12 Sep Pallet Racking Protectors: How Can You Protect Your Pallet Racking from Disaster?
If you have seen any of the disturbing videos of warehouse pallet racking crashing down after taking a hit from a forklift, then you know something about the need for warehouse pallet racking protectors.
However, knowing you need pallet racking protection and knowing what type of protection you need are two different matters. This article will explain what pallet column guards do and answer some of the frequently asked questions we get about these essential safety products.
The First Line of Defense: Warehouse Bollard Posts and Guard Rails
While you definitely want protection on your pallet racking itself, it would be better to avoid any sort of collision in the first place. Bollards are posts that are anchored into the ground, and make it difficult for equipment like a forklift to access a certain area, or to get too close to your racking in the wrong places. Bollards can come in standard and heavy-duty versions, and can be used to provide space to protect equipment, doorways, racks, or people in common walking areas.
In addition to bollard posts, you may choose to install full pallet rack guard rails around key areas, like around your pallet racking or conveyer belts. Guard rails perform the same function as bollard posts, but create more of a “fence” around the protected area for more coverage and to be seen more easily.
Pallet Racking Protectors: What are Column Pallet Racking Guards?
In a fast-paced warehouse environment, forklift bumps and jolts to your pallet racks are inevitable. However, this repeated impact can compromise your racking system’s structural integrity, possibly leading to product damage and worker injury.
Column guards, also called column protectors or post protectors, provide steel-reinforced protection at the base of the rack uprights. These guards are available in bolt-to-column and bolt-to-floor styles and a range of sizes and heights.
Are Column Pallet Racking Guards Effective?
Column guards protect your racking systems and prolong their lifespan. By protecting your uprights with a racking guard, you are minimizing the chances of damage. However, any system will fail if the impact is hard enough.
The ability of a column guard to protect your racking depends on how it is made and other factors, the speed and force of the object that hits it, and how often it has been hit.
Can You Stack Multiple Column Pallet Racking Guards?
Yes, you can stack many of the bolt-on versions of column guards on top of each other to increase the layers of protection.
What Are the Different Types of Pallet Racking Protectors?
There are three main types of column guards:
- Metal Column Guards. Metal column guards can either be bolted to the upright or anchored to the concrete floor. Metal column guards do provide some protection, but they do not absorb much impact. Instead, these guards merely transfer the force of the crash into the concrete or into the pallet rack itself.
When a metal column guard is hit with a forklift, the upright is often damaged where the bolts connect the column guard to the upright. Metal guards can either protect a single frame post, or span the width of your pallet racking shelves with a full pallet rack guard.
- Plastic Column Guards. Plastic column guards strap or snap onto a pallet rack upright. Some plastic guards are filled with air to act as plastic airbags. Plastic column guards absorb a limited amount of impact, but they are no real match for a quickly moving forklift.
Some plastic column guards bounce back after impact, regaining their shape. However, the plastic often cracks or becomes permanently dented.
- Rubber Column Guards. Rubber column guards are constructed of a combination of steel and rubber that is highly effective at sustaining impacts. These guards can be stacked on top of each other for additional protection. One such guard that we recommend is the RAMguard column protector, which uses rubber-armored metal, and is discussed below.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pallet Racking Protectors
Do Local Governments Require Column Protection?
Yes, many local building ordinances require that you have bollards and column protection for your warehouse racking. The Rack Manufacturers Institute also recommends bollards and column protection.
How Can You Tell If Your Pallet Racking Is Damaged?
Sometimes a damaged rack may not show outward signs of structural trouble. Therefore, you should routinely inspect your safety pins and safety clips. If a column guard shows signs of damage, it needs to be replaced. Any contact between a forklift and a column protection device is good time to 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.
What is the Best Type of Column Pallet Racking Guard?
Installing any kind of pallet rack protection is better than having no protection at all. But our experience has shown us that the RAMGuard offers the best protection.
The RAMGuard column protectors have a combination of tough impact-absorbing rubber and an internal steel plate, which often can absorb multiple impacts.
To learn more about pallet column guards and pallet racking safety in general, please give us a call at Speedrack West for a free consultation. Your safety is our business.