During the second Safety Basics class at MacLean Maynard, one of the PDCA teams focused on the safety of the finished goods storage racks. The team drew attention to the fact that some of the storage rack cross beams were damaged, which could possibly cause an inability for the racks to hold the necessary weight.

Define and Investigate
The first step of action was establishing containment. The team identified damaged racks and either replaced them or took them out of service. Next, the team collected data about the problem. The team:

  • Contacted the manufacturer for damaged severity specs and weight capacity
  • Counted the total amount of damaged cross beams, shelves and uprights
  • Verified proper guarding requirements
  • Interviewed drivers about how the damage occurred

Finding the Root Cause
Using gap analysis, the team identified 3 potential root causes:

  1. Lack of training standard
  2. Lack of lighting in-between storage racks
  3. Lack of standard to identify a good rack vs. damaged rack

The team then developed an action plan. The first action item was to obtain spare parts for the racks so that damaged parts could be immediately replaced, if needed.

Next, the team collected weight specifications for each rack and began designing visual management to post on each rack to alert operators of the weight restrictions for each unit.

In addition to increased visual management, the team added a third light to each aisle to improve visibility among the shelves.

The team also created a Rack Inspection Audit. The audit is to be completed daily and turned into the Maintenance Supervisor at the end of the week. The audit checklist describes each part of the racks that needs to be checked along with picture examples of the possible forms of damage that could cause safety concerns.

If the person doing the audit finds any damage, the auditor is to alert the Maintenance Supervisor and appropriate action is to be taken to replace the damaged parts.

Future Improvements
While the safety basics team made several improvements in a short amount of time, they are aware that they must keep improving this system. They have plans to bring in a consulting company to audit the safety and design of the current racks. This company can provide more knowledge about how to improve the safety conditions of the racks and how to easily identify problems. Maynard is also looking at different types of equipment to be used in the finished goods racking area. The goal is to improve operators’ visibility and maneuverability. Knowing that they are at the beginning of their efforts to improve rack safety, Maynard is determined to continue to make improvements.

Audit Checklist