Warehouse racking is a huge investment for any business, and like most expensive purchases (cars, houses and so on) it requires maintenance to keep it not only in good condition, but safe, and to keep it performing the way it did when you originally bought it.

There are many ways for racking to weaken over time. In our experience, the most common cause comes from mistreatment of the racking. Stories we hear frequently are things like forklift incidents not being reported, incompetent employees who require additional and ongoing training and miscalculations on load ratings, resulting in overloading of the racking.

The consequences for not investing the time and money to look after your pallet racking can be at best, annoying, and at worst, a huge cost to the business. At the very worst, in can result in injury or death.

So what can you do to ensure you, your staff and your business stays as safe and productive as possible?


 

These are our Top 3 recommendations.

Frequent checks by a professional

Damaged racking is a liability and although you would probably rather ignore the problem as it can be costly, the price tag should something go wrong far outweigh the costs of identifying an issue and fixing it early. Schedule regular maintenance checks of your racking by a trusted professional. Most importantly, once issues are noted, quick replacement and/or repair is critical. Remember, inspections should not only check for damage to the racking, but also if the pallets are within their recommended work load weights.

Staff monitoring and coaching

Frequent coaching is a must for any warehouse workplace, this is often easier said than done. Budgets often don't stretch to training and/or time doesn't allow for it. But neglecting training can result in high staff turnover, competent or an unhappy workplace.

Watch your staff perform their jobs regularly and give feedback often on where they can improve. For larger business, a structured warehouse training program might be beneficial. Stay up to date with Worksafe requirements and keep a log of all employees forklift licences, including when they are nearing expiration. Ensure renewals are kept up to date and competencies monitored.

It is important to create an environment of trust, not fear, in the workplace. Unfortunately accidents are often not reported because the employees are worried they will be punished for their error. Although we agree that there should be consequences for repeat offenders, creating a work environment where staff try to avoid reporting an incident can create huge issues in the long run, not to mention major repercussions for your business. Performance manage when needed, but also understand that accidents happen.

Avoid Clutter in the Workplace

Warehouses are busy places and we have seen a driver under pressure swerve to miss a misplaced pallet more than we would like to admit. This often results in fork drivers swiping the racking, and when in a hurry, a driver may not even notice they have swiped the rack, or may fail to report it. Make sure the aisles stay free of clutter and monitor workspaces regularly. Ideally a housekeeping regime should be enforced. The most organised warehouses we have seen will ensure there is a certain time allocated at the end of each shift/day that is for cleaning only.

We understand warehouses are busy places and it is easy to get swept up in the everyday tasks and interruptions, so proper planning is paramount when it comes to maintaining safety and standards in your workplace. At the start of every year, or month (whatever works best for your business) take the time out to plan key dates that cannot be missed, such as safety checks, training sessions and licence checks. A small amount of planning can prevent a whole lot of headaches in the long run.