How to Repair Warehouse Racking 

Damaged racking prior to pallet rack repair service
Damaged racking prior to pallet rack repair service

Damaged racking is a hazard in a warehouse. It poses a variety of safety risks and can impact efficiency and workflow. So repairing damaged rack as soon as possible is crucial. This article will provide a guideline for spotting and fixing damaged racking.

How do you know if racking is damaged?

The best way to determine the condition of racking is to perform a safety inspection. These should occur at least once a year and preferably every six months. It is uncommon for racking to become damaged quickly, but interactions with material handling equipment may cause increased wear and tear over time. 

For example, reach trucks can cause damage to unprotected racking during storage and retrieval events. The base legs of the truck will sometimes maneuver too close to the upright column of the vertical frame. This applies pressure to the column, changing its shape and damaging the anchors attaching racking to the concrete floor.

Minor damage can result in dimpling and slight denting of the column. However, severe damage may cause changes in the shape of upright columns skewing the shape of the rack. When this happens, the column loses its load-bearing strength, which poses safety concerns and may inhibit the use of the racking.

Racking should be reviewed during inspections. Damage to look for includes:

  • Torn metal
  • Anchors are bent or damaged
  • One of the four corners of the column is no longer straight

Repairing vs. replacing

Damaged racking can be fixed in two ways: repairing or replacing. Repairing is typically the popular choice, but the decision depends on the warehouse’s needs.

Repairing rack is the more straightforward and cheaper option. For example, replacing an upright frame involves disassembling the racking on either side. If there are three or four beam levels in the racking, then 12 or 16 beams must be removed before tackling the upright frame. This is a lengthy process and can incur substantial labor costs on top of other expenses, such as the replacement upright frame, equipment rentals, etc.

Replacing rack also requires the shutdown of a large area in the warehouse for an extended period, disrupting other warehouse activities. The racking area will need to be shut down and racking technicians will need to move components in and out of the building. This can challenging in a busy facility, so shutting down the whole operation may be necessary.

Repairing rack is a less disruptive operation. Only a small area needs to be shut down (e.g., an aisle), and repairing rack does not require dismantling the whole column. This makes the process quicker and more efficient, which reduces labor costs and financial loss due to a shutdown. However, rack replacement has its advantages.

Replacement may be beneficial if the warehouse has a surplus of pallet racks and frames. It is also useful when a warehouse is reconfigured rack is moved. Since disassembly is required for this task it is a good time to schedule repairs as well. 

Rack Repair with Lean Inc.

Lean Inc., WarehouseIQ.com’s parent company, offers services and products to assist with rack repair and protection. Below is a step-by-step guide to the repair process.

Step 1: Inspection

Before being able to repair racking, businesses must first be aware of what needs replacing. Workers should be inspecting equipment regularly, but a qualified rack repair specialist should perform annual or semi-annual inspections. Therefore, the first step in repairing damaged racking is to invite Lean Inc. to the warehouse to assess the damage.

The inspection involves filling out a survey, taking detailed measurements and photos, and checking for paint matching. Appointments can be booked using our online calendar.

Step 2: Creating Repair Kits

After the inspection, engineers will analyze data, including:

  • Rack Style
  • Size of column
  • Baseplate size
  • Height and length of rack struts
  • Height of the first beam
  • Height of the rack damage
  • Color of the racking

The data will be used to engineer specialized rack kits that will also be color-matched to blend into the existing beams and uprights.

Step 3: Installation

Installation begins with removing pallets stored on either side of the damaged upright. Next, the upright is secured using Lean Inc.’s hydraulic jack by attaching it above the damaged area for support. The area can then be measured, marked, and cut. Original anchors are also removed from the floor.

Step 4: Replacing the damaged area with the rack repair kit

After the damaged components have been cut and removed, the repair kit is ready to be bolted into place. The original rack is moved to the side, and the upright frame and base are fitted into the existing racking section.

Step 5: Secure the rack repair kit

Next, the rack repair kit is secured to the origin upright using bolts. No welding is necessary. A different anchor pattern is used, making it possible for the repair kit base plate to be anchored to the floor.

Step 6: Protection and Prevention

One of the best ways to avoid damaged racking is to protect it from damage before it occurs. Below are examples of rack protection sold by Lean Inc.

PALLET RACK PROTECTORS FROM RACK ARMOUR

Rack Armour Protectors are guards for racking uprights. Rack Armour is designed to deflect and absorb impact to racking uprights.

You can purchase Pallet Rack Protectors on our website:
Pallet rack protectors from Rack Armour – Upright Protection for Racking

COLUMN AND RACK GUARDS

Column and rack guards protect against forklifts, outriggers, and product impacts. Below is a list of guards available on our website:

What Rack Protection Products Can I Use to Protect My Pallet Rack in My Warehouse? 

damaged racking

Pallet racking in a warehouse is particularly vulnerable to damage from forklifts, so it needs protection so as to minimize damage if it is hit by a truck. 

To that end, learn about rack protection products that can reduce damage by up to 80 per cent.

WHY DO PALLET RACKS NEED PROTECTION?

Pallet racks are used to store large amounts of materials on pallets. Therefore, mishandling or a substantial impact on a pallet rack can cause dents and weaken the integrity of pallet rack uprights and beams. Left unprotected and unrepaired this damage can eventually lead to weakened racking and may result in a catastrophic failure.

Forklifts are typically used or required to move loaded pallets onto the racks. However, forklifts pose several risks in the workplace due to factors such as their large size or decreased visibility when carrying loads in the front. These concerns are prevalent when working with pallet racks, so adding an extra layer of protection can minimize damage to forklifts, workers, and merchandise.   

PALLET RACK PROTECTION PRODUCTS:  

Here is a series of various pallet protection products that can help make your pallet rack collision-resistant.

Pallet protection guards

Rack Armour is a guard for racking uprights. Racking uprights are vertical components at the bottom of racking systems or frames. They are equipped with holes or slots to attach equipment and allow load-supporting beams to be fixed or mounted. Rack Armour is designed to deflect and absorb impact to racking uprights (see image below).

rack armour rack protecion

Rack Armour is made from low maintenance High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is fully recyclable and non-toxic. It also comes in various colours and sizes and is suitable for use in temperatures as low as -40 degrees F (-40 C).  

Contact us for a P.O. or to request more information: [email protected].

Color options include:

  • Hi-Vis yellow (original)
  • Colourfast yellow
  • Safety yellow
  • Glow in the dark
  • Green
  • Orange
  • Red
  • Grey

Learn more about racking upright guards from Rack Armour from the product’s datasheet.

End of Aisle Single Rail Barrier

The End of Aisle Single Rail Barrier is designed to protect racking against multiple impacts while minimizing floor damage and saving maintenance costs. It is beneficial for pallet rack areas to reduce impacts from forklifts and other machinery.

End of Aisle Single Rail Barrier is made from durable HDPE plastic that flexes on impact and reforms shape. As a result, barriers are long-lasting and only need to be replaced after frequent, major impact indents.

End of Aisle Single Rail Barriers come in three colours, including:

  • Colourfast yellow and grey
  • Hi-Vis Yellow and blue
  • Safety yellow and grey

Learn more about End of Aisle Single Rail Barriers at the links below:

End of Aisle Double Rail Barriers

End of Aisle Double Rail Barriers provide the same features and benefits as the single rail barriers but help improve visibility for machine handling equipment operators with the addition of a second rail.

To learn more about this product, below:

What is Protection Bollard?

Bollards are protective posts designed to get the attention of drivers in designated areas. This helps prevent accidents and protect workers and property. Rack Group’s Protection Bollards add strength and presence to corners, structures, and entryways in warehouses and other storage and distribution workplaces.

The Protection Bollard is made from HDPE plastic, with a steel core for long-lasting protection. It helps absorb impact while minimizing floor damage. The bollards come in three colours:

  • Colourfast yellow and grey
  • Hi-Vis Yellow and blue
  • Safety yellow and grey

Check out the links below to learn more about Protection Bollards:

OTHER INDUSTRIAL IMPACT PROTECTION PRODUCTS:

What is a Bumper Barrier?

Bumper barriers provide a layer of protection between warehouse machinery (e.g., forklifts) and equipment (e.g., shelving and racking). Bumper barriers come in two varieties:

Both types are low-level barriers designed to minimize impact from the bumpers of machinery. The Double Bumper Barrier also improves visibility with the second bumper.

The bumper barriers are made from strong and durable plastic (HDPE) that flexes on impact and reforms its shape. Each variety has three colour options:

  • Colourfast yellow and grey
  • Hi-Vis Yellow and blue
  • Safety yellow and grey

What is a Pedestrian Barrier?

Pedestrian barriers separate and protect workers on the floor from machine handling equipment and operators. These barriers are designed to alert operators of pedestrian areas and negate or minimize accidents or impacts before they happen. The Rack Group has three pedestrian barrier varieties. These include:

All barriers are made from durable plastic (HDPE) and come in three colour options:

  • Colourfast yellow and grey
  • Hi-Vis Yellow and blue
  • Safety yellow and grey

What is a safety gate?

Safety gates provide easy access to floor workers and pedestrian areas and are a protective addition to pedestrian barrier systems.

The gates are made from durable plastic (HDPE) and come in three colour varieties:

  • Colourfast yellow and grey
  • Hi-Vis Yellow and blue
  • Safety yellow and grey

Learn more about this product at the links below:

What is a Floor Rail Bumper?

Floor Rail Bumpers provide a subtle layer of protection to the bottoms of shelving and racking. These bumpers are strong, durable, and designed to minimize impact from the bumpers of machine handling equipment.

The Floor Rail Bumpers are made from HDPE plastic and come in three colour options:

  • Colourfast yellow and grey
  • Hi-Vis Yellow and blue
  • Safety yellow and grey

Learn more about Floor Rail Bumpers below:

Tips for Warehouse Loading Dock Safety

warehouse loading dock

Loading docks are one of the most integral parts of the warehouse with high levels of traffic. However, they also present hazards to employees and transportation vendors, with approximately 25 per cent of reported warehouse injuries occurring at loading docks. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve safety without sacrificing efficiency. Below are seven tips to enhance loading dock safety.  

WHY ARE LOADING DOCKS DANGEROUS? 

A loading dock, or loading bay, is a warehouse area where goods are loaded and unloaded. One of the main hazards in this area is the frequent use of large equipment and machinery, such as forklifts, trucks, and trailers. Loading docks are also subjected to different weather conditions that make the area slippery and increase fall risk. These hazards must also be managed in a fast-paced environment. For these reasons, keeping loading docks safe can be challenging, but it is crucial to help ensure workers are safe and keep warehouse procedures running smoothly.

LOADING DOCK SAFETY TIPS 

Identify and remove potential hazards

Loading docks have inert risks that cannot be avoided completely. However, being aware of these risks, having access to proper equipment (e.g., PPE), and understanding how risk can be minimized or prevented can help reduce accident rates.

For example, it is crucial to keep the loading area clean and clear. This improves efficiency and minimizes the chances of tripping or falling. Loading docks are subjected to various weather conditions that can make the area slippery or dirty, so it is essential to have cleaning equipment readily available and ensure employees keep the site clean and dry.

Keeping the floors clean includes ensuring floors are free of garbage (be sure to hang a rack sack resuable trash bag on your racking) , packaging, tools, spills, etc. Having signage warning employees about potentially wet or cluttered floors can be helpful.

Signage can also inform employees of the dock edges, forklift or truck lanes, equipment organization, etc. Proper maintenance of the loading dock is also essential. Broken, cracked, or uneven flooring can cause workers to trip or fall and pose safety risks to machine operators.

Examples of other loading dock hazards include:

  • Falling off dock edges
  • Unsecured dock plates
  • Illnesses from inhaling carbon monoxide from trucks
  • Reckless driving
  • Not correctly disposing of combustible trash (e.g., oily rags)
  • Exceeding weight or capacity limits

Ensure proper training

Proper training is crucial to loading dock safety. Loading docks often have many employees coming in and out of the area, along with different types of large machinery. Much of these jobs require extensive training to ensure employees know how to properly do their jobs and work safely with or alongside others.

For example, forklifts are frequently used on loading docks. These are large pieces of equipment that pose a risk to operators (e.g., turnovers) and coworkers (e.g., collisions), and around 75 to 100 people are killed each year in forklift-related incidents. However, many of these incidents result from improper training of operators. Therefore, ensuring employees are trained and certified can reduce accidents and injuries significantly.

Use correct loading and unloading procedures

Another common loading dock hazard is injuries resulting from improper loading and unloading of items.

One of the main tasks on a loading dock is receiving or shipping out items, which involves frequent lifting and handling. However, improper lifting and handling can cause overexertion, muscle injuries, and musculoskeletal disorders. Therefore, employees must be adequately trained on loading and unloading protocols.

For example, using forklifts or dollies to lift items whenever possible minimizes the chance of worker-related lifting injuries, such as muscle strain or sprain. If workers must lift an item, they must receive proper ergonomic and task-specific training (e.g., lifting with their legs instead of their back). Proper loading and unloading procedures also extend to the use of equipment (e.g., overloading of a forklift can cause a turnover).  

Safeguarding dock doors

The dock door is one of the more dangerous areas of the loading dock. Much of the loading and unloading takes place and is the point of contact between the warehouse and the outside. Fortunately, equipment and technology can help make this area safer for employees.

One example is dock door seals or shelters. Weather conditions can cause additional safety concerns, such as dirty or slippery floors. Seals or shelters can shield docks from rain or snow, making floors safer and cleaner.

Keeping dock plates in place is also important. Dock plates bridge the gap between the truck or trailer and the dock. This helps ensure workers or machine operators can safely load and unload items. If dock plates are not secured, they may fall, causing injury to workers or damage to goods. Ensuring items do not exceed load capacity is also important. 

Dock gap guards are also useful. The product covers the gap between the edge of the dock plate and the dock door frame opening. This can reduce foot and ankle injuries caused by stepping into the opening.

Other types of safeguarding can include signage, vehicle restraints, bumpers, barriers, guards, gates, etc.

Control traffic

Dock guard gap plates

There are many workers on foot and using machinery on a loading dock. This increases the risk for specific hazards such as collisions to occur. However, strategies can be implemented to reduce these risks. For example, designating walking and machinery lanes can minimize the chance of collision and improve traffic flow. Signage can also denote areas where machine operators frequent, so they know to be more vigilant in those areas. Having workers on foot wearing reflective clothing can be another layer of protection.

BECOME A DISTRIBUTOR FOR DOCK GAP GUARD

Become a distributor and resell the dock gap guard to your customers. We will drop ship to them and provide you with a commission. Contact us at [email protected] to inquire with us now.

CONSUMERS – BUY NOW – DOCK GAP GUARD

To buy a pair of Dock Gap Guards for your warehouse dock, click here.

DOCK GAP GUARD BROCHURE

Download the brochure by clicking here.

DOCK GAP GUARD BROCHURE IMAGE
Click image to download the brochure of the Dock Gap Guard

WATCH VIDEO – DOCK GAP GUARD

Click image to watch the video.

What is a safety bollard?

safety bollards

Bollards have been around for hundreds of years, keeping people, businesses, and buildings safe. These are particularly useful safety accessories in high-risk settings, such as a warehouse, but can be used in a variety of ways in business. Learn more about safety bollards and their uses below.

WHAT IS A SAFETY BOLLARD?

A bollard is a sturdy post installed as a protective barrier for a designated area. It is designed to get the attention of drivers and block vehicles from accessing restricted or pedestrian areas. Doing this helps prevent accidents and protect people and property. However, this was not their original purpose.

BRIEF HISTORY OF BOLLARDS

Bollards can be dated back thousands of years, with some of the oldest examples from the Roman empire. These were used for tethering or as milestones along the road. In the 17th and 18th centuries, bollards were used to assist with tying up boats on the dock. These were made from decommissioned cannon barrels half-buried in the ground.

The use of bollards for traffic purposes began in the 18th and 19th Centuries, with posts being installed for traffic management. An example of this is the two oak posts set up in Hertfordshire in 1721 to protect the area from damages done by carriages. Bollards were also found in Amsterdam in the early 1800s for the same purpose. Residents installed decorative iron posts in front of their homes and businesses to prevent property damage. Eventually, the city installed cast iron bollards to outline pedestrian areas.

As vehicles evolved to become more heavy and powerful, so did the design and purpose of bollards. They can be used as a decorative element and found along wharves but mainly for safety and protection.

PURPOSE OF BOLLARDS

The primary purpose of bollards is for safety and protection. However, this can be achieved in different ways.

One way would be a permanent or temporary barrier for traffic or pedestrian areas. An example of this is commonly seen in parking lots. In many parking lots, there are designated parking spaces and pedestrian walkways. Bollards are installed in these areas to protect people walking or working from oncoming traffic. These are often larger or sturdier and designed to stop or reduce the impact of a car when hitting them. Therefore, they are found in areas where people congregate, such as store entrances or outdoor work areas.

Temporary bollards can also be used to control site access temporarily. For example, there may be a situation where a road is open to cars during the weekday and pedestrians on the weekend. During the weekend, removable or collapsible bollards can be placed on the road so that vehicles cannot enter, but people can.

Another way bollards can promote safety is by providing awareness. Some bollards are not capable of stopping vehicle traffic. But can be used to warn vehicles or pedestrians that they cannot enter a particular area. These may have bright colors or designs to get the driver’s attention or relay a message.

Bollards can also be multi-functional. For example, bollards installed to block off a walking or biking area could have built-in lights. This creates a barrier and improves visibility. Designing bollards to accommodate bike locking would also be helpful in these areas.

TYPES OF BOLLARDS

There are several applications for bollards. Below are common examples and uses.

  • Traffic line or street bollards. These are used to guide traffic without impacting visibility or pedestrian access. These are typically permanent and used with other traffic methods, such as speed bumps.
  • Pedestrian bollards. These are used mainly for decoration or to guide pedestrians in walking spaces. However, they can also be used to discourage access to certain areas (e.g., blocking off a flower field in a park).
  • Construction bollards. These are temporary posts to protect construction areas and workers from traffic. It is common for bollards to be brightly colored or have reflective properties.
  • Security bollards. These are used to guide traffic but made to withstand or resist vehicle impact. For this reason, they are often made from steel, concrete, or other strong materials. And found in public spaces, such as schools, stores, public squares, etc.
  • Bike lane security and separation. These are installed to separate cyclists from other vehicles on the road or pedestrians walking in the area.  
  • Protecting building components. Bollards can be installed in areas where people are working or fragile building components are exposed. An example would be gas and water meters or hydrogen fueling equipment.  
  • Ram-raid protection. A ram-raid involves a vehicle driving through the window or doors of a closed shop so that burglars can loot it. Bollards can be installed to prevent this and make the storefront safer for customers.
  • Asset protection. Bollards can also be installed inside a store or business. These can protect assets or equipment, such as refrigerators, racks, shelving, ATMs, etc. This can protect assets from damage from forklifts, pickers, dollies, electronic cleaning equipment, and more within a warehouse.
  • Worker protection. Bollards are useful in workspaces such as warehouses to outline areas of machine traffic (e.g., forklifts). It can also block off areas where it is unsafe for machinery traffic. This helps create awareness and improve safety for operators and other workers working in the same area. 

What are OSHA Warehouse Safety Guidelines?

osha health and safety

Working in a warehouse comes with many potential dangers. However, many of these can be prevented or reduced by understanding and implementing proper health and safety protocols. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created guidelines to ensure businesses are aware of potential hazards and following procedures to protect the health and well-being of workers. Learn more about the common warehouse-related risks and solutions below. 

COMMON WAREHOUSE SAFETY CONCERNS 

The fatal injury rate in warehouses is higher than the national average in all industries. This is because there are many potential hazards in a warehouse. Common hazards and solutions are discussed in detail below. However, some general safety guidelines outlined by OSHA include: 

  • Blocking off areas where an employee can fall 4 feet or more or walk off (e.g., docks) 
  • Clearing floors and aisles of clutter and other hazards that could cause an employee to slip, trip, or fall 
  • Factoring proper work practices into time requirements for performing a task 
  • Providing adequate rest breaks to avoid fatigue in employees performing physical work 
  • Providing ergonomic and task-specific training to new employees 
  • Ensuring proper ventilation in the warehouse. 
  • Instructing employees on how to avoid heat stress in hot or humid environments 
  • Instructing employees on how to properly work in cold environments 
  • Implementing lockout/Tagout procedures 

FORKLIFT INJURIES 

Forklifts are one of the most common hazards in the warehouse industry. Around 100 employees are killed and 95,000 injured each year from forklift-related incidents, with about 25 per cent of those fatalities coming from turnovers (a term OSHA uses where a forklift tips over). 

Ways to reduce forklift-related injuries include: 

  • Ensuring proper training and certification for drivers
  • Keeping up with the maintenance of all parts 
  • Assessing potential risks in areas where forklifts will be used 
  • Following safety procedures and protocols (e.g., wearing a seatbelt) 
  • Prohibiting horseplay or stunt driving  
  • Installing covers or guardrails 
  • Maintain safe clearances and provide signage on docks (e.g., warnings for dock edges). 

HAZARD COMMUNICATION

There are many hazardous chemicals and substances used in the workplace. Therefore, employees must know how to use and store these substances properly and what to do when an accident occurs. 

Ways to ensure good hazard communication include: 

  • Maintaining a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for all chemicals used in the facility 
  • Ensuring employees are aware of the risk associated with different chemicals and how properly handle and store them 
  • Having proper signage 
  • Providing clean-up kits and equipment (e.g., eyewash station) and instructions on how to use them 
  • Providing and enforcing the proper usage of personal protective equipment 
  • Prohibiting smoking and open flames in areas where chemicals are used 
  • Having adequate ventilation 
  • Ensuring fire extinguishers are available and charged  

ELECTRICAL WIRING METHODS  

Workers sometimes overlook electrical hazards, but anyone working around machines that conduct or generate electricity is at risk. However, one of the most common sources of electrical hazards is wiring. This is because wires are found frequently within a facility and are at a higher risk of wear and tear. Wires can also easily become exposed or overloaded, leading to electrocution or fires. 

Ways to reduce electrical hazards include: 

  • Ensuring proper grounding and insulation 
  • Providing ground fault circuit interrupters 
  • Ensuring only qualified personnel are working with electrical equipment 
  • Proper signage and visual warnings 
  • Ensuring proper ventilation (e.g., reducing dampness in areas with electrical equipment or ensuring equipment can handle these conditions) 
  • Prohibiting the use of metal equipment in areas that are exposed to energized parts of equipment, fixtures, or circuit conductors 
  • Frequent inspection, replacement, and fixing of frayed or exposed wires 
  • Minimizing wire overcrowding or tangling 
  • Putting up barriers to prevent runaway pallets, forklifts, or carts in areas with electrical equipment 

RESPIRATORY HAZARDS 

Warehouse employees may be required to work in areas with harmful fumes or insufficient oxygen. Exposure to these conditions can cause respiratory issues, diseases, cancers, or death. Therefore, it is crucial that workers are aware of potential respiratory risks and provided with the necessary equipment or tools to protect themselves from unsafe air conditions. This can be done by: 

  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) 
  • Training workers on how to correctly use and store PPE 
  • Removal of contaminants from the air 
  • Installing or providing workers with respirators, air filters, or air purifiers 
  • Informing workers of potential respiratory risks 
  • Keeping up to date MSDSs (particularly with chemicals that can cause respiratory issues) 

FALL HAZARDS 

Improper material storage or equipment increases the risk of items falling, resulting in damaged goods or injuries to those working in the area. Fall hazards can be reduced by: 

  • Installing guardrails and railings 
  • Installing safety nets 
  • Stacking loads evenly and straight 
  • Placing heavier items on lower shelves 
  • Keeping aisles clear and in good condition 
  • Removing one object at a time 
  • Proper maintenance of racks and shelving 

POOR ERGONOMICS 

Lifting and handling items is a standard job in warehouses. However, doing so improperly, overexertion or repetitive motions can cause muscle injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. These risks can be reduced by: 

  • Minimizing the need for lifting and handling when possible 
  • Providing ergonomic and task-specific training 
  • Reducing lifts from higher heights 
  • Asking for assistance and providing help with larger loads
  • Using your legs and keeping your back in a neutral position when lifting
  • Keeping floors clean and free of slip or trip hazards
  • Not twisting to turn when carrying a load

Complete list of hazards and solutions can be found in the OSHA warehouse pocket guide.