How to Perform Rack Inspections for Optimal Safety
To ensure the smooth and safe operation of your warehouse, it is crucial to schedule regular inspections and maintenance on your racking systems to ensure safety and productivity.
Related: Rack inspection kit
Steps to Prioritize During Rack Inspections:
Check for Damaged Anchors
Racking is required to be anchored in order to prevent tip over and to survive seismic events. If there are reach trucks in a warehouse or new or untrained forklift drivers, the anchors that attached the footplate to the concrete slab can become damaged, break, or come loose. Check that the anchors on each baseplate are intact and working the way the structural engineer that designed your racking intended.
Whether you have recently reconfigured your rack systems or installed new ones, it is important to verify their levelness. Missing a step during the installation process can result in uneven racks. Similarly, older systems with settled foundations may require attention. Installers often use shims to compensate for inadequate flooring, but over time these shims can shift and cause misalignment or crooked racks. Uneven racks are at a higher risk of collapsing in the event of a collision. Thoroughly inspect your racks and make necessary adjustments if you notice any crookedness or misalignment.
Check for Rust
Although metal racks are sturdy, they are susceptible to rust and corrosion. Examine your system closely for any signs of rust, particularly on the exterior surfaces. A compromised exterior surface indicates potential weakness in the underlying metal, making it more prone to collapse. Additionally, look for scrapes in the paint, which can indicate collisions that may not have been reported.
You can replace degraded rack by ordering new or used rack components.
Assess Load Capacity
Determining if your rack system is reaching its capacity can be challenging but is essential to prevent failures. Newer models typically have load capacities clearly marked, but older systems may lack this information. Refer to the technical documentation provided with your system to find the necessary data. Beams will have a rated per-pair capacity, while the capacity rating of uprights depends on the spacing between beams. Using a pallet rack that cannot support its weight can lead to catastrophic damages and injuries.
Inspect UprightsSurface Inspection
Similar to beams, uprights may exhibit signs of wear and tear. Scratched paint can indicate collisions that require further inspection to ensure the integrity of the upright's capacity. If you identify damage, promptly replace or repair the affected uprights to maintain worker safety.
Identify Structural Damage
Inspect the uprights for any structural damage. Check for bent or twisted columns and ensure the footplates are correctly lagged and secured to the floor. If the racking is made of roll formed steel, check that all the corners of the original tubular shape are intact. Also, pay attention to the condition of your column protectors. Any damage to them could pose a risk to the upright itself.
Inspect Load Beams
Be sure to inspect your load beams and take the following steps.Identify Damages
Look for dents, twists, dings, or scrapes on the beams, which may be caused by forklifts or other equipment. Replacing a damaged beam is more cost-effective and easier than dealing with a potential collapse.Check Deflection Levels
Load beams will naturally deflect under weight but should return to their original position once the load is removed. If deflection persists, it indicates a permanent deformity, requiring beam replacement. As a rule of thumb, the deflection of your load beams should not exceed 1/180th of their total length. For instance, a 96-inch beam should not bow more than half an inch.Verify Upright Attachment
Ensure that your load beams fit securely into the uprights. Inspect the connections for any broken welds or signs of damage, taking immediate action if necessary. Check that all safety clips and bolts in bolted systems are tight and in place.
Ensure functionality and safety of your pallet racks
Committing to regular inspections is essential for maintaining the peak performance of your pallet racks. Additionally, it is important to document all repair instances to track areas that require attention and identify maintenance trends.
While these guidelines serve as a foundation, it is advisable to hire a professional rack inspector to ensure compliance with local and industry code standards.