Whether for workers or inventory, falling items are one of the most common (and greatest) safety risks in a warehouse.

There’s many opportunities for accidents, between the amount of products stored above worker’s heads on pallet racks and wire shelving, and the completely human (but still unfortunate) tendency not to practice safe reaching procedures when dealing with heavy goods stored up high. Making sure your products and inventory are as fall-proof as possible will go a long way towards preventing injury, damage, and loss across your entire warehouse.

Taking steps to prevent falls isn’t difficult, but it may be more involved than you first expect. Here’s a few things to look out for when trying to optimize your warehouse for proper height and fall prevention:

 

Follow all manufacturer’s guidelines

One of the easiest ways to lessen the risk of falls is to make sure each storage rack or shelf is being used according to manufacturer’s specifications. This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many pallet racks or shelves in the world aren’t being used as designed in regards to weight limits, shelf dimensions, and so on. No matter what you’re storing up there, make sure to carefully inspect the dimensions and requirements of your shelf to make sure you’re storing the correct amount of items (both in quantity and weight) and with the correct spacing every time.

 

Leave a little elbow room

One of the easiest ways to prevent falls is to make sure nothing is sitting near the edge of your shelf and that there’s enough room for everything. National fire codes require a minimum 6” flue spacing between loads on a shelf, and more should be given wherever possible. This may require your workers to make a few more trips to the shelves, but the increase in work will be more than made up for by the reduction of falling hazards.

 

Inspect all of your racks when possible

Even if all of your pallets are correctly spaced according to federal and manufacturer’s requirements, pallet racks require regular inspection, maintenance, and upkeep just like any other warehouse installation. To better lessen the risk of a shelf breaking down and sending its load crashing to the floor, make sure all uprights, shelves, and fastening hardware are inspected on a regular maintenance schedule and replaced immediately when needed.

 

Properly label all safety requirements and shelving limits

A great way to quickly reduce the risk of falls and prevent damage to your shelves is to keep the manufacturer’s specified weight limits posted clearly so everyone knows when a shelf is hitting its limits. Post capacity labels (using shelf label holders where able) on the front of each shelf to make sure your workers understand when a shelf is near capacity and know when not to overload a rack.

 

Install extra protection

In extreme cases, or in situations where overloading a shelf is harder to avoid due to issues like awkward inventory sizes or unusual pallet slats, installing industrial guard rails can be a quick and easy way to reduce the risk of warehouse overhang and stop items from dropping off shelves.

 

Proper training and guidance

Finally, even if your shelves themselves are as optimized and safe as possible, you’re going to want to make sure your workers know how to use them correctly. Take time to train your floor staff on things like proper lifting posture, weight limits, and storage usage—no matter how rudimentary any of it may seem. Sometimes the one thing that can prevent an accident at work is skilled workers who know what to do to prevent them, and regular training on these procedures can make all the difference.

Leave a Reply