Five Tips For Safer Stacking In The Warehouse
It’s almost funny—for all the talk there is about safe storage in the warehouse, sometimes the only option for certain items is simply to stack them all up.
Obviously, this needs to be done with a degree of care and safety, but for a lot of pallets and bulkier items the only real option is to stack them on top of each other until they need to be retrieved down the road.
As you can imagine, this needs to be done as carefully as possible. Items that get stacked need to be treated with safety and care to ensure nobody gets hurt and nothing gets damaged while in storage, but this can be a trickier proposition than you may think. If this is something you’ve encountered lately, here are five quick tips to help you stack everything safer and straighter:
Always stack heavier goods on the bottom: It’s common sense but it bears repeating. By keeping your lightest items on top, you can stop them from getting accidentally crushed and stop the stacks from tipping over due to imbalanced loads.
Observe all height limits: Whether you’re putting your stacks directly on the ground or keeping them on pallet racks, make sure all posted height limits are being carefully obeyed. Many pallets will have a limit to how tall they can be stacked (or how many items can be kept on them) that needs to be followed at every step of the way to prevent damage to the items or the pallet shelves you keep them on.
Identify and use the right stacking method for each item: Stacking pallets is a more nuanced process than you may have initially expected. While the approaches and techniques can vary based on need, there’s generally four methods that are used:
- Block stacking: items stacked up in a block, strapped down with wire or plastic shrink wrap (this may be the most common method seen in most warehouses)
- Brick stacking: after being wrapped and sealed down, each stack level is then rotated 90 degrees to help maintain stability in the event something is accidentally bumped
- Pinwheel stacking: similar to brick stacking, but entire quadrants of items (not just each individual level) are rotated 90 degrees to better lock them into place
- Plywood stacking: generally used for irregularly shaped items for additional stability, sheets of plywood are added between each individual layer of goods to ensure everything sits flat
Stack every item according to type and material: Most items will have their own extra steps that need to be taken after stacking. For example, any stored lumber needs to be double-checked for things like nails and tacks to prevent possible injury and damage if they collide with something. Longer items like pipes or poles need to be stored upright due to their length or kept on cantilever racks that can help the entire item lay down safely.
Always look for loose materials and damaged pallets: Finally, even after the items are stacked, the job isn’t quite done. Keep an eye on your pallets, both old and new, to prevent damage and splinters, and make sure that everything you store is secured tightly and stays in place despite shifting goods and movement around the warehouse.