Tips for Forklift Operation Through Pallet Racking Systems
In order to safely and effectively utilize a pallet racking system in a warehouse, it is important to know the best way to maneuver a forklift or other heavy machinery through the racks. Failing to follow good practices can result in injury to employees, damage to stock on the racks, and even destruction of the pallet racking system itself. The following safety and handling practices, designed for forklifts used in conjunction with pallet racking systems, should always be implemented in order to minimize risk and maximize productivity.
Ensure All Drivers are Trained and Licensed
No one should ever drive a vehicle through your warehouse, unless they have gone through all of the proper training and licensing procedures for that specific type of vehicle. Forklift operators should also undergo continued training throughout their employment.
Never Use a Forklift to Raise a Person
An individual should never use a forklift as a means to reach higher levels of the pallet racking system. This means that operators should never lift a fellow employee, and should never raise the forks to be used as a platform to reach elevated items.
Never Climb the Pallet Racking
Forklift operators should also never climb the pallet racking itself, even if they need to reach or adjust merchandise on the shelves. Instead, they should either use the forklift to make adjustments, or use proper climbing equipment for doing so manually.
Only Load Stable Palletized Materials
All materials loaded onto a forklift should be no larger than the pallet, and should be securely wrapped or tied onto the pallet if they are at risk of becoming dislodged. Unsteady materials could potentially fall off of the pallet and injure standing employees, or the employee operating the forklift.
Provide Mirrors to Look Around Corners
In order to allow forklift operators to see around corners, post mirrors at the end of rows of your pallet racking system. Forklift operators should take advantage of this system to ensure that no walking or driving employees are put at risk as they make a turn, or otherwise maneuver through the system.
Match Pallet Racking Configuration with Forklifts
Your pallet racking system should be set up in a way that allows forklifts to pass through with plenty of space on all sides and with clear visibility. This will minimize the chance that a forklift operator might accidentally strike the pallet racking system, merchandise, another vehicle, or a standing or walking employee.