• Pallet Rack Inspection

    Your pallet racks are designed to withhold the weight and strain of your heaviest loads. Do you trust yours to support your handling equipment? The reality is that even the slightest flaw in your rack solution can create a major safety risk and operational setback. That's why it's important to have a robust rack inspection process in place. When your warehouse leaders understand where and what elements to check, they're better able to secure the environment. Today, we're sharing a step-by-step guide to pallet rack inspection, so you can comply with safety regulations and promote a more productive workforce. Ready to learn more? Let's get started.

Checking The Racks Themselves

Checking the Racks Themselves 

Your company should schedule periodic maintenance visits by a professional rack inspector to keep your equipment running at full capacity. You should also train internal employees on these steps so they can perform spot-checks in between visits.

Here are a few key steps to prioritize:

1. Check for Levelness

Have you reconfigured your rack systems? Or, have you installed new systems? Either way, if there was one step missed during the process, your racks may not be level. 

The same goes for older systems with foundations that may have settled over time. When the flooring is inadequate, installers will often use extensive shims to make up for the difference. Though this provides a short-term fix, the shims can move and even skew over time, making the racks unlevel.

When your racks aren't level, they're at an even greater risk of collapsing if a collision occurs. Take the time to inspect yours thoroughly. If you notice any crooked racks or misaligned rows, those signal that it's time to make an adjustment.

2. Look for Rust

A metal rack may be sturdy, but it's also susceptible to rust and corrosion. If you notice any of these areas on your system, take a closer look.

Often, a compromised exterior surface will signal that the metal is weak underneath and therefore more prone to collapse.

Also, check for scrapes in the paint. Drivers won't always make a note of a collision but this can be a tell-tale sign that one occurred. 

3. Assess Load Capacity

It can be difficult to tell if a rack system is reaching overcapacity. Yet, it's important to perform this analysis, as putting too much stress on your system is one of the top reasons for its failure. 

Newer models will have capacities and load limits stamped onto them. Yet, if yours is older, those metrics won't be as easy to determine. Reference the technical documentation that came with yours to find the data you need.

The beams will have a rated per-pair capacity, while the capacity rating of your uprights depends on how far apart your beams are spaced. Catastrophic damages and injuries can occur if an operator works with a pallet rack that is unfit to support its weight. 


Reviewing Your Uprights

In addition to checking the beams of your pallet rack, it's also important to inspect the uprights. Here are a few places to focus your attention. 

1. Check the Surface

Like beams, your uprights will show signs of wear and tear. If the paint looks scraped, this could signal a collision. In this case, you'll need to perform further inspection to make sure the upright capacity isn't weakened or compromised.

If you do find such damage, replace or repair those uprights as soon as possible to ensure worker safety.

2. Find Other Damage

In addition to paint flaws, check also for structural damage in the uprights. 

Are the horizontal beams bent or twisted? What about the footplates? Are they correctly lagged and secured to the floor?

The same goes for your column protectors. Double-check that they're in solid condition, as any damage to them could represent harm to the upright itself. 


Inspecting Load Beams

Finally, it's important to inspect your pallet rack's load beams. These can also suffer damage in the event of a collision and their weakening could compromise the integrity of the entire structure. Here are the steps to follow.

1. Look for Damages

Check for dents, twists, dings or scrapes along the beams. These may have been caused by forklifts or other equipment. While it can be a challenge to replace one, it's always more cost-effective and easier to do so than to deal with a collapse.

2. Check Deflection Levels

It's natural for your load beams to deflect a little beneath the weight they carry. Yet, this deflection should dissipate once you remove the load. If it remains, it's time to replace the beams, as this signals a permanent deformity. 

Need a metric to follow? Your load beams rel="noopener noreferrer" shouldn't bow more than 1/180th of their total length. For comparison's sake, that's half an inch of deflection for a 96-inch beam.

3. Determine Upright Attachment

Your load beams should seat into your uprights. Inspect these connections. If you notice any broken welds or other signs of damage, take immediate action. 

Make sure all safety clips are tight and in place. The same goes for all bolts affixed to bolted systems.


Keeping Your Pallet Racks Functional and Secure

A commitment to ongoing inspection is essential to keeping your pallet racks at peak operating condition. Yet, don't just stop there.

Be sure to document all instances of repair. This helps you keep track of where the systems need attention and allows you to notice any trends in maintenance and repair.

While these guidelines can offer a foundation, it's always best to hire a professional rack inspector to make sure your systems are up to local and industry code standards. 

Need a racking and pallet storage solution for your warehouse? That's where we come in.

Our warehouse storage experts are well-versed in providing storage solutions that improve process and throughput rel="noopener noreferrer" in your facility. Contact us today to learn more and let's kick your operations into high gear.

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