Ensuring the safety and efficiency of pallet racks in a warehouse setting is paramount. Regular safety inspections are key to identifying potential hazards and maintaining operational integrity. This guide provides a structured approach to examining various components of pallet racks, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation.
Understanding Pallet Rack Safety Inspections
What is a Pallet Rack Safety Inspection?
A pallet rack safety inspection is a systematic review of various components of a warehouse’s pallet racking system to ensure they are in good condition, properly installed, and safe for use. It is important to identify and remedy pallet rack damage before it leads to loss of downtime and profitability.
How Often Should Pallet Rack Inspections Be Conducted?
The frequency of pallet rack inspections can vary based on the warehouse’s operational intensity, but it is generally recommended to conduct them at least annually or bi-annually. To perform an internal inspection to identify potential safety issues before they become problematic, download our racking inspection checklist.
What Are the Key Elements to Inspect in a Pallet Rack System?
Key elements include load beams, upright columns, base plates, anchor bolts, horizontal/diagonal braces, pallet conditions, protective guarding, floor and aisle conditions, and load capacity signage.
What is the Most Common Pallet Rack Safety Issue Found During Inspection?
The most common problem found during inspection is improper loading of inventory on pallet rack wire decking. When the wrong material is stored on wire decking, or when the decks are overloaded, they become compromised and are at risk of fatigue, buckling, and, ultimately, can be a cause of an accident.
Key Inspection Elements for Pallet Racks
The following table outlines the essential elements to inspect during a pallet rack safety check, along with specific details to focus on and additional safety considerations:
|Details to Inspect
|Notes for Enhanced Safety
|Check for leaning, twisting, bent, or dented columns.
|Columns that are deformed more than ½” should be repaired or replaced. For maximum stability, the columns should be out of plumb no more than ½” over 10’.
|Base Plates and Anchor Bolts
|Check for damage to base plates, broken welds, and the condition of anchor bolts (loose, missing, or bent).
|Anchors should be no less than ½” in diameter and properly torqued to the floor. The number of anchors per base plate is determined by the manufacturer or code requirements based on the specific rack application.
|Examine for missing or bent braces. Confirm that none of the welds securing the braces to the uprights are broken.
|Braces are crucial for strength and lateral stability; ensure they are in optimal condition.
|Assess for proper attachment of the beam clip to the upright, signs of overloading, and damage. Confirm safety clips or safety bolts are installed. Check that there is at least 4” of space between the top of the pallet load and the beam level above it.
|Loaded beams with deflection greater than L/96 (Length / 96) are, in most cases, overloaded. They should return to a deflection of less than L/96 after unloading. If they do not, in most cases, the beams should be replaced. Beam levels where there is less than 4” of space between the top of the pallet and the beams should be adjusted. Ideally, 6” of space should always be maintained.
|Inspect for damage such as broken boards, improper load distribution, or loads not secured to the pallet.
|Skids with front-to-back runners, containers with feet, and pallets with cone or block-shaped feet should ONLY be stored on wire decks that are specifically designed to store line loads or point loads. Standard wire decks are not designed to support these types of loads
|Pallet Supports (if applicable)
|If present, pallet supports should always be tek-screwed to the beams unless they have been installed underneath with decks. Check for proper positioning based on the width of the pallet being placed on them.
|Pallet supports are a must if wire decks are not being used. They prevent pallets with broken boards or pallets that are not positioned properly on the beams from falling.
|Load Capacity Signage
|Ideally, a load capacity placard should be installed on the end of each row of rack or a beam capacity label should be installed on each beam level.
|A load capacity placard should note the elevations at which the beams are to be installed, the load capacity of the upright at specified beam elevations, and the maximum weight of the pallets that can be stored on the beams.
|Floor Condition and Debris
|Look for cracks in the concrete floor and has the floor visible shifted, risen, or fallen. Is the product, broken pieces of pallets, shrink wrap, or banding in the racking system.
|Floor integrity is crucial for rack stability. Racks where it appears the concrete has moved should be unloaded. Racks and isles should be free from debris and other obstructions.
| Protective Guarding
|Inspect end-of-aisle guards and column guards to ensure they are anchored properly.
|Guards with more than moderate damage should be replaced. Areas where rack uprights are being damaged should have guards installed.
| Back-of-Rack Guarding
|Look to ensure that the guarding is not damaged, hanging lo loose, or has product wedge between it and the beams.
|Any single row of rack in the middle of a warehouse or plant floor, where the back of the rack is positioned up against an aisleway or work area should have safety protective wire panels or safety nylon netting installed.
Conducting an Effective Inspection
Qualified Personnel for Pallet Rack Inspections
Pallet rack inspection services should be performed by trained personnel who are familiar with warehouse operations and rack safety standards.
Addressing Identified Safety Issues
Any identified safety issues should be addressed immediately, which may involve repairing or replacing damaged components, reorganizing loads, or adjusting beam levels for safer operations.
Benefits of Regular Pallet Rack Inspections
Preventing Workplace Accidents
Regular inspections are crucial in preventing rack collapses, product damage, workplace injuries, and potential legal liabilities.
Optimizing Warehouse Space and Efficiency
Consistent inspections can help in identifying opportunities for better space utilization and efficiency improvements in the warehouse.
Contact Cranston Pallet Rack Inspections for more information on how a thorough inspection can benefit your warehouse operations, as well as your company’s safety record. To schedule an inspection, call us today or complete our pallet rack inspection form.