Shelving in the workplace is a tricky thing to get just right – particularly in the warehouse or store room.
You want to make the most out of every last inch of space you have, but you also need to make sure that the shelving is fit for purpose when it comes to safety – here is our guide to help you get it right.
Health and safety
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does have regulations or guidelines for safe shelving and racking in industrial sites – these differ depending on the type of storage solution and the size, as well as the location type.
It can be very easy to fall into the trap of securing your racking against an adjacent wall – after all, there should be much-improved stability and very little chance of the racking falling over.
Unfortunately, this is often done without making some basic checks as to the integrity and strength of the wall – you could potentially be placing a load of several tonnes of goods on it, and if it is not capable of supporting that kind of weight (particularly at the connection points) then you could bring the whole building down very quickly.
Secure to the floor
Most, if not all, racking should be secured to the floor as part of the installation process. Don’t skip this step, the floor bolts will be the key thing that stops the racking from falling over in the event of a knock or a rough load with a forklift.
As part of your routine maintenance, you should inspect these bolts to make sure that they are not lifting away from the ground, are not rusting and are generally still in good shape.
You will also need to make sure that the floor is strong enough to support the weight of the storage when fully loaded, that the ground is suitable for holding the bolts, and that it is as level and even as can be (levelling plates are good for slight slopes or unevenness).
Your racks and shelves should all be clearly marked with the maximum load capacity – for individual shelves and for the total unit.
This will reduce the chances of them becoming overladen, which can cause shelf or rack breakages and the accompanying spill of goods (potentially onto your operator).
Space your racks
Making the most of your space can lead you to bringing racks closer together and making the aisles narrower.
This is actually a good tip, but it needs some care and thought – if you have forklift trucks or pallet wagons moving your goods around, will they still be able to manoeuvre effectively?
They will need to be able to make 90 degree turns within the aisle while fully laden, without coming into contact with either of the racking stacks – so measure up and make sure that there are no issues.
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