No matter what you are storing, it is important that these heavy items be properly stored to ensure your facility is adhering to its highest safety standards. This means choosing the right shelves for the right job, and ensuring the shelving is properly secured. You should also consider choosing the optimal layout for the items being stored.
Securing the Shelving
When trying to determine the right shelving for your facility, you should first outline what is going to be stored. Are they small pieces, like hardware or fasteners that will need individual bins? Are they bulkier items that need shelf space, like hand tools or boxed items? Knowing this will help you to determine which kinds of shelves will best suit your needs. There are many options available, including wire shelving for lighter loads, rivet or steel shelving for your industrial settings, and pallet racks which have a load capacity of over 19,000 pounds.
Based on the shelving you choose; you may need to secure them using brackets. Shelf supports like brackets come in many different sizes and designs. The most significant difference between the available options is determining how heavy a load they can support. For heavier loads, it is important to make sure that the bracket you choose can support the amount of weight you will be storing.
The hardware you choose for your shelf supports also play a role in how much weight they will be able to support. If you need to fasten to concrete or stone, be sure to purchase hardware designed for those materials. Follow the instructions on how shallow or deep the fasteners need to penetrate into the wall; if the fasteners are not staked in at the proper depth, your supports may not be as effective as they should be.
Where Does It Go?
Aside from choosing the right shelves and supports, knowing the proper way to stack the shelves is important for having a safe and effective storage system.
First, be sure that the shelves themselves are not obstructing any exits, aisles, corners or passageways. Next, be sure to design your storage plan in such a way that all items have a place within the shelving, and that nothing is left to the side or in the way.
Choosing the best place for your heavy items will help make your storage area a safer place to work. Heavy items should always be placed closer to the bottom of the shelving—always on the lower levels—with the lighter items on top. They should also be easier to reach, without having to move other items out of the way to get them. Avoid storing items by the edge of the shelving. Push items back on the shelves to create a better ledge. This helps prevent accidental drops and falls of shelf-end items.
Pallets require a special kind of shelving that is sturdy enough to handle extremely heavy loads. Aside from choosing the correct shelves to support your load, the safety of your warehouse will also depend on proper stacking techniques. Some materials have specific storage regulations that will need to be adhered to, while others require specific stacking methods to prevent collapsing.
No matter what material you are storing in your pallet racks, a smart design can mean better and safer practices within your facility. Visual cues, such as floor tape or labeling, can show employees where things go and in which manner. Designating maximum heights or weights can prevent accidents or items from collapsing. Additionally, as with all other shelving, keeping the aisles clear is a must.
Your Shelves, the Right Way
Safety is important to you. Not only do you want to keep your workers safe, but you don’t want to lose valuable time and products in an avoidable shelving accident. As with so many of your best safety practices, pre-planning is the key. Knowing what is going on your shelves can help you determine which shelves and supports are right for you. Integrating simple techniques to store your heavy items in the correct way can prevent unwanted accidents and injuries. You may not think too much about your shelves, but the right choice in shelving is just as important in the choices you make for what goes on them.
Please Note: The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This publication is not a substitute for review of the current applicable government regulations and standards specific to your location and business activity, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.