Safe Picking for Heavy Items On Pallet Racks

Whether it’s a huge pallet of individual items or one big bulky part that takes up space and strains your back, pallet racks can find themselves serving as the home for a lot of larger items.

And even if the pallet racks themselves are doing all the ‘heavy lifting’ (pardon to pun) when it comes to storing and retaining these items, they don’t do it all on their own, and someone must be there to stock and pick these items as needed.

When it comes to heavy items, extra safety measures should be taken to ensure nobody gets injured and nothing gets damaged while the items are in transit. Here’s a few ways we’ve found to make moving and transporting your heaviest items onto pallet racks safer than before:

Save heaviest items for the floor

In a lot of cases, you can safely store the bulkiest goods on the floor below the lowest pallet rack deck to save space and make transport easier. If you have enough space between the lower deck and the floor to fit heavier items (or additional surplus items that don’t need to be stored any higher) this is a good way to save a little space and time when you load up your pallet racks. This does, however, require a few more safety precautions than other items—you need to make sure you provide pallet jacks or pallet dollies to help reduce back strain for your workers.

Install safety guards

Pallet rack safety panels are an absolute must when dealing with the heavier items in your shop. Particularly in cases where the heavier items don’t need to get picked as often (for parts that aren’t frequently used, for example, or bulk storage of a lot of smaller goods) these safety panels can help prevent overhang and reduce the risk of injury by bumping into a rack or knocking a heavy item off a shelf – which can be a nightmare for any warehouse manager.

Check (and double-check) blocking materials

Most heavy items aren’t going to be shipped pre-palletized, which means most of your larger goods must be shrink-wrapped and palletised when they get there. In cases like this, you need to make sure that the blocking materials you use aren’t splintered or dry rotted, and when placing the blocking material down you need to make sure that the loads are not released before everyone’s hands have been safely moved.

Add handles

In a lot of cases, the containers your heavy items come in (especially if they’re still boxed up on arrival) will not have safe handles or grips on the side, but this is easily rectified. Make sure to keep additional handles on hand whether they be plastic handles that need to be drilled in or rope cords that you can wrap around the entire pallet, these handles can go a long way towards easier movement and better posture for your workers.

Practice and enforce safe handling procedures

Finally, making sure your workers know the safest and most ergonomic lifting strategies for any given item is crucial for improving safety and reducing the risk of accident. Take the time to train your staff on proper lifting posture for any number of items you stock and follow all OSH guidelines for lifting and moving. Make sure you also follow, enforce, and post all weight and balance guidelines provided by the manufacturer for whatever shelves you use.