Why We Protect:
When our children get on bikes, we protect them with helmets. When we buy a new cell phone, we put a case on it to protect it. We even put wax on our vehicles to protect the paint job on them.
We spend a lot of time and money every day of our lives protecting our investments. So why not do the same to items that might fly under the radar, such as pallet racking or warehouse supply chain items? They are still investments, they still cost money, and we should treat them with care.
The truth is, it’s wise to protect your pallet racking and similar. In fact, pallet racking can cost you upwards of $300 per pallet position, and can add up when you’re configuring an entire warehouse. So why leave it exposed and unprotected for inevitable accidents to happen? And yes, “inevitable” is a key word here.
Key Areas to Protect:
There are several ways your pallet racking can (and will) get damaged in the workplace. The most common is forklift mishaps. Forklifts can be very damaging to pallet racking by backing into the racking, hitting the rack with the forks, hitting the rack with the pallet, and all kinds of other ways. Once the racking is damaged (bent or otherwise compromised), it becomes a serious concern for everyone, including employees.
Pallet racking can hold large amounts of weight, the kind of weight you don’t want hovering above equipment and employees’ heads with uncertainty in the structural integrity of your racking. As I stated earlier, racking and equipment aren’t cheap, and warehouse catastrophes aren’t either!
With this being said, there are areas that are more liable to get damaged than others. For example, the first 48” from the floor of your supporting posts; the first 12” to 24” of the post at each bay; and lastly, the end of the aisles. Those are the areas that get whacked a lot (and whacked is an accurate word for that!)
Types Of Protection
They’re several types of protection products made by several different brands, such as Rhino Safety Products, that are made directly to fit your pallet racks.
End of aisle protectors, or EAP’s are made to protect the end of the aisle from any ground-level equipment. Pallet jacks and forklifts turning, etc.
Deflectors are by far the most versatile protection option. Deflectors can be mounted to any part of the racking in order to deflect objects that might come in contact with the racking, such as the pallet itself or the forks on a forklift.
Post protectors, v-nose protectors, and steel guide angles are all forms of ground level, in-aisle, protection. Post protectors will protect the bottom of the supporting posts, from the floor up to around 24”. V-nose protectors do the same, however they protrude out from the post roughly 2”-3” and can withstand a larger direct impact due to their “V” shape. V-nose protectors only extend up roughly 4”-6”. Lastly, steel guide angles are made to run the full length of your aisle, protecting everything in the aisle from the floor to around 6” up. They are made to deflect any equipment or objects that are straying outside of the aisle.
Sizing and Duty
No matter what size your rack, the protection areas are generally the same, so most warehouse racking protection comes in standard sizes. Although these standard sizes primarily fit most racking due to industry standards, sometimes odd dimensions, locations, and shapes can seem impossible to fit. This is where custom sizing and production comes into play.
As mentioned earlier, Rhino Safety Products is a great choice for these scenarios. They can manufacture any fit or size needed. Different instances call for different strengths. Thickness is a key part in choosing your protection. You need to make sure your protective gear is strong enough to take the impacts it is designed to withstand. Always be aware of what thickness material you are ordering.
Bottom line, if you are going to have a fully functioning supply chain operation that stands the test of time, you will need to put in some precautionary measures. Spending the extra money on protection will save you a lot more money in the long run. Rack protection is easily accessible and inexpensive, so do yourself a favor and protect your investment!