How to Safely Clear a Clogged Push-Back Pallet Rack Lane
Push-back pallet rack is a popular dense-storage method for warehouse operations across a wide variety of industries. It’s an efficient gravity flow solution designed for last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory rotation and it typically functions trouble-free.
Quick Recap – How Push-Back Works:
Pallets are placed on a series of nested wheeled carts which are mounted on slightly inclined rails. The first pallet is loaded on the top cart. As the forklift operator loads the 2nd pallet, the 1st pallet and cart are pushed-back, exposing the open cart beneath. As each pallet is extracted the subsequent pallet flows to the aisle face for selection, allowing for highly productive pallet retrieval.
On rare occasion, a pallet can get stuck in the push-back lane, but there are simple guidelines to follow to free-up the system and get things moving again. The Apex team is here to show you how with our quick video animation.
- The forklift operator should gently push-back the stuck pallet approximately 3-4 inches to see if the nudge will fix the hang-up. This is called Purging the System and it’s usually all it takes to get things rolling again.
- If purging the system doesn’t work, the second option is to build a Safety Floor by placing empty pallets in the lane leading up to the stuck pallet. A worker secured with a safety harness can then enter the system to evaluate and fix the hang-up.
Sometimes the hang-up is a piece of debris that has fallen in the lane and gotten stuck in the push-back cart system. Debris can include plastic, broken pallet pieces, nails, etc. If the debris or system damage requires that a worker enter the system to clear it, then it is imperative to follow established safety rules. The following steps can be followed for trouble-shooting, maintenance and system auditing.
What to do if you need to enter a push-back pallet rack system:
Step 1 – Unload the bay with the stuck pallet as well as the adjacent bays.
Step 2 – Enter the lane secured by a safety harness and lift each cart to remove debris, and/or check the push-back cart wheels and connections.
Step 3 – Back out of the system and reload for efficient pallet storage
While you are in the push-back lane, you can:
- Check the lane for debris
- Evaluate bolted connections
- Check the cart wheels to ensure they spin freely
Regular inspection of the system and careful inspection of the palletized material that is loaded into the system will help keep your push-back pallet rack running smoothly. If you have any questions regarding push-back pallet rack systems design, operation or maintenance, call the Apex team. Our pallet rack experts are available to answer your questions or even evaluate the safety of your system and operations.