Signs That Pallet Racking Could Fail

One very important material-handling item that might not be sufficiently checked on a regular basis is pallets. For example, it isn’t uncommon for a forklift to drive into a pallet racking that can result in damage that may not be observed unless there are routine inspections. A minor impact could at some time or another cause a load to crash to the ground.

Pallet racking.
(Courtesy: Atcommartb2b at

There are at least seven examples where pallet racks could end up failing. They include:

• Crooked or out of aligned racks
• Bent upright
• Insecure beams
• Rust or corrosion on a rack
• A bowing beam
• Footplates not secure to the floor
• Damaged column protectors

Crooked Or Out Of Aligned Racks

It a rack doesn’t appear level or appears to be leaning vertically, then you may have a problem. A crooked rack is a sign that the rack wasn’t installed correctly or that an impact knocked it out of alignment. It’s possible that if you’re dealing with an old rack, its foundation may have settled causing it to slant.

If a rack is out of alignment, that’s a good sign that it’s structurally unstable. So if there is a minor impact, it and its load could come tumbling down.

Bent Upright

If an inspection of a rack discovers dents or bends, then the racks structure could be compromised and the uprights need to be replaced.

Insecure Beams

A rack’s beams should be secured to the uprights. The attachment can be done in a variety of ways. There could be a clip, a bolt or tab pin or a sliding lock. If the locking mechanism is bent or missing, then the section of the rack affected is unsafe. If a forklift strikes the rack, the beam could separate from the upright and everything comes tumbling down.

Inspect all your pallet racks regularly to assure that there are no missing clips, attachment pins, or sliding lock. It is common for used racks to be missing one of these connectors. So, it is advised that you don’t spend money on used racks. You may find yourself taking too much time making sure that the racks are up to code.

If you do intend to buy a used rack, then inspect it to ensure that it is not missing a connector.

Rust Or Corrosion On A Rack

As you probably already know, rust or corrosion can appear on a metal support that may come in contact with water. The present rust or corrosion can affect the structure of the rack and could cause the thing to collapse. Inspect the rack’s metal supports regularly to see if there is rust or corrosion. If there is, replace the metal support or purchase a new rack.

A Bowing Beam

It is common for racks to develop a bow because of the heavy load it carries. When the load is removed, the bow should disappear. If a bow remains, it shouldn’t exceed more than 1/180th the total length of the beam. For a beam of 96-inches, a distortion of more than ¼-inch could signify a problem with the rack. A bow of more than a ½-inch means the beam could fail.

Footplates Not Secure To The Floor

This problem is easy to spot. However, you must inspect your racks regularly to see it. It is easy to fix, but you should investigate a little more to find out what caused it to dislodge.

Damaged Column Protectors

A forklift collision with a pallet rack can cause all sorts of problems including the damaging of the rack’s column protector. Just as in the other cases explored here, a damaged column protector can be a sign of an insecure rack.

If you learn anything from this blog, it’s to regularly inspect your pallet racks for any damage so that you can prevent it from collapsing.