Nearly every warehouse and manufacturing facility is filled with dozens and dozens of pallets racks, which in turn are stacked with boxes of valuable inventory. Additionally, warehouses are bustling places, with workers constantly walking in the aisles between pallet rack systems. The first priority of any facility should be safety, and that’s where pallet rack backing comes in.
Pallet rack backing is wire mesh or netting that attaches to the back of a pallet rack, preventing items from falling from their shelves and causing potential harm to workers and inventory. When additional inventory is added to a pallet, potentially pushing other boxes too far back, the backing prevents those boxes or items from falling to the warehouse floor. There are a few types of pallet rack backing, including netted backing and wire mesh.
One benefit of netted backing is its flexibility; because it isn’t rigid, it’s able to move with items, absorbing their kinetic energy and preventing possible inventory breakage. However, pallet rack safety netting is not foolproof, and can obviously rip. If pallet racks are lined with netting and that netting rips, the inventory can still fall and hurt passers-by. In addition, items can fall to the floor and break, defeating the purpose of the pallet rack backing and the safety it hopes to provide.
Wire Mesh Backing
Wire mesh pallet rack backing is typically preferable for a number of reasons. While both rack backing options offer high visibility, allowing for inventory counts without the need to unload pallets, as well as not obstructing sprinklers in case of a fire, wire mesh is more durable, and therefore safer in the long run. It will not rip if met with too much pressure or a sharp angle. It will not stretch out after months or years of use, as netting might do.
Some might worry that because of its more rigid and permanent structure, wire mesh might be more of a hassle to install. In the case of Folding Guard’s Qwik-Fence® Pallet Rack Backing, this is happily not the case. With its lightweight steel and stackable design, Qwik-Fence® is easy to install even on towering pallet racks.
It can also be mounted flush to the rack or with a variety of stand-off brackets, offering flexibility depending on the design and specifications of any warehouse or pallet rack. Unlike netting, Qwik-Fence®’s galvanized finish will remain durable and fresh looking for many years.
Pallet Rack Specifications
Because OSHA doesn’t have a specific pallet rack backing specification, many facilities adhere to the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards for pallet rack backing.
ProGMA (the Protective Guarding Manufacturers Association) recently published a new American National Standard regarding the testing requirements for containment panels used in pallet rack and vertical storage systems.
Our own Engineering Manager contributed to the creation of this ANSI standard, which is designed specifically to protect workers, and we’re proud to say that our own pallet rack backing systems have been tested against it.
By installing appropriate backing to your pallet racks, you will not only protect your valuable inventory, you will prevent terrible injuries to your hard-working employees. Whether you choose netting or a more durable wire mesh model like Qwik-Fence®, pallet rack backing is a necessity for any warehouse that puts safety first.