3 Steps for Preventing a Racking Collapse

It’s your worst warehouse safety nightmare: your racking collapses, crushing several employees underneath.

A number of terrifying thoughts race through your head:

  • How badly are people hurt?
  • How many people got hurt?
  • Why did this happen?
  • Did I overlook something that caused this?
  • How much product is damaged?
  • How will our company deal with the lawsuits?

Rather than wait for a collapse to happen, take the time to understand these common causes of racking collapses…and what you can do to prevent them.

The first one might surprise you:

1. Just a Small Bump Can Cause a Massive Collapse

Your forklift operators must understand that any bump on racked product can lead to a large system collapse.

Even a seemingly minuscule bump can cause this disaster.

Therefore, forklift drivers should never attempt any maneuver to dodge product in your warehouse’s aisles.

They should simply come to a stop, wait for removal of the object, and then drive right down the middle.

Another possible solution to problems like this would be to increase the width of your aisles.

The driver still shouldn’t swerve around objects in the aisle. But a wider aisle could prevent accidents just like the one described.

Swerving to the side to try to squeeze around can result in an impact on racked product.

And even the tiniest impact could cause thousands of pounds of product to come tumbling down.

2. Good Racking Safety

How you store product on your racking system makes a large difference also.

If you’re not doing it properly, that tiny bump from a forklift driver can cause a massive system collapse.

Though he is at fault for the bump, part of the problem can also result from improper racking system usage.

So, your warehouse team needs training on proper racking system use.

This includes understanding load capacity, using visible labels to display that load capacity, using steel protection devices in high-traffic areas, and much more.

3. Increasing Forklift Operator’s Awareness of Their Decisions

Everyone makes mistakes. You’ve certainly had days where it feels like you can do nothing right.

Well, forklift operators are no different. Unfortunately, a small mistake on their part can lead to disastrous results.

So find ways to help your forklift operators keep the potentially horrible consequences of bad driving decisions top of mind.

Perhaps they review what could be bad decisions before they start their shift so they remember what not to do.

Maybe you give your forklift drivers a reward for going so many days without an accident.

Work with your team to get ideas to integrate this into your daily operations.

Warehouse work is one of the most dangerous lines of work in America.

But, it doesn’t need to be at your warehouse if you take safety seriously.

And now you have some of the essentials for keeping your employees safe from racking disasters.