Maintaining and inspecting racking systems regularly will help you stay cognizant of any severe or accumulated rack damage that can impact the integrity of the racking system. A program of routine pallet racking safety assessments and safety compliance can help reduce the risk of a costly and potentially dangerous accident such as a rack collapse or employee injury.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD PALLET RACKING SAFETY ASSESSMENTS BE CONDUCTED?
At minimum, professional risk assessments for warehouse racking should be conducted annually by a rack safety expert who is knowledgeable of the storage system’s design and installation requirements. The frequency of racking risk assessments corresponds with operational throughput, forklift or personnel traffic and activity, aisle clearances and cross areas, or any area that has previously been damaged. Systems designed with narrow aisles are more likely to be impacted by material handling equipment. Areas that see higher traffic or activity can also run the risk of being bumped.
Periodic in-house assessments should be conducted in-between professional assessments to report anything that does not look correct or has experienced any form of contact with equipment. Download our Pallet Racking Safety Assessment Guide that will help you determine and keep track of where there is visible damage to your rack.
HOW IS A RACKING RISK ASSESSMENT PERFORMED?
Each pallet racking safety assessment should ensure the racking configuration and components match the original design and include a full walk through of the facility. Pallet racking safety assessments help you comply with the ANSI/RMI rack standards which include repair and replacement of damaged components and routine maintenance.
A report from the safety assessment will identify the locations of the damage, what type of damage it is and how critical it is to get it fixed. Furthermore, this assessment will include rack protection options to help prevent any future damage.
Types of damage concerns that will be noted within a pallet racking safety assessment are:
Column Damage: Any rips, tears or deflection beyond acceptable limits*
Horizontal & Diagonal Strut Damage: Broken welds, missing braces, or braces with rips, tears or deflection beyond acceptable limits*
Footplate Damage: Sheared or twisted beyond acceptable limits*
Overloaded Beams or Frames: Any beam that exceeds the rack manufacturer’s capacity (capacity is based on evenly distributed loads)
Anchor Damage: Missing, broken or loose
Missing or Damaged Components: Wall ties, cross-aisle ties, crossbars, wire mesh decks or pallet stops
Beam Damage: Missing or damaged beams; loose, damaged or missing fasteners; or deficiencies in load locks and snap locks
Leaning Frames: Any frame that exceeds the minimum plumbness and straightness (both cross and down aisle) ½” per 10’ of height
Damaged Decking: Exposed jagged edges, dips or missing pieces
*Deflection greater than ½” can no longer carry the original rated load
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE’S DAMAGE?
If damage is found, action should be taken immediately to prevent injury. Any area where damage is located should be sectioned off and not continue to be utilized. You should then contact a professional to properly repair or replace the damage. The professional will assess the damage and offer suggestions on whether it can be repaired or if it requires total replacement.
Often, damaged columns and struts can be remedied by rack repair. Rack repair significantly reduces cost, time and disruption to your operation than replacing the components. Repairs are done in place, using a lifting jack the damaged portion is removed and replaced with a repair kit. Rack repair components must be at least as strong as the undamaged components and meet the same requirements as the original installation.
If you are concerned about the safety of your racking system, the sooner you address it the better. To speak to Joe Malerba, Director of Remediation Services at REB, directly, dial 773-366-8002. Alternatively, you can fill in the contact form on this page and Joe will contact you.