Unfortunately, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of pallet racking maintenance and repairs.
Newly built, the structure looks sturdy, which of course, it has to be, it’s carrying all that weight from the pallet loads stored in it!
Well-built structured racking takes a long time to wear out, so there’s a tendency to think that once it’s built, it’s fine unless it looks like it’s about to collapse.
This is one of the most common, yet most dangerous mistakes.
Just because racking looks OK, doesn’t mean it is.
There are serious consequences for racking failure.
Best case scenario, a collapse of racking means a loss of inventory and a hefty clean-up bill. Worst case, it could cost someone their life. And the problem is usually an invisible one.
Pallet racking doesn’t tend to fall over because of one big hit or obviously damaged area. By its nature, racking will take lots of little hits during the course of its lifetime, and these little hits all add up. The tipping point of this cumulative damage is invisible, and that’s where the danger lies.
Damaged baseplates and screw anchors, crushed or sheared frames, broken components… these all add up to a disaster waiting to happen, and a lot of the time they’re not even visible to general inspection.
How pallet racking gets damaged
The two most common causes of racking damage are material handling impacts and everyday abuse of the racking. Accidental impacts from machinery such as forklifts and aerial work platforms are commonplace in a warehouse.
On top of that, there are impacts from machinery which shouldn’t be there in the first place, operating in aisles too small or ones which were poorly designed to begin with.
Overloading racks, especially when it’s time to change products, is also a common reason why damage occurs.
How to maintain your racking
All of that said, what can you do to ensure your racking structures are safe and capable of delivering for your operation?
Quite a bit actually, starting with adhering to industry-recommended procedures. When it comes to racking, prevention is better than cure.
Regularly scheduled storage rack system inspections should be set up and implemented, performed by qualified persons familiar with storage rack design and installation requirements.
There’s no point waiting for something to collapse before you fix it. Regular inspections should be carried out every 12 months, and not just a quick glance. Get someone up there to look at the details, checking each rack inside out, noting any damage, no matter how small.
Of course, you don’t have to wait for a scheduled inspection. Any incident involving a collision or a natural tremor should always result in a check for damage.
The law regarding building codes is also constantly changing, so keeping up-to-date on current codes is important. Racking installed prior to current codes might not only be unsafe, but invalidate insurance claims.
What to look for in pallet racking maintenance
When inspecting racking, there are certain things you should always specifically look for:
Check for plumbness and impact damage. Corner dents are more critical than in the face or side of the column.
Base plates and anchors
Must be connected to the column without any break in welds. Anchors require proper installation to the concrete slab.
Note any shears, bends, buckles or loose/missing bracing.
Row spacers/structural frame ties
Inspect floor location, quantity and type.
Check for dents deeper than 5mm and their location.
Beam to column connectors and lockplate mechanisms
Look for damage to the tabs, studs, bolts or any other connector to columns.
Accessories such as wire mesh shelving and pallet support bars
Inspect for general condition.
Racking maintenance and repair is a serious issue, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Adhering to the strict guidelines will reduce the odds of an accident, keeping your business, your staff and your inventory safe.
Here at Pallet Racking Solutions we highly recommend a programme of maintenance and safety audits.
Our programme checks out any damage, supplies any new components needed and quickly manages the installation, minimising your downtime.
Whether it’s delivering peace of mind following an earthquake or carrying out essential repair work after a collision, we can help ensure the ongoing safety of your staff and products.
Contact us today if you would like to know more about racking maintenance and repair work, or how we can help your business.