Understanding Warehouse Rack Safety

Understanding Warehouse Rack Safety

Warehouse Rack Safety Regulations

When discussing what safety measures to incorporate in your warehouse, it’s important to know and understand the pallet rack safety regulations set forth by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Rack Manufacturer's Institute (RMI) for identifying, repairing or replacing damaged rack.

ANSI/RMI MH16.1 represents suggested design practices and performance testing criteria for industrial steel storage racks such as:

The owner shall maintain the structural integrity of the installed rack system assuring proper operational and maintenance procedures. Regularly inspect for damage and immediately unload the affected area and replace or repair the damaged column(s), beam(s), and other structural components.

As the owner of a rack system, you are responsible to ensure that the safety of your racking is monitored. In addition to frequent in-house safety assessments, it is also good practice to periodically hire a company that specializes in rack safety assessments. If damage is found, steps must be immediately taken to fix the damage.

The most common types of damage to look for:

Column Damage:
Rips, tears or deflection beyond acceptable limits. This deflection is greater than 1/2" or damage that no longer can carry the original rated load.

Footplate Damage: 

Footplate Damage

Sheared or twisted past ½”. Resides in earthquake region that require seismic risk modified footplates.
Overloaded Beams or Frames: 

Overloaded Beam

Review the manufacturer’s frame capacity charts. Rated loads refer to an evenly distributed load along the length of the rated member.

Horizontal & Diagonal Strut Damage: 

Broken welds, missing braces, or braces with rips, tears or deflection beyond acceptable limits. Deflection greater than ½” bent either horizontally or diagonally.

Anchor DamagedAnchor Damage: 
Missing, broken or loose anchors are problematic because each upright footplate, both the front and back, must be anchored to the floor.
Leaning FrameLeaning Frames: 
When loaded, the minimum plumbness and straightness (both cross and down aisle) of the frame should be less than ½” per 10’ of height.
Missing or Damaged Components: Missing-or-Damaged-Components
Originally installed to protect the rack structure or enhance safety. Typically includes: wall ties, crossbars, cross-aisle ties, wire mesh decks or pallet stops.
Beam Damage: Beam Damage
Missing or damaged beams, loose, damaged or missing fasteners. Deficiencies in load locks and snap locks are common and will fail to hold beam end plates in place.

Damaged DeckingDamaged Decking: 

Decking with exposed jagged edges, dips, or missing pieces can cause serious harm to employees or materials and should be replaced immediately.

Upon any visible damage, action must be taken immediately and the pertinent portions of the rack should be unloaded immediately by the user until the damaged portion is repaired or replaced.

After you discontinue use of the damaged section of rack, the next step is to hire a professional rack company to assess the damage and move ahead with the appropriate repair and/or replacement. Repair components must be at least as strong as undamaged components.

All additions, alterations and reconfigurations should meet the same requirements as the original installation.
 It is important to not attempt a ‘makeshift’ repair in-house, as a professional will be able to repair or replace components that ensure your rack system is structurally sound and safe for use.

If you have any indication that your warehouse rack safety is compromised, the sooner you address it, the better.

For more information on identifying rack safety concerns, download our Pallet Racking Safety Assessment Guide. To learn more about the rack repair process and rack protection options, contact REB's Director of Remediation Services Joe Malerba direct at 773-366-8002. Alternatively, you can fill in the contact form on this page and Joe will contact you.

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