05 Mar Pallet Racking Column Protection – Your Trinity of Protection – RAMGuards – Bollards – Column Guards
“The final thing we should tell you is that many of the local governments are starting to require that you have bollards and column protection.”
If you are looking for pallet racking column protection then you have a choice of what type of product you think will be best for your racks. You have column guards then you have specialty products like RAMguard. Both of them can do the job. However, a proprietary product like RAMguard can possibly give a better chance of deflecting the blow properly. Of course, this means that there is a difference in price between the two products. You will have to make a determination on how much protection you actually want on your pallet racks.
“Notwithstanding, there are angles that you do not want your forklift to be able to make contact with your pallet rack. It is in these places that you can place a bollard.”
We may have gotten ahead of ourselves a little bit here. The truth is is that you could get a form of pallet protection before a forklift can even reach it. Obviously, you do want to leave a space open so that your forklift can access the pallet rack and get the product you need off of the shelving unit. Notwithstanding, there are angles that you do not want your forklift to be able to make contact with your pallet rack. It is in these places that you can place a bollard. A bollard is a safety column that does not allow a vehicle to pass through without sustaining some damage and, hopefully, stopping it altogether. It is because of the law of conservation of mass, mass cannot just disappear, and the fact that most things cannot pass through other things without subtype of deflection or force passed between the moving object and the stationary one. A bollard is one of the best safety items you can get to protect your racks or your people. If you have a walkway for your employees or yourself and you do not wish to have the possibility of an accidental contact from a forklift then you can place bollards around this walkway. The bollards make sure that the chance is far less likely because it will be difficult for the vehicle or forklift to get through them to you or your employees. It is also popular to use these items for stairways. The bollards make it extremely difficult for vehicles to get past them which leaves your people or products safe.
“If bollards are your first line of defense then these items, that provide pallet rack protection, are your last line of defense.”
You will, still, have some openings for forklifts, however. It is because you need to use your forklift to get pallets off of your racks. This opens up the possibility of your rack getting damaged by a stray forklift or improper use of a forklift. A column guard or a proprietary system like a RAMguard can help protect your pallet racks from absorbing the contact. If bollards are your first line of defense then these items, that provide pallet rack protection, are your last line of defense.
The first item we should look at is column guards. Column guards are probably the most common type of pallet rack protection you can find in the marketplace. In fact, there are times when you can find pallet racks for sale that already have them. Keep in mind that, although this sounds like a great idea, it might not be a great idea. It is because an untrained eye may not notice damage that a trained eye might be able to see. Therefore, you could be getting column guards in a pallet rack that have taken a contact but do not look like they did. If that pallet rack has become unstable or taken structural damage then you may have a pallet rack that could possibly harm someone. However, it is always good to get a column guard to protect your pallet rack is much as possible. A rack with a column guard is much more likely to survive accidental contact with a forklift then one without. Of course, this takes into consideration that the contact actually happened on the column guard. If the pallet rack obtained a contact anywhere else but on that column guard then you probably have a damaged pallet rack.
The previous sentence begs a question, “should I cover my pallet rack with column guards?” For safety sake, the answer is yes. However, it might not be very practical in practice. There is a cost associated with getting column guards and, although they are stackable, it may not be what you want to do because of it being costly depending on what stage your business is in right now. We talk a lot about working with a company that is well versed in permit processes and pallet racks and this happens to be another place where their experience can really help you. They should be able to advise you on what you should get as far as column guards. They should also be able to tell you where you should put them, strategically, because they have seen it all before and with other customers where cost was an issue. You could always cover your whole pallet rack but if the cost is an issue then figuring out the points at which you should consider putting a column guard is a good thing.
In particular, RAMguard features a steel plate inside of rubber. It also has specially designed spaces inside of the product that allows it to absorb the impact of contact better than a column guard would.”
The next thing to consider is if you should be getting a column guard or a proprietary system like RAMguard. In general, the proprietary systems are going to be better than column guards at protecting your pallet rack from incidents. It is because of the amount of research and thought put into absorbing blows from wherever they may come. In particular, RAMguard features a steel plate inside of rubber. It also has specially designed spaces inside of the product that allows it to absorb the impact of contact better than a column guard would. Here is a long and short of a column guard versus a proprietary system like a RAMguard. A column guard is a single sheet of metal and a proprietary system, like a RAMguard product, can be metal plus rubber on the outside. A column guard, since it is a single sheet of metal, is, probably, only good for one decent impact. You will likely have to replace it. A RAMguard could, possibly, survive a few. Of course, this all has to do with how hard of a contact it has absorbed. Obviously, any product that is used or that takes some kind of trauma is probably going to give out at some time. However, overall, the RAMguard system is probably going to last you longer and not need to be replaced as soon as a column guard would.
It is not to say that if you have a contact that you can just leave your rack there without inspecting it. Anytime you have a contact with any type of column protection is a time that you should check the pallet rack. Remember, these pallet racks can hold 2500 pounds of weight per shelf level. That is a lot of weight that could be crashing down on you if you are not careful. Therefore, if your rack has taken a contact then you or someone professional should make sure that it is safe for people to be around it. Preferably, you will get somebody to check it out for you because you may not know what you are looking for or a safe way to test the rack to make sure that it is still structurally viable.
The final thing we should tell you is that many of the local governments are starting to require that you have bollards and column protection. It is because there was a recommendation put out by the Rack Manufacturers Institute that said that they recommend bollards and column protection. If the RMI, Rack Manufacturers Institute, speak then local governments tend to listen to their advice. Therefore, it makes sense for you to have the protection in place before you actually need it.
Do you need help figuring out what kind of column protection you need in your business? You can get column guards and RAMguards here. You can call us at 503-447-1284 and talk to us about your needs. We will figure out what type of safety equipment you need in your location for racking permits and safety.