One of the biggest concerns many warehouse managers have is keeping their shelving in good shape.
If it’s not well maintained, warehouse shelving can lose its structural integrity. Which can lead to shelves breaking or entire shelving units tumbling down on top of people. At best, products or equipment will be damaged. At worst, someone will be hurt or killed.
That’s why it’s absolutely vital that the structural integrity of shelving be checked often and maintained regularly.
Check for Breaks
Shelves, even heavy duty metal shelving, can develop breaks or bends over time.
As the warehouse manager, you should take the time to inspect each shelving unit once every two or three months to ensure that there aren’t any cracks or bends in the shelves. Even minor damage can lead to an accident, so make certain to have any shelving units that look bent or have a crack in them replaced.
Also, be on the lookout for missing bolts and other fasteners. These need to be replaced as soon as possible to avoid permanent damage.
Watch for Shifting Shelves
Over time and constant use, shelves may start to shift just a little bit. This can also happen when the building naturally settles. The shelf that was once against the wall may have moved out just a little bit.
Likewise, shelves that were on level ground may suddenly lean just a little bit to one side. It may not seem like much, but even the smallest shift can later cause an accident.
Look for Rust
Some warehouses, especially older ones, may have shelving units that are rusty or are starting to rust. Rust greatly weakens the strength of shelves, and any that show signs of rusting need to be replaced as soon as possible. While most shelving units will be protected from rust, it’s possible some are not. Make certain you know which of your shelves may be susceptible.
Check the Shelves after Major Natural Events
If you’ve had an earthquake in your area or a heavy storm, do a check of the entire warehouse. Earthquakes can, obviously, shake the entire area, leaving shelves pushed out from the walls or on uneven ground.
Even heavy storms can cause some interior damage if the winds are high enough and hit the buildings at just the right angle. If you have outdoor shelving, it’s especially important to make certain it weathered the storm without any damage.
Keep a Log of Shelf Life
It may sound silly to some, but it’s important to know how long you’ve been using the same shelving. While you may not want to spend money on shelves that seem perfectly sound, you may want to consider replacing that section of shelves that has been in the warehouse for 30 years.
Knowing the age of shelves also helps determine which ones may be the most likely to cause accidents. If you’ve noticed all of the shelves in the same age range are starting to show wear and tear, it may be time to replace them all.