Guide to the safe use of Shelving, Racking and Pallets | Workplace Equipment & Safety Blog | PARRSWorkplace Equipment & Safety Blog | PARRS Guide to the safe use of Shelving, Racking and Pallets | Workplace Equipment & Safety Blog | PARRS
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Guide to the safe use of Shelving, Racking and Pallets

Shelving is typically used within businesses for storage purposes in warehouses and factories. This allows manual handling operations to run smoothly and efficiently, as racking units and shelving are used to move goods from one location to another. When operating shelving, racking or pallets, it is important to ensure they are used safely and checked regularly. Keep reading to learn all the safety checks and procedures you should follow when using and installing your business’s shelving, racking and pallets. 

Safety measures for shelving and racking

Shelving and racking must suit their purpose, including maintenance and installation. Ensuring that you follow the following safety measures for shelving and racking is crucial for safety, and failure to comply could result in a serious workplace injury. 

Follow these measures to ensure you are operating to the highest safety standard. 

Flooring level

When installing and operating shelving and racking, you should ensure that the flooring the installation is on is level. This will ensure the weight balance of the structure and the goods it holds are balanced and secure. If your flooring is not level, this could result in your structure tipping and landing on the person operating or employees passing through. 

Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions

You should follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions when setting up your shelving or racking. This information is vital when creating a structure, as it will provide important insights into the structure’s integrity and how it should be assembled. Failure to follow these instructions could result in the racking or shelving being assembled incorrectly, impacting the structure’s integrity and causing it to malfunction. 

Fix shelving or racking to a wall 

As shelving and racking hold a lot of weight when stocking goods, having as much integrity and security as possible is important. Many manufacturers will recommend that you fix shelving and racking to a wall to enhance the structure. Walls can help support the shelving and racking, so fixing any structures to a wall is important for added strength. 

Add safety ladders

Shelving and racking can reach substantial heights; it is, therefore, important to install safety ladders to the structures. This will ensure that operators use the shelving and racking correctly and minimise any chance of injury. 

Space units evenly

Ensure your units are spaced evenly to ensure enough access space for staff and mechanical handling equipment (such as a forklift truck) to pass through. If your units are spaced too close to one another, this can limit movement when handling goods, resulting in incorrect handling and potential injury.

Alignment, overhang and maximum loads

Your racking and shelving should only hold the maximum load outlined by the supplier. If you overload your racking or shelving, this could result in a collapsed structure and serious injury. You should also ensure that no goods overhang from the structure, as this is a hazard that could fall onto an employee. Ensuring that the alignment of the structure is level is also important, as if the level is slightly out and goods are positioned towards a certain side, the structure could tip. 

Employees wear PPE

Employees who operate machinery to load goods onto shelving or racking should wear appropriate personal protective equipment. This could include anything from a hard hat to a hi-vis jacket for their protection in case of an accident. 

Stack your goods correctly

Stacking your items onto your racking or shelving is important, and all employees should place the heaviest items at the bottom where possible. This will ensure that injuries are reduced and that the workplace safety precautions of your business are up to scratch. Placing heavier items lower to the ground makes them less likely to fall and cause harm. When stacking your goods on shelving and racking, you should also consider how frequently operators will use them. If your employees use an item frequently, make sure that this is placed in an accessible way and not above head height. 

Regular checks

You should regularly check your shelving and racking structures for any signs of damage. This could include physical or chemical damage depending on the environment, weight loads, structure age, and usage frequency.    

Safety measures for using pallets with racking units 

When operating pallets with racking units, keeping safety standards in mind is important to reduce the risk of injury. There are several things that you shouldn’t do when using pallets with racking units, which include: 

Incorrect capacity load

Ensure that the pallet you use within the racking unit can hold the weight attached to it. Using a pallet that doesn’t have the correct weight-bearing capabilities for your goods could result in items falling and pallets snapping, which could result in injury. 

Don’t use poorly designed or damaged pallets

Using pallets that are damaged or poorly designed to hold and store goods on a racking unit could also cause injury. Ensuring that the structure of a pallet is secure when on a racking unit is vital to ensure that goods don’t fall and break from the unit. You should take care of your pallets and keep checking them for any signs of damage.

Using the wrong type of pallet for your unit

Ensure you are using the correct type of pallet for your racking unit. This extends further to the goods or chemicals you may store on your pallet. Storing chemicals on an unsuitable pallet can cause it to become damaged and hazardous. 

Great choice of Shelving at PARRS

PARRS offer a wide range of shelving and racking for you and your business, whether you are searching for light or medium-duty shelving for your office space, galvanised steel shelving or plastic shelving for your cold stores, archive shelving for storing old documents and record or heavy duty pallet racking for your warehouse, you will find it here. Keeping your business equipment organised is easy with the right shelving; choose from various storage solutions at PARRS.

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