How Can Warehouse Racking Improve Workplace Safety?

Employee safety in warehouse environments is always of the utmost importance.

While on-the-job accidents will always happen, with proper safety measures it is possible to minimise the risk and prevalence of workplace accidents in warehouse environments.

Employee safety in warehouse environments is always of the utmost importance. Each year in Australia, thousands of warehouse employees are injured on the job as a result of forklift accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and accidents resulting from warehouse racking.

While on-the-job accidents will always happen, with proper safety measures it is possible to minimise the risk and prevalence of workplace accidents in warehouse environments.

How can this be achieved?

This is a question that the structural design team at Colby Storage Solutions spent some time trying to answer. After much thought, rigorous trials and testing, Colby came up with an ergonomic, safety enhancing, rack protection system that can increase workplace safety in busy warehouse environments.

Colby Protect-a-RACK is a range of rack guards that have been proven to enhance OH&S standards in workplaces. Rigorous trials and consumer feedback have shown that our revolutionary heavy-duty protectors improve employee’s safety, damage to racking systems due to wear and tear is drastically reduced, and of course, warehouse operations have been improved.

Features of Colby Protect-a-RACK

The Colby Protect-a-RACK system is manufactured from heavy-duty steel and its versatile design fits any type of racking. Plus, its streamlined design maximises clear bay entry and reduces the risk of rack related workplace accidents.

How Do Cleverly Designed Warehouse Racks Reduce the Risk of Accidents?

Even the best forklift drivers have accidental collisions with racking. Regardless of how heavy-duty the storage shelves and racking system may be, and how minimal the initial damage may appear, impact damage can weaken the overall strength of the racking system, compromising its load bearing capacity and potentially putting both life and property at risk.

This is why the Colby Protect-a-RACK system has been designed with tapered surfaces to deflect forklift impacts and simplify bay entry. This means that forklift drivers will be less likely to have a collision with the racking system, and if they do, the racking protectors are equipped to withstand extra pressure or damage from forklift accidents.


Are There Other Racking Systems or Protectors That Improve Warehouse Safety?

The patented Colby-Protect-a-RACK system isn’t the only warehouse solution from Colby that has been designed with safety and minimising forklift collisions in mind.

The heavy-duty ColbyRACK UU-Beam is another product that has been designed to minimise forklift damage to racking systems in high-volume distribution centres.

This UU-Beam’s innovative design increases frontal impact resistance by over 200%, virtually eliminating damage, significantly reducing maintenance costs, and improving OH&S.

Your Colby Storage Solutions System can also be fitted with Rear Upright Protectors, which will protect the front side of storage racking uprights by eliminating catch points as pallets are being placed into or retrieved from the storage system, and deflect any forklift impact forces. This reduces the risk of damage, as well as any accidents.

Another revolutionary safety-enhancing product from Colby is the Retrofit Pallet Guide that increases safety for forklift operators when removing and putting away pallets in high storage levels in warehouses and distribution centres.

The new Retrofit Pallet Guide was designed by Dematic’s structural engineering specialists after calls from its customers, including a major retailer and 3PL, for a solution that would minimise incidents where pallets and cartons fall from heights.

The pallet guide solution is primarily intended to be retrofit to single deep selective racking. While the use of pallet guides is common in double deep racking, they have rarely been used in single deep racking. However, their potential safety benefits are starting to be recognised because pallet guides provide a visual cue that encourages forklift operators to slow down and align pallets more accurately.

What sets the new Colby Retrofit Pallet Guide apart from other solutions is that it can be installed onto existing selective racking beams, avoiding the expense and inconvenience of changing over to new, cleated beams. The pallet guides are also a simple option for storing European pallets on Australian racking and can be relocated within a warehouse as storage needs change.

“Worker safety is becoming more important for Australian businesses, particularly those that operate busy facilities with pickers and forklifts in close proximity,” said Dr. Paul Berry, Senior Structural Engineer at Dematic.

Safe Warehouse Racking in Action

Leading Australian home appliance manufacturer, Breville, recently relocated to a new, purpose-built distribution centre in Sydney’s west.

As part of their new warehouse, a high-density ColbyRACK pallet storage system that can house over 20,000 pallets was installed, as well as a compact, narrow aisle storage system for small parts picking.

According to Dematic’s Rod Brooks, “A high-level of pre-project design collaboration between Dematic (Colby), Breville and the developer of the site, has resulted in one of the most impressive warehouses in Australia.”

A big factor that had to be considered during this process was safety and space-efficiency.

The main features include a seven pallet high, double deep ColbyRACK storage system with a top beam level of 10.2 m, a full suite of Colby Protect-a-Rack products to prevent storage system damage during pallet put-away and retrieval, plus an ‘eco-friendly’ pedestrian safety rail and guard system to segregate pedestrians from areas where materials handling equipment is used. High-density plastic moulded components mean the safety fence absorbs impacts and springs back into position, and because the components are coloured, they don’t scratch or show any signs of marks even when hit.

Breville has also gone to the extent of installing steel angles on the floor in line with the pedestrian segregation system. The steel angles provide a high level of safety for pedestrians within walkways by making sure that a forklift’s forks or pallet cannot be pushed under the safety rail into the pedestrian walkway areas, further reducing the potential for accidents.

Extra Safety Considerations

As well as installing the very best in safety-optimised warehouse shelving, it’s essential for all distribution centres to get yearly audits and safety inspections, and to install safety signs.

To learn more about additional safety-enhancing products that are available through Colby, click here.

When it comes to workplace safety, only the best will do. Colby is dedicated to providing safe, long-lasting storage solutions to Australian warehouse facilities. If it’s time for an upgrade to your warehouse racking system, or if you want to enhance the safety levels of your current racking, contact us today.

  • The article was originally published on 8 August 2017
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