Why You Should Regularly Inspect Your Industrial Pallet Racking for Damage, and How to Do it
In a warehousing, storage or materials-handling situation, industrial pallet racking can be your best friend. These storage systems are incredibly tough and reliable, capable of supporting huge loads if used properly and cared for appropriately. If pallet racking is mistreated, however, you could end up with serious, and potentially fatal consequences.
Damage to selective pallet racking is usually caused by overloading and forklift impacts. Considering the huge potential costs of having your pallet racking collapse, possibly injuring people and dumping tons of valuable merchandise, it’s definitely worth your while to do pallet racking inspections regularly.
What to Look Out For
- Are the racks level? Bad installation or unstable foundations can cause skew racks, which are far more susceptible to damage from forklifts than straight ones. Consider skew or misaligned racks a warning sign.
- Is there any rust or corrosion visible? This can be an indication of weakened metal. Look for corrosion particularly where you see any paint scrapes or staining.
- Is the racking being overloaded? This isn’t always easy to ascertain at a glance, but is very important as all pallet racking beams have specific load limits and capacity ratings. Check your pallet racking’s manufacturer documentation to be sure.
- Are the upright beams damaged or bent? This is usually a clear indication of forklift collisions, and is extremely dangerous as the beams’ load capacity is severely compromised by even minor-seeming dents.
Checking the Load Beams
Much like the upright beams, the horizontal load beams can be compromised by impacts or by overloading. If beams are scraped, bent, twisted or otherwise out of sorts, inspect them for damage.
Deflection is the natural sagging that happens when a load is placed on a horizontal beam. A certain amount of deflection is normal, and should disappear when the load is removed. A general rule of thumb for pallet racking is that beams should not bow more than 1/180th of the length of the entire beam. If it does, have it replaced.
Inspecting the Connections
Ensure that the beams are properly connected to the uprights, and at the same time take note of any cracked or broken welds, scrapes, or any other signs of damage. Make sure that all clips, bolts, safety pins and other beam attachment accessories are in place and are undamaged.
If your selective pallet racking is checked regularly and thoroughly for safety, it will serve you well for many years. You might consider hiring an inspector to carry out the full inspection and document it. A professional inspector will also be familiar with your local safety codes and standards. These simple inspections could end up saving lives as well as your business.