Safety Netting Protects People and Assets

Contributed by Rack Safety Products

Safety netting protects workers and assets while providing access to products. Image courtesy of Rack Safety Products.

New warehouse usage equipment is popping up across the United States due to the changes in volume distribution from traditional brick and mortar to e-fulfillment. This additional small order volume that is impacting the B2C market is exposing the changes needed in a warehouse to address safety needs. New evaluations for fire safety and suppression, pallet and product protection, as well as warehouse employee safety is increasingly being considered while planning warehouses. Dramatic volume increases mean greater risk for employees, products and other assets. With volume increases expected to continue, the need for solutions for flue space guides and product fall protection will also rise. Safety netting, a solution with adaptable features, has become a popular option.

High quality safety netting is ideal for the e-tail and distribution facilities that are opening up across the country. Typical warehouses utilize solutions such as metal wire, racking bars or pallet stops for any product and employee risk protection. Although these can be effective, most do not have the flexibility or cost-effectiveness that companies are looking for when addressing the ever-changing characteristics, a 3PL or fulfillment house will service.

When looking for safety netting that will provide protection for both people and assets, you will want to choose one that:

  • Has a high tensile strength which will prevent heavy pallets or non-traditional products from falling through into flue space or onto aisles.
  • Will not unravel if a section is damaged.
  • Has multiple applications available for the back of the rack, that
    • Provide a vertical solution to improve pallet storage lanes,
    • Have a uniform appearance,
    • Allows for product visibility from the back of racks,
    • Support carton flow systems and mezzanine level conveyor systems.
  • Has some give, so the falling object – which is most likely the source of revenue – is not damaged.
  • Installs permanently or is designed for easy removal with rack mounting using zip ties or quick clips and carabiners. Can be mounted directly to the rack or by creating a wire frame for which to mount.
  • Size of the mesh and load rating are also important to consider (1in mesh with light loads or 4in mesh and heavy load capacity). What are you trying to stop and protect?

There are three basic types of netting:

  • Formed polypropylene, which is made in molds as one piece of netting, generally holds it shape. Due to this feature, it is an effective barrier for between racks, protecting the flue space. It is also non-flammable.
  • Twisted or braided rope made of nylon, polyester, or polypropylene.
  • Webbing, which is a strap-like product, typically made of nylon or polyester.

These basic types can also be combined to create simple-to-use products that clip into pallet rack frames. Combining netting with pallet stops, particularly on single-row racking, is very effective in minimizing falling objects. When combined with a steel pallet stop, the safety netting will create effective control on double or single row racks and its softer side will protect shrink-wrapped products.

Innovative Solutions

Netting is easy to install with either cable ties or polyclips. Image courtesy of Rack Safety Products.

The recent increase in warehouse space and e-fulfillment, and corresponding evolution of the supportive racking system, have led to the development of innovative uses of safety netting. With the order completion process being accelerated, and with newer technologies like Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) augmenting conveyor, shuttle and carousel systems, products are being exposed to the possibility of being damaged. Safety netting has taken on the role of “catcher,” laying out for hundreds of thousands of square footage underneath full systems, awaiting falling items.

As warehouse order picking and sorting moves to more innovative solutions, such as automated system, pallet and carton flow racking as well as shifting uses of cantilever racking, netting is being applied because it provides more flexibility and access to products throughout the systems. Netting allows a warehouse employee to access mezzanines, conveyors or catch areas to make repairs, temporary barriers between racks for product separation. It also gives temporary access to safety areas during a build out. Safety netting can be used as walkway guard space for elevated walkways, conveyor system guides in elevated spaces, pallet containment for odd-shaped products and for manufacturing, or high traffic walkway guards.

Netting is easy to install with either cable ties or polyclips to racking systems and wrapped around products. The easy installation allows companies to address the necessary flue space required to allow fire protection and prevention actions take place properly. A company can adjust the amount of netting in tight spaces in which traditional flue space keepers are tough to install. With custom sizing, safety netting can cover areas of extreme height, width and depth, or the entire back of racking system. While installing, the company can make access points that allow them to enter and exit racking spaces for preventative maintenance without having to remove the entire racking space. The flexibility and customizing of the size and material allows netting to be applied to areas where employee safety is critical, such as in walking spaces or in maintenance walkways.

Applications continue to be developed in order to adapt to changing inventory types and adjust to client demands. Pallet rack netting is a simple, cost-effective and adaptable solution. Netting can be used to wrap items that cannot be palletized on floors or strapped down, but which must remain accessible. WMHS

Rack Safety Products is dedicated to the safety of warehouses and distribution centers across America. The company provides an array of high-quality pallet rack accessories to make a safer environment in your warehouse, including rack safety netting. A catalogue of colors is available and can be used for different warehouse needs. For considerations and quotes, please reach out via Racksafetyproducts.com/product-fall-protection.