Rack Safe

Prevent rack failures by identifying problems early through regular inspections.

Your pallet rack storage system is a vital part to the success of your warehouse operation. When this system becomes damaged or is installed incorrectly, it can be extremely dangerous.

Regular rack inspections will help identify problems before they escalate into a failed pallet racking system. 

What should you be looking for? Here are three major signs your pallet rack might need to be repaired or replaced.

Uprights can twist, bend or even break at the welds due to impact from lift equipment. An upright with damage only at the bottom can often times be replaced with a repair kit that is spliced into the existing upright, or if the damage is extensive the upright should be replaced completely.  Replacing an upright can be difficult, especially if it is located in the middle of a row of rack. An experienced professional can help you determine the best option for your facility.

Current Rack Manufacturer’s Institute code states that every footplate on every upright should be appropriately anchored to the building floor slab to provide the necessary stability for a pallet rack system. If anchors are missing or broken off from impact with lift equipment or pallets, this should be addressed and new anchors should be installed. If the footplates are sheared off, or if the welds are broken from forklift impact and are no longer attached to the upright, column repair or replacement of the upright should take place.

Beams play a crucial role in withstanding the load of your inventory. Damage to them should never be ignored. Any bend, beyond a small dent, in the body, of the beam should be identified as damaged and replaced immediately with a new or undamaged used beam.  

When your pallet rack is overloaded, the beams will deflect or bend. If this deflection does not go away when the product is unloaded then the beams need to be replaced, and the weight of your pallets reevaluated. 

It is important that all beams are installed level. If one end is higher than the other, making the beam sit diagonally, it needs to be reinstalled properly. 

Beams are held in place with safety clips. If a clip is loose or missing, it needs to be replaced immediately.

Plum and Level
When pallet rack is installed in areas where the foundation or floor is uneven, collisions with forklifts may have greater impact and cause a rack collapse. Shims should be used to make sure the rack is level at the time of install. If you see crooked rows or vertical leaning it is time to unload the pallet rack and contact a material handling professional. 

To sum it up, be on the lookout for:

• Twisted, bent or broken welds in the upright columns and support braces 

• Missing or broken anchors or upright footplates

• Bent beams

• Improperly installed beam levels

• Overloaded beams

• Incorrect/missing beam hardware

• Pallet rack that is not properly leveled with the floor

There is no substitute for good safety practices when working in or around pallet rack systems. Paying attention and regular inspections will help keep your operation running as smoothly and as safely as possible. 

– Lauren Resiak is project coordinator for Storage Solutions, Inc., Westfield, In. Reach her via www.storage-solutions.com or at (317) 399-2103.

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