PROVEN SOLUTIONS: Pick Lines Need To Be Safe Without Being Slow

The heart of almost every busy distribution center or warehouse / fulfillment center is its pick line. Essentially the pick line is the area or process (the phrase is often used to describe one or the other or both) in which workers or machines select or “pick” products or items for an order or for shipment. The success of any pick line, then, relies on how quickly and efficiently this system works. However, speed cannot be the only consideration, since this complex dance of people, products and machines must work in harmony to be productive and – most importantly – safe.

The Facts:

OSHA has standards that focus specifically on the industry, and employers are required to maintain a safe place for their teams to work. This is what the U.S. Department of Labor says about safety in the distribution and fulfillment industry: “As of 2021, warehouses made up less than 1 percent of the 8 million worksites that OSHA oversees nationwide. However, the 2021 injury and illness rate in warehouses – 5.5 incidences per 100 workers – is more than double the rate of 2.7 incidences per 100 for workers across all industries.”

The Challenge:

The process of moving products to and from pallet racks can be both complicated and dangerous, especially since this task often takes place on an elevated surface. In order for it to be productive, every pick line must be safe without being too slow.

To accomplish this, a durable gate is needed that opens as pallets come and go via forklift, then closes when the process is complete to prevent materials or workers from falling off an exposed, elevated edge. In addition, workers themselves must be protected when they “pick” products so that they don’t fall from elevated edges that become exposed as pallets are emptied. The right gate keeps the entire process moving smoothly without exposing humans to unnecessary risks.

The Solution:

To make the most of your pick line, and your people, safety gates designed specifically for use on pallet racks are critical. Both ANSI and OSHA have set guidelines for the operation of gates like these, and employing the right kind of gate – even if it needs to be customized for your application – is the key to providing fall protection while also keeping your pick line productive.

PS Safety Access™ manufactures two options for pick lines that utilize pallet racks, and depending on your needs, either or both of them may be a valuable addition to your process.

The innovative PickSafe™ Finger Gate provides a fall barrier for workers picking pallets or stacking empty pallets while on an elevated work surface. This ANSI- and OSHA-compliant gate can utilize up to eight arms (and as few as one with each arm operating independently). It is pushed open by a worker or a pallet, and then durable springs allow it to self-close as those products are unloaded or clear the gate. This gate is ideal for pallet flow rack-mounted application and rack picking stations within large distribution centers or warehouses.

You can learn more about the PickSafe Finger Gate here.

The PickSafe Pallet Rack Safety Gate is a self-closing, dual-gate system designed to fit 3-inch columns. Forklift operators simply move palletized material through the gates, then back away. The spring-loaded gate system self-closes along the platform edge, protecting personnel from dangerous falls.

This gate meets OSHA railing standards including a 42” high gate and safety toeboard. It’s ideal for elevated pick modules with pallet flow systems, elevated working platforms and mezzanines. It complies with OSHA Railing Standard 1910.28 and 1910.29.

You can learn more about the PickSafe™ Pallet Rack Safety Gate here.

Your workers deserve to be safe while doing their jobs in the fast-paced environment of your pick line. If you’d like to learn how PS Safety Access products work to benefit both worker well-being and process productivity, contact us today. We’re ready to help you and your company succeed. Call us at 877-446-1519 or use our contact form.