As we’ve mentioned many times before in this space, safety is one of the most important elements of a quality material handling system. Not only to protect your people and customers but also to protect your products and equipment.
A critical piece of a complete safety system is safety netting. According to wikimheda.org, netting is important in material handling environments for both “fall prevention and in the creation of protective barriers around secure areas and dangerous equipment.” Netting serves an important function, as fall prevention was named one of the top 10 OSHA violations for 2012.
The most common areas where safety netting is necessary are around mezzanines, conveyor belts, and pallet rack systems. Let’s use pallet racks as a prime example. Anytime a pallet rack is jostled, because of a forklift or truck collision or a natural event like an earthquake or high winds, material that usually sits securely on a pallet rack is at risk of falling. Having a safety net in place prevents fallen material from hitting the floor, other products, or people below.
A small thing like safety netting can serve multiple purposes:
- Improve safety for employees
- Improve safety for customers or shoppers in the aisles below the racking
- Protect traffic areas and workstations
- Reduce damage to warehouse goods – both falling products and the items that fallen goods may land on
- Prevent falls between back-to-back racks
- Organize stock for easy inventory & identification
- Secure mezzanine railings.
The most common form of material handling safety netting is mesh. It has fine holes, allowing light and air to penetrate but still strong enough to catch falling products. Mesh can be washed, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted mesh for use in sanitary applications like freezer and food-packing.
Mesh netting is strong enough to handle most any product, as it is typically rated for loads ranging anywhere from 1,250 to 10,000 pounds. It’s an investment worth making, to protect people and product damage in warehouses and other storage areas. Contact AK Material Handling Systems for more details.