Protect Your Rack with a Strong Defense | Apex Safety Spotlight

Your guards are heavy, tough and can absorb a lot of punishment, but knowing how to identify an injury and when to take them out of the game is paramount to the success of the team. No, this is not a fantasy football league we are talking about, this is real, everyday life in warehouses across the world.

An Ounce (or several pounds actually) of Prevention

The first step is to implement the right pallet rack protection measures. Pallet rack guards come in many forms and are considered necessary safety accessories. They are installed to take the abuse from material handling equipment and protect the rack structure at all costs. Knowing that the guards will likely be struck at some point, Apex Safety Spotlight is here to help you identify when damage has compromised the integrity of the guard, and if the guard needs to be replaced to ensure the safety of the rack structure.

Apex Warehouse Systems Rack Safety Program

Safety accessories such as row-end protectors, column protectors, and heavy-duty horizontal struts each perform a specific task. They are also carefully designed to fit the specific pallet rack system that they are guarding. Selecting the right guard for your pallet rack system is essentially based upon these three rack/facility specifications:

  • Upright design
  • Aisle width
  • Type of forklift and how that relates to types of guards

Here are details about the most common types of rack safety accessories.

Pallet Rack End Row Guards - Apex Warehouse Systems
End Row Guards

1. End Row Guards

End Row Guards are aptly named. They are heavy steel structures that attach to uprights positioned at the end of a row of pallet rack where the posts are most vulnerable to forklift traffic. They are typically anchored to the floor and run the full width of the row. End row guards are usually painted bright yellow to make them easy to see… and hopefully avoid.

General Specs:

  • Average range 12” high rounded around upright
  • Available in heavy duty (.375”) and medium duty (.25″) thickness
  • Protects 3” or 4” wide x 42”- 48” deep uprights for single rows and longer for protecting back-to-back rows
Pallet Rack Guard - Apex Warehouse Systems
Floor-Mounted End Row Guard

 Design Options: Round vs Formed

  • Round – Single-sided either left or right, or double sided. Guards have rounded ends that cradle around upright and then extend the rack width.
  • Formed – Formed 10-gauge steel rails made in lengths up to 12′. Straight design, the guard is anchored via a baseplate connection in front of the rack upright.

2. Column Guarding

Column protection comes in many shapes, sizes and materials. Post protectors are added just above the base of the column to shield the upright at the most critical impact point. Some column guards, however, are designed to “hug” the column while others are flush with the front of the column. Some shaped guards come with bullnose design, however the bull-nose version can also be added separately to some models if required later.

General Specs:

  • Standard heights: 6”- 48”

Design Options: Bolt-on vs Floor Mounted

  • Bolt-on design bolts onto face of column via teardrop holes. A cautionary note for bolt-on column guarding is that if the guard is hit, the strike force will transfer to the column and potentially cause damage. This design protrudes approximately 3” into aisle.
  • Floor-mounted column guards are free-standing and mounted in front of the column. They are anchored into floor via a baseplate feature and they protrude approximately 1” to 2” into the aisle.

Pallet Rack Column Guard - Apex Warehouse Systems
Post Protector

Floor-Mounted Pallet Rack Column Guard - Apex Warehouse Systems
Floor-Mounted Column Guard


3. Guard Anchoring

Bull Nose Pallet Rack Guard - Apex Warehouse Systems
Bull Nose Anchor

Anchors required depend on protector type. Anchors should come with the individual product but check with the manufacturer for required anchor specifications if unsure.

A Bullnose Anchor – refers to style of column protector that includes a small protrusion at the base of the guard. Features of the bullnose include an extra bolting option and approximately 4” additional rack clearance.


Pallet Rack Rub Rail - Apex Warehouse System
Heavy-Duty Horizontal Strut


4. Heavy-Duty Horizontal Strut

A heavy-duty horizontal strut is also sometimes called a rub rail. While not a typical yellow safety guard, it is an important safety feature for guarding the rack frame from bending or twisting if impacted by warehouse equipment. Heavy-duty horizontal struts can be bolted or welded to the bottom of the frame as shown in the photo, right.





5. Highway Guardrail & Bollards

The highway guardrail is a safety feature designed for heavy-duty protection around rack, structural platforms, in-plant offices, utility features, water mains, conveyors, and personnel workplaces. Guardrails come in a large variety of sizes and shapes and are available in a number of different durable materials.

Bollards – Protect areas from forklifts and other warehousing vehicle access while allowing foot traffic to pass through. Bollards can be made from steel or durable plastic and can be fix-mounted or temporarily affixed.

Now, What Do You Do If…

You’ve installed rack protection, you’ve trained your equipment operators, you’ve taken every precaution that should be taken, but the simple fact is that accidents happen. Don’t go it alone! The Apex Rack Repair & Safety Program offers you two easy to use options to evaluate the structural soundness of your guarding features and your entire pallet rack system. Choose which option works best for you and your team:

  1. The Rack Repair App…or 2. the Apex PRO’s Rack Auditors.

Apex Rack Repair Mobile AppApex Rack Repair Mobile App provides Do It Yourself capability to conduct a complete pallet rack system audit. The app prompts you for key specs and photos as you identify system damage on columns, struts, baseplates, anchors, and beams. You can also take notes about wire decking, supports, load deflection, proper flue space, and more.

If all that sounds like something you’d prefer to Leave it to the PROs … Apex still has you covered. Apex PROs rack inspectors will come to you and handle your complete audit using the Rack Repair Mobile App.

Our Promise – Whether DIY with the app or a PRO audit you’ll receive a comprehensive rack inspection report with an independent solution recommending steps for system repairs and maintenance.

Safe, “healthy” rack is a key component in warehouse optimization. The Apex Rack Repair Mobile App is here to help. Download the app today, call us or visit our website for more information.