Why Most Rack Systems Need End of Aisle Rack Protectors

If you pay attention, you may notice on your way to work that there are stretches of road lined with safety guard rails. The purpose of these rails is simple: keep cars from careening off the road or drifting into oncoming traffic. Of course, these guard rails aren’t stationed everywhere; that’d be too expensive, inconvenient, and probably unnecessary. They’re located in high traffic areas and stretches of road where cars are typically turning at high speeds. It’s impossible to know for sure, but we can reasonably guess these rails prevent significant damage and loss of life.

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In a way, end of aisle rack protectors, like the ones manufactured by Wildeck, do for a pallet rack system what safety rails do for the interstate. The areas located around the ends of warehouse rack aisles are some of the busiest and fastest moving areas in the warehouse. It’s where hurried lift truck operators are entering a rack system aisle to make sure an order is picked on time, and where pallets are often staged to be loaded later on. Without end-of-aisle rack protectors in place, the pallet rack uprights that form the end of a row of racking can become mangled and compromise the strength and stability of the entire section of rack.

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Today’s lift trucks are heavy, powerful pieces of equipment that typically have heavy duty steel tines capable of dinging almost anything they come into contact with. Even seemingly slow or minor collisions can add up over time to weaken the upright frame column and lacing channels. Even one collision can do damage, but when multiple collisions accumulate, it can quickly become an issue.

A common objection we hear from those skeptical about installing rack protectors goes like this: “We probably don’t need them. Fortunately, we haven’t had any collisions yet.” That is fortunate, because if they had, it would’ve done significantly more damage without rack guarding in place. When we use this same reasoning for most of the other safety precautions we take (life jackets, helmets, seat belts?), we might start to rethink the idea of holding off on rack protection until an accident has happened. Being able to plan ahead and budget is nicer than needing to install safety gear on a knee-jerk reaction.

The story with safety drop pins is often a similar one. It’s common to see warehouse managers wait until a beam level and thousands of pounds of product are dislodged before taking an easy and relatively cheap step to secure racking. As with most safety measures, the time to take action is before an incident has happened.

Rack Protectors are Customizable to Your Warehouse

End of aisle rack protectors like Wildeck’s are available both as single left or right units and as single pieces that cover both columns of the upright frame. This offers you the flexibility to use them where and how you think they’ll best protect your uprights. Not everyone’s uprights are the same depth, so end-of-aisle protectors are available to cover practically any depth of upright frame, including back-to-back rows. Standard sizes span from 48” to 120”.

In a fast-paced environment like the warehouse, visibility is key.  End-of-aisle rack protectors are painted in a bright, highly-visible “safety yellow” color so they stand out against their surroundings. In a perfect world, lift truck drivers will see the protectors before they hit them. In the real world when a run-in does take place, the rack protectors will deflect the fork truck away from the upright frame and its cargo, saving money, time, and repair work.

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Bottom Line: Be Proactive with Warehouse Safety

Nowhere is it more important to be smart and safe than in the warehouse. A key part of that philosophy of safety and preparation is putting protection in place well before it feels “urgent” or an accident happens that forces immediate action. When it comes to warehouse safety, being proactive is key. That means that if you or your customer has exposed uprights in a high-traffic area, there’s no better time than now to explore installing end-of-aisle rack protectors.

Thanks for reading, and remember: our goal is to help you!

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