What do Pallet Racking Inspections Have to do with Sustainable Business?

Dec 26th, 2015 | By | Category: Health and Safety

EHS Journal - Conventional Pallet Racking from ATOX Sistemas de Almacenaje

Future businesses will need to be safer and more sustainable. In order to achieve this, an area that many businesses may not have considered is racking system efficiency. It goes without saying that regular racking inspections, warehouse management, and safe production are keys to a business that values its employees’ health. However, these things are also important for the health of the planet.

As the recent environmental crisis caused by bad warehouse management in China shows, a supply chain that is dangerous for people is often dangerous for the planet. The correlation between lack of safety and lack of sustainability in supply chains can also be seen in Indonesia. There, unsafe working conditions are being coupled with one of the worst environmental disasters in living memory. In the U.S., the evidence is even more stark. The four biggest polluting states in terms of carbon emissions per capita, are Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, and Alaska. The four states with the highest workplace fatalities per one hundred thousand workers? Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, and Alaska.

In the same way, a safe supply chain is usually one that is environmentally sustainable. In the U.S., New York and Rhode Island have two of the lowest workplace fatality rates per one hundred thousand workers. As a result, it’s no surprise to find they are the second and fifth least polluting states by carbon emissions per capita. What businesses should take away from this is that if you ensure that your supply chain is safe, then sustainability is rarely far behind.

All of which brings us back to warehouse management. Ensuring the safety of your racking systems may seem a million miles away from reducing your business’ environmental impact, but the two are related. The collapse of racking can lead to the release of hazardous chemicals, so the best way to prevent this disaster is to be safe.

Although it is well established that regular racking inspections are vital to warehouse safety, they also have the added benefit of making sure that pallet racking is being used efficiently. Unsafe use of pallet racking slows the business down in the long run, as materials take longer to reach and repairs get in the way of day-to-day operations. In summary, a safer racking system means higher efficiency, higher efficiency means lower energy bills, and lower energy bills mean a more sustainable business.

The workplace of tomorrow is one that couples the need for safety with the need for sustainability. These two challenges should be seen as one challenge because the issues are very similar. In Qatar, cutting corners in the building of stadiums for the 2022 World Cup has led to the inexcusable and preventable deaths of thousands of workers. This same corner cutting attitude in business could also explain why Qatar produces the most carbon emissions per capita in the world by a large margin. The solution to both problems is clear: no shortcuts.

Short term goals and selfish needs are what drive businesses towards models that put their staff and the planet at risk. By contrast, safety and sustainability in business both require diligence, investment, and long term planning.

 

About the Author

Justin O’Sullivan is a writer, businessman, and the founder of Storage Equipment Experts. His business specializes in providing pallet racking inspections and racking inspection courses run by a SEMA-approved racking inspector for businesses across the United Kingdom.

 

Photograph: Conventional Pallet Racking from ATOX Sistemas de Almacenaje, S.A.

 

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