its compatibility with other types of racking. Whether buying first or second-hand racking, always make sure you use a reputable company to ensure you can contact them if you need repairs, maintenance or help with expansion at a later stage.

Unprotected racking

As we mentioned above, if you use forklifts in your warehouse, it is inevitable that there will be collisions and scrapes at some point. Even the most experienced forklift drivers have accidents due to the constricted nature of most warehouse layouts. Whether it’s a forklift clipping the edge of an aisle or something more serious, it can still cause substantial damage and preventative measures should be put in place.

While training can help to some degree, accidents will still happen, so installing physical preventative measures will also help. For example, angle post protectors are a low-cost option that will divert the force of the impact to either side of the frame. Light or heavy-duty frame end guards will offer stronger protection against forklifts and other heavy-duty machinery. Or you could look at narrow aisle guard rails for particularly tight spaces and corner post protectors that are bolted to the ground and are useful for protecting against forklift knocks.