The Dangers of Poor Pallet Rack Installation

January 23, 2019

Pallet racks are a great storage system solution for warehouses, but when the industrial rack installation is done improperly, it can be a dangerous situation for a warehouse. Collapsing pallet racks can result in numerous worker injuries— some may even lead to the possibility of death. For further proof, here is a YouTube video showing an entire pallet rack system collapsing and the final outcome.

A warehouse maintenance manager has the responsibility to keep a warehouse’s assets and its workers safe from accidents occurring because of faulty storage systems. The proper preventative maintenance strategies can minimize these risks and should be followed to reduce the potential for accidents caused by improper pallet rack installation.

Choosing the Right Pallet Rack System for Your Warehouse Storage Needs

The quickest way warehouses can start having pallet rack system issues is because they chose the wrong pallet rack style for their storage needs. Each pallet rack design has its own characteristics, which can cause one storage system style be more useful than another for a warehouse. Industrial shelving is also not all made or priced the same. Some distinguishing features of pallet rack systems are:

  • Whether the racking is roll-formed and made from cold-rolled steel or is structural and made from hot-rolled steel;
  • The cost of the racking;
  • The racking system’s durability against forklift impacts; and
  • How easy the racking is to assemble.

The six different types of pallet rack designs are:

  • Selective Racking;
  • Pallet Flow Racks;
  • Push Back Racking;
  • Drive-In Racking;
  • Carton Flow Rack; and
  • Cantilever Racking.

Each pallet rack system has its own unique storage features that can accommodate a variety of warehouse storage needs. When choosing your industrial rack, always measure the dimensions of the warehouse space it will be built in. Forcing a pallet rack into a tight area not only makes the industrial rack installation difficult, but could actually prohibit the pallet rack from being able to store up to its maximum capacity.

Regularly Scheduling Pallet Rack Maintenance Checks

A warehouse that doesn’t regularly schedule maintenance checks for their tools and equipment is like a driver never taking their car to be serviced. At some point, something isn’t going to work right— and it could create a deadly situation.

It’s important that maintenance managers regularly allow warehouse maintenance services for pallet rack systems just like they would for forklifts and motive power batteries. The YouTube video previously referenced should convince any warehouse manager of that fact. A pallet rack with loose bolts or unbalanced shelving levels due to poor industrial rack installation, or a malfunctioning vertical reciprocating conveyor (VRC), can cause workers and warehouse assets around these areas serious harm from falling debris. The service technician performing the industrial rack installation job should always ensure that:

  • Every rack is anchored to the floor to increase stability and avoid horizontal displacement;
  • Safety clips and locks are installed to prevent dislodged pallet rack beams; and
  • The pallet rack allows for enough clearance space when loading or unloading assets.

A warehouse service technician will survey for any damage and ensure the pallet rack is structurally sound and will notify maintenance managers if replacement parts are needed for additional repairs.

Not Overloading a Pallet Racks’ Weight Capacity

A standard pallet rack can hold up to 2,500 lbs of weight, but there are pallet rack systems that can manage 3,000-4,000 lbs. The real safety issue comes from warehouses that overload or unevenly distribute loads onto their storage system. This becomes even more dangerous if the industrial rack installation wasn’t properly designed to fit the true size, weight, and density of the assets being stored on the pallet rack.

When choosing a pallet rack design, be sure it can handle the type of assets being stored. The beams connectors of a pallet rack system should be parallel at an upright angle, and racking braces should never be bent, diagonal, or horizontal, as these are signs of severe pallet rack overload. Only store assets onto an industrial rack that can handle the weight capacity.

A damaged or improperly installed pallet rack system can create a disastrous outcome that will affect the efficiency and productivity of a warehouse and its daily operations. To help meet your warehouse’s storage needs and ensure the safety of your workers and warehouse assets, allow the service experts at Southern States Enterprises (SSE) to handle your next industrial rack installation. Our trained technicians will help create greater storage capacity and properly utilize your warehouse space without the risk of pallet rack failure. For more information on rack repair, maintenance, and safety, download our pallet rack repair brochure today!

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