When designing or redesigning your warehouse layout, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the size of your aisles. If they’re too wide, you’re wasting space, but if they’re too small, you may not be able to get your forklifts in and out. There are a number of different space requirements for your aisles, and these requirements depend on several different factors.
The Size of Your Warehouse
The size of your warehouse can determine a number of things, including your aisle space. If you have a fairly small warehouse, you’re probably going to try to get every single inch of space you can for pallets. However, you have to keep in mind that you’ve got to have space to work. Even though wider aisles may seem like a waste of space, they can make it much easier to maneuver.
The Size of Your Pallet Racks
Some pallet racks are designed to hold pallets on both sides, allowing you to make two rows of pallets that can be accessed from either side. There are even some that are designed to hold more. These pallet racks are usually used with specialized lift trucks that allow products to be placed further inward.
If you’re buying new pallet racks, you’ll usually be able to select the exact size you want. If you’re buying used pallet racks, however, make certain that you know the dimensions of the racks before you buy them. If you purchase pallet racks that are too wide or too tall, you may have wasted your money.
The Size of Your Forklifts
One of the biggest factors that will determine the size of your aisles is the size of your forklift. If you have a fairly small forklift, you may not need aisles that are as wide as you would need if your forklift were fairly large. Of course, most warehouses have a fleet of forklifts. If that’s the case and your forklifts aren’t all the same size, you should use your largest forklift or lift vehicle to set the aisle space.
Remember that you have to take into account more than just the size of your forklift. You also have to see how large it is with a pallet and what kind of space it will take to maneuver. Can it turn around in an aisle? Is there space for a forklift to turn and approach the pallet rack? Can a person walk completely around the forklift when it’s in the aisle? Could two forklifts pass each other? These are all important questions to ask.
There are some aisle space requirements that are outlined by OSHA and other safety organizations. You must make certain your aisles are appropriately sized to meet all of these guidelines. If they are not, you may be fined and forced to shut down your warehouse until the aisles are changed. Improper aisle size can also lead to accidents or even fatalities if your employees need to exit the warehouse quickly in the event of an emergency.
What questions do you have about aisle space requirements for your warehouse? Comment below to join the conversation!