Motorists have a responsibility to get their vehicles inspected each year. If not, they run serious risk of injuring themselves or someone else when something goes wrong.
Pallet rack equipment poses a similar hazard without regular checks and thorough inspections.
When they are working well, pallet racks offer warehouse storage solutions that are second to none. However, if they’re installed incorrectly or suffer damage they become liabilities that can create significant inventory losses or worse, become fatal.
But simply conducting a quick overview isn’t enough. When carrying out a pallet rack inspection, being thorough is the best way to comply with standing safety regulations and spot possible issues before they become dangerous.
Completing your Rack Inspection
Before you set out to conduct a pallet rack inspection, get clear on the who, what, when and where.
- Who should inspect my warehouse racks? If you are not going to hire a professional, source someone who is intimately familiar with different storage rack configurations and their installation requirements. Ideally this will be someone who’s largely outside your warehouse environment on a day-to-day basis. If the setting is too familiar they may be likely to miss or gloss over existing damage.
- What should be inspected? Load beams and uprights should be the primary focus of your inspection. Spot a misaligned row, bent rack, or any vertical leaning and you’re looking at a potential accident in waiting. Also closely inspect any rusted or corroded areas and check to make sure that none of your racks are overloaded. (Follow up with your supplier for specific capacity ratings.)
- When should I conduct the inspection? Storage rack systems should be regularly checked for damage or overloading. A thorough walkthrough should be done after any reported abuse or external damage from forklifts. While the frequency will need to be determined by the owner, at minimum, inspections should be scheduled on an annual basis.
- Where else should I check for rack damage? In addition to overloading, beams and racks should be checked for misloaded inventory. Keep a close out for dents, twists and scrapes. They should all be closely assessed and, if necessary, repaired or replaced immediately. Also look for gaps in your upright, damage to the column protectors, and any missing or damaged connector hardware (pins, bolts, clips, etc.).
In short, if you want your warehouse operation to run smoothly, frequent pallet rack checks and thorough annual inspections are a must. Not only is your entire inventory at stake, if damage is ignored or overlooked, people can die. Even minor mishaps can lead to serious injury. If you unearth a compromised upright or failing beam, now is the time to replace or repair it. Waiting for an inspector to point out the damage could cost more than you think. In the end, new racks are inexpensive compared to a collapse or fatal injury.