Operating and Optimizing Your Push-Back Pallet Rack System

How to increase productivity and worker safety with Push-Back Storage

Push-Back Pallet Racking

Push-back pallet rack is a high density storage solution using nested wheeled carts that move along slightly inclined rails attached to standard pallet racking.  Pallets are loaded and unloaded from the same side for Last-in, First-Out (LIFO) inventory rotation.  Push-back pallet racking is typically designed to store pallets from 2 to 6 deep, more than doubling storage capacity over standard selective rack.

To achieve optimal productivity and ensure worker safety, your warehouse team should be fully trained on proper push-back racking operating procedures.  We can help – Apex has created a brief but comprehensive Push-Back Pallet Rack Training video found under the Resources tab on our website.  Some of the topics that are covered in our video are:  Operating Procedures, System Loading and Unloading, Purging hang-Ups, and Safe Debris Removal.


When operating a push-back pallet rack system, here are some basic procedures that personnel should adhere to:

Push-Back Rack Operating Procedures –Apex Push-Back Storage Rack

  1. Ensure that all forklift operators are OSHA trained
  2. Conduct a pallet quality check
    • Use quality GMA-style wooden or plastic pallets
    • Ensure there are no loose or missing boards
  3. Review product load to check for load overhang & fix loose cartons, flaps or shrink wrap
  4. Make sure load weight is under the rated capacity

Loading and unloading, freeing pallet hang-ups and dislodging debris are all common procedures that are also outlined in our customer service video, but for now, let’s review the basic steps:

Proper Push-Back System Loading:

  1. Forklift – lift the pallet load approximately 3 to 4 inches above the first cart – enter the system and place the pallet centered on the first cart. Slowly back out of system.
  2. Line up the bottom boards of the 2nd pallet with the bottom boards of the first, just above the exposed cart and gently push-back the 1st pallet as you center the 2nd pallet over the 2nd cart, and so forth, until you get to the last pallet of the system.
  3. The last pallet will not sit on a cart- It will sit directly on the push-back rails. Ensuring once again that the load is centered in the lane, lower the last pallet onto the rails ensuring it lies behind the pallet stops.

Push-back storage rack Proper Push-Back System Unloading:

  1. Center forklift with the front pallet of the system and slowly enter the lane. Lift the front pallet 3-4 inches, so that it clears any pallet stops or obstructions.
  2. Slowly extract the pallet allowing subsequent loads and carts to glide forward at a controlled speed to the aisle face.
  3. Follow the first step to unload the remaining pallets of system.

Our video also goes over trouble-shooting techniques for clearing cart hang-ups (purging the system) and safe removal of debris found in the lane.  If you need help training your personnel and or maintaining your push-back pallet racking system, call Apex Warehouse Systems today –  our trained storage and material handling experts are ready to assist you and keep your system on track.