6 Causes of Pallet Rack Collapse

Pallet racks sometimes collapse – we look at the main causes.

Any warehouse is a hazardous environment. Multi-level pallet racks can collapse when heavy loads are stored on them. In a busy warehouse, it’s important to limit the chances of a disastrous, dangerous and costly collapse.

Because a fall usually involves an entire row, or series of rows, costs can be very high indeed. Understanding and defeating the causes of pallet rack collapse is therefore a paramount concern for warehouse managers. We look at 6 major causes for pallet rack collapse.

1. Forklift accident

It happens more often than we’d like to admit. But when racks are hit by a forklift, there is always a good chance of collapse. Sometimes at the moment of impact, but often collapses occur later, because of structural damage or jostled loads.

There are some steps you can take, including:

  • Building in wider aisle space
  • Install rack protection such as end frames and corner columns
  • Better layout of adequate transfer aisles
  • Removal of litter, clutter and non essential items
  • Regular rack inspections
  • Enforcing the speed limit!

2. Overloading Pallet Racks

Pallet rack beam capacities depend on an evenly distributed load. They can change if you are using decking rather than placing a pallet flat on the beams themselves. But damaged pallets or particularly high density loads can compromise the beam capacity. It’s important to always check that beams are not damaged and to check density loads before loading onto your racks.

The upright frame capacity is more complex. Modifying the space between beam levels can can add to or reduce the upright frame capacity. So it’s vital to accurately calculate the upright frame capacity.

3. Poor design of pallet racks

Racks are typically designed to carry specific loads. These designs are based on factors such as the size, weight and density of loads. Poor design that does not take these factors will lead to collapse.

4. Inadequate load clearance

Rack collapses often come from impacts when a lift is loading or unloading. If this occurs within the structure, due to tight clearances between the rack uprights and the pallets, or between the pallets themselves, then the outcomes can be worse. Industry standards vary, so check it’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications.

Horizontal clearance should be enough to allow drivers to maneuver pallets without bumping the rack. Vertical clearance is usually more problematic,  but a general rule of 6 inches clearance between the top of your load and the bottom of the next beam level, is a good standard. The ability to gauge distances declines the farther away the load, so adding more space for upper levels is a good idea if you have the space, and if the additional space clearance isn’t enough to substantially impact frame capacity.

5. Using pre-used racking without understanding its capability

Many companies like to use pre used racks because of expensive. This has benefits for the company, but it is vital to understand what your rack is capable of – it’s beam capacity, upright capacity and how those can change due to spacing or load factors. We always recommend checking any pre-used racks with the manufacturer specifications, and to be sure that storage application works for that particular rack, configured in a particular way. If you’re not sure, talk to the experts who understand which racking is most suitable for you.

6. Poor installation or set up

Setting up your racking without errors will go a long way to making sure it remains in tact. Anchors are vital for fixing the relative distances between columns. Racks cannot be trusted to hold their listed capacity when they aren’t bolted to the floor. Anchors provide resistance to horizontal displacement and can help increase stability. Every rack should have them. Also check for safety clips/locks. These are generally installed on teardrop beams. They help prevent beams from accidentally dislodging.

For more information or to make sure your pallet racks are in perfect working order for your warehousing needs, contact us.

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Monarch Shelving Ltd
Unit F,Daltry Street, Oldham, Lancashire, United KingdomOL1 4AB
Tel: 0161 627 3444 or 0161 622 0022 | Fax: 01706 880520