Warehouse storage racks tend to go through a lot when they start to reach capacity, but the work is never done.

Particularly these days due to the influx of orders and products received through ecommerce, a lot of you reading this likely have some pallet racks or wire shelving that are filled to the brim with product and excess stock.

Not only can this be a big hassle to manage and keep track of, it can also begin to present a safety hazard and start to cause strain on your shelves.

If your shelves are fit to burst but you don’t have a lot of places to store excess product, all is not lost. You just need a little imagination and a lot of planning to safely store overflow items without posing a safety risk or damaging your shelves. Here’s what to keep in mind:

 

Understand all posted safety limits

The first step to reaching capacity on your storage shelves is to know what exactly that capacity is. Every storage rack and shelf has an OSHA-required weight limit for a reason, and careful knowledge of these limits will inform the rest of your shelving and storage plans throughout the entire warehouse. Find and review every posted warning and capacity label on every shelf you need to use, and begin a review of what’s being stored on there to see how fast you might hit the limit.

 

Secure all edges

Next, even if your weight limits are being observed, you need to make sure everything is properly placed on the shelves once it actually gets there. Pallet racks, for instance, have a nasty habit of creating overhang if pallets aren’t properly aligned on the shelves themselves and stored correctly. As you check even your highest-capacity shelves, make sure everything is properly aligned with each other to prevent overhang and keep all boxes behind the shelves themselves.

 

Add extra shelves as needed

In many cases, things like bulk storage racks are designed to be modular and can actually be expanded as needed to create extra space when needed. See if your bulk racks can have extra decking installed, and rearrange products as needed to better distribute the weight and stop the whole thing from toppling over.

 

Install security and reinforcements

Even freshly-installed racks and shelves could use a little backup every now and again. For racks that typically carry the heaviest loads, check to make sure you’ve properly installed guard rails, post protectors, and rack protectors to reinforce the frame of your shelves and keep everything upright and safe.

 

Spot-check shelves regularly

Shelves, like any other installation in the warehouse, will need to be inspected frequently for damage or wear to prevent injury or accident. While the list of things that should be inspected can vary according to the specific shelves you use, a few good places to start include:

  • Mounting brackets
  • Floor posts (and mounting bolts)
  • Individual shelves
  • Welds around crucial joints

By spot-checking these parts of every shelf at regular intervals, you can better understand when something is at risk of failure and replace or repair the needed part in time.

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