In a battle of forklift vs pallet rack, we’d put our money on the forklift every time. While collisions are often unavoidable, some are severe enough to disrupt your warehouse. Learn how to keep your operation going and repair the potential issues upfront. There’s an easier solution to the repair or replace conundrum.

If you’re looking to spare yourself the cost and inconvenience of a damaged pallet rack, heed these eight essential prevention tips.

Choose Proper Racking by Capacity & Style

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Whether you’ve moved to a new warehouse or need to replace a previously damaged pallet rack, make sure you understand the critical nature of your upright frames and beams. Many uprights have built-in damage resistance thanks to their high-capacity structure, making them less vulnerable to collision damage. Be prepared for a bit more upfront cost, but keep in mind it’s much less than replacing an entire rack due to collapse.

Invest in Rack Protection

No matter how vigilant you and your staff are, it’s probable your racks will sustain a hit. However, the impact can be greatly reduced with an end of aisle or low profile rack guard or column protector.

Increase Rack Visibility

Driver visibility is a crucial component of keeping your pallet racks safe from damage. In addition to proper lighting, you can also employ strategically placed mirrors to both rack and vehicle to increase visibility.

Ensure Aisle Clearance

Of course, this increased visibility is moot if aisles are riddled with clutter. For drivers to effectively navigate the aisles, clear pallet stacks and ensure the full aisle width is reserved for forklifts.

Adhere to Loading Tolerances

You can post clearly defined load tolerances on all your racks until your hands are raw. But if drivers aren’t advised to balance and stack loads properly, you could still be in trouble. Your heaviest pallets are best supported by uprights (don’t hesitate to reinforce when necessary). Other heavy loads are better stored on your rack’s lower level.

Conduct Driver Training

Still, all the posted load tolerances in the world won’t make up for a lack of driver training. It’s your first line of defense when preventing rack damage. Trainings should be specific to their section of the warehouse (to include the racking system and forklift they’ll operate) and more general. Basics can easily passed down the line by having drivers complete an OSHA-approved safety course on an annual basis.

Decrease Speed Limits

One easy way to curtail damage is to clearly and definitively reduce the driver speed limits while on the floor. Much like the open road, by encouraging drivers to be more aware of their speeds, you can reduce the number of collisions in your warehouse.

Implement Rack Inspections

Pallet racks sustain damage from a number of causes, not just forklift damage. Be it overloaded racks, faulty equipment or user error, your racks are sure to sustain some wear and tear over the course of their life. Conduct regular rack inspections to catch potential damage before it becomes a costly or dangerous issue.

Still concerned about pallet rack safety hazards? Contact us to speak with one of our expert staff who can schedule a time to conduct a warehouse inspection based on OSHA regulations.