Safety in Pick Modules: Case Study
Pick modules have become popular in many facilities, especially distribution centers. Many distribution centers fulfill thousands of orders each day, using pallet rack to support conveyors and flow systems.
Distribution centers are large by design - often huge buildings that are thousands of square feet and many levels. The pick modules in distribution centers can be multiple levels high and integrate with racks, conveyors and storage solutions. Safety in multi-level pick modules can be tricky, but it’s very important to keep employees working on the upper levels safe from falling.
We’ve worked with many companies with large distribution centers. Recently, we worked with one that utilized several pick modules in their operations where staged pallets were picked by an operator at the ledge, and empty pallets and totes were staged for removal. The facility is extremely busy, fulfilling millions of orders each week. The safety manager knew that they needed a dual-gate system to meet industry standards and regulations, as well as to keep employees working on the upper levels safe.
The safety manager also knew that a freestanding structure would not work for the facility, as they needed as much space as possible within the rack bay. Also, the takeaway conveyor was in close proximity to the picking operator so the safety gate structure couldn’t obstruct that operation.
Our engineering team worked with the facility safety managers to install Rack Supported Roly® safety gates for their facility. Because a freestanding structure would take up too much space and disrupt operations, the safety gates attached directly to the rack, picking up a few inches of space in the bay width and staying clear from the picking aisle. That extra space made a big difference in the pick module, allowing for fork truck drivers to place pallets easily into drop areas, and provided room for the operators to pick from the pallet.
Because the Rack Supported safety gates were attached directly to the rack in the pick modules, the gates also did not lag into the decking on the upper levels which might not have been able to support that weight. Instead, the gates attached directly to the upright beams for a much more secure connection.
The dual-gate system also kept employees safe on the upper levels of the module. When the ledge-side gate was up for the fork truck drivers to deposit pallets, the rear-side gate blocks employees from the ledge. When the rear-side gate is raised so employees can pick from the pallets, the ledge-side gate is closed, making a barrier and protecting employees from falling from the ledge.
If you have a facility with a multiple-level pick module, make sure you are providing safety for your workers with a dual-gate system. We offer Rack Supported versions of many of our other models, including the Tri-Side and Pivot gates.