Pallet Rack Safety: Don't Let Your Workers Become Statistics


Statistics on forklift injuries are staggering, making pallet rack safety a major concern at plants, warehouses, and distribution centers. Can guardrails help? Steel King experts say yes. Every year, forklift accidents account for thousands of serious injuries and dozens of deaths in industrial facilities—statistics show that 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 seriously injured yearly in such accidents. OSHA estimates that 95,000 workers suffer injuries involving powered industrial trucks yearly, resulting in lost work time, workers’ compensation claims, and productivity losses.

Installation of heavy-duty steel guardrails is essential to prevent employee injuries, and is probably the best investment an operation can make. “Any company with any sort of industrial traffic greatly benefits from protection of personnel against forklift or other motorized traffic,” says Jay Anderson, president of Steel King industries, a leading manufacturer of material handling systems, warehouse storage systems, pallet rack systems, and flow storage systems. “This would include a broad spectrum of operations, including warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities.”

Strength is a prime concern in the choosing and implementation of guardrails. Steel King’s Steel Guard meets and exceeds requirements for most installations. The company has optimized its protective aspects; its rugged specs include a 14”-high, 3-ribbed design in 11 gauge corrugated steel—the most rigid rail currently available—utilizing 3 bolts at each end for mounting on 4-inch square ¼-inch thick heavy-duty structural steel columns which are then bolted to the floor.

Savings from installation of rails can’t be underestimated when considering prevention of injuries, worker compensation claims, and lost production time. The return-on-investment extends to prevention of material damage from fork truck collisions with other equipment and merchandise, reducing or eliminating equipment damage and loss, inventory losses and building damage. Rail systems create a visual and physical barrier and protect worker areas, aisles, mezzanines, in-plant offices, building walls, pallet rack aisle ends, conveyors, inventory areas, pedestrian aisles, loading docks, electrical panels, HVAC equipment, and more.

Guard rails are customizable to needed lengths and can be single-rail or double-rail in height. In addition to the standard bolted-to-post system, an optional lift-out/drop-in rail system can maintain accessibility to material or equipment while providing uninterrupted protection.

To optimize strength, different post types are available depending on their utilization. The standard center post is used as an end or interior post; the standard corner post is used to make a 90-degree bend in a run of a railing; a center post with end offset is usually used as an end post where flush design is desired; a center post with side offset can be used as an in-line post where flush design is desired; a reinforcing post is used to reinforce longer rails; and a corner post with standard offset is used to make a 90-degree bend in a run of railing with rail flush to outside of the baseplate.

Steel Guard rails have a prefabricated pre-punched baseplate and pretapped connection holes, and require no on-site cutting, welding, core drilling or painting. All hardware and top caps are included with posts. Systems can be easily installed by facility personnel. With proper attention to pallet rack safety, Steel King Steel Guard rails are the best investment you can make in prevention of costly damage to both personnel and material in industrial facilities.

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