Recommended Safety Practices For Case Picking Of Products Stored In Pushback Rack Systems
Because they support high-throughput order fulfillment of single product—typically fast movers—some operations utilize pushback racking storage systems as part of their picking process. In order to ensure that pickers are able to perform their assigned tasks safely when working with a pushback system, there are a few recommended best practices. These guidelines include:
1. Always follow the recommended procedures published by the push back system’s manufacturer. Picking from systems deeper than two pallets is normally discouraged because the back pressure created by more than a single pallet may become difficult for an operator to control when removing empty pallets.
2. Picking from a pushback system should only occur at floor level to ensure operator safety. Likewise, the system should be positioned low enough for the operator to safely reach all cases without stepping on a partially empty pallet.
3. Pushback systems utilized for picking should have beam-mounted pallet stops installed at every pick face to ensure that a partially loaded pallet is securely held in place and not pushed forward by the loaded pallet behind it, potentially injuring the operator.
4. When a pallet is completely empty, the safest practice is for a forklift to remove it, rather than the operator manually lifting it by hand. This is because the forklift can far more easily control the speed at which the pallet is removed—and therefore the speed at which the subsequent pallet descends down the lane—than an operator. Additionally, removing an empty pallet by hand can place a high degree of ergonomic strain on the operator, who must bend down and lift it. Further, if there are any obstructions (such as a lift truck) behind the operator attempting to manually remove the empty pallet, the back pressure of the subsequent pallet might cause him or her to be pinned.
5. If an empty pallet must be removed manually (and the loads are not too great), the safest procedure is for the operator to first confirm that the aisle behind him or her is clear. Then, utilize proper lifting techniques to lift the front of the pallet above the pallet stop and slowly walk backward while dragging the pallet on the pushback rail. This allows the operator to use the empty pallet to maintain control of the speed of the descending load behind it.
To learn more about best practices in safe operation of pushback racks, click here.