Today, warehouses are under a lot of pressure to be flexible with their floor space, and the more floor space available equals more flexibility when it comes to accommodating product booms, particularly during seasonal changes. Many warehouses have started using pick modules, rack support platforms, and raised work platforms to increase productivity and capacity in picking zones.
Safety Concerns When Using Elevated Work Platforms
When loading and unloading items from elevated work platforms in a warehouse that is configured in this way, you should exercise caution in order to prevent injury. Goods can fall from high platforms, posing a risk to forklift drivers and the personnel who perform their duties while moving around the warehouse. Managers of warehouses should think about fall prevention strategies that will help safeguard employees.
Guardrails are a possibility for preventative measures. Guardrails along walkways or around the perimeter of high platforms can safeguard workers from falling goods. However, guardrails aren’t a perfect solution as they can end up getting in the way of forklifts trying to replenish the stock on the shelves. Delivering goods to a pallet drop zone at an aisle-side ledge is how most forklift operators carry out replenishment operations and the presence of a fixed guardrail in this area can make this difficult.
Other Safety Equipment
A different option would be to use equipment that can be temporarily removed to allow for shelf refilling.
The best safety solution for securing warehouse workers from falling objects from elevated platforms are Vestil Steel Expand A-Gates. The alternatives must be equivalent in strength and similar to a guardrail configuration with fixed rails, but are movable. Options may consist of:
- Chains or a detachable guardrail segment.
- Shields against falling objects. For example, a double-hung safety gate, etc.
- A temporary security device with a proper support structure, such as a lift-out, sliding, swinging or rotating gate.
Additionally, industrial shelving pick modules, industrial racking pick modules, freestanding work platforms and decked-over platforms are permitted under the rule that governs the use of steps, ladders and edge guards for use with material handling structures.
More specifically, the following items can be used in this situation:
- Safety gates with one-way swinging openings or two connected protective barriers with sliding, pivoting, rising or lowering motions.
- Personal fall-protection structures that are built into removable guardrail sections.
- Pallet drop zones with detachable cables or chains. Among these there should be personal fall protection structures.
A training program for forklift operators who handle loading and unloading from regions that can create a hazard is another step to look at to ensure the safety of people and structures. Teaching forklift drivers how to warn other workers when they are operating overhead is also important. Also, beams at elevated drop zones can be painted red or yellow to ensure that pedestrian workers can spot these areas.
These are some of the many options to increase the safety when using elevated work platforms. It is important to evaluate your warehouse to select the best options for it and implement them to protect your workers.
- Posted by WiserTech Solutions
- On October 29, 2022