Pallet Racking Collapses: What Leads to Them & How to Avoid It

3 Mins read

Warehouse storage racks from strong metals can hold inventory over several years, They feature heavy-duty rack beams, sturdy anchors, and uprights that can handle multiple weights. All these factors combined form a sturdy racking for storage that can sustain years of loading and unloading. 

These racks are susceptible to wearing, rusting, and collisions, causing them to collapse. When pallet racks collapse, they lead to inventory loss and can even injure staff. Therefore, managers must understand the causes of such collapses and how to avoid them.

What Causes Pallet Racking Collapses?

  1. Damage from Forklifts

Forklifts are the center of operations for most warehouses. It is undoubtedly accurate that these machines handle all the loading and unloading of heavy loads to store them appropriately. However, forklifts also cause too much damage upon colliding with the pallet racking systems. They mostly cause these racks to bend or collapse under heavy impact. Even by brushing off the surface finish, they expose the bare metal to rust which deteriorates over time.

  1. Pallet Rack Overloading

All racking for storage comes with specific weight-bearing capacities from the manufacturers. Overloading these racks puts pressure on the beams, which can bend or break, leading to collapsing. Such sagging or bending also affects the shelves, which can be a risk factor because they will collapse without timely addressing the damage.

  1. Poor Designs and Layouts

The design and layout of a warehouse or distribution center are crucial for peak productivity and efficiency. The space available should consider size, accessibility, aisle width, load capacity, and other calculations to provide enough space in the warehouse. However, if the pallet racking system lacks enough space for ground operations, it increases the risk of collision with various machinery and equipment.

  1. Uneven Weight Distribution

Even though there is a specific load capacity for each racking for storage, operators must understand how to distribute weight evenly across the beams. These racks have welded and fabricated edges that are subject to joint weakness. Therefore, uneven loading and poor weight distribution lead to more stress on one side of the racks leading to collapse.

  1. Unprofessional Installation

Modern racks feature compact designs that are easy to install. Nevertheless, they require specialized knowledge and equipment for proper installation. Sometimes unprofessional installation may lead to errors in placing components. In addition, installation errors in the base plates, spacers, and shims can impact the structural integrity of racks and affect the load capacity, subjecting the entire structure to damage.

How to Avoid Pallet Racks from Collapsing

  1. Choosing Desirable Racks

One way to avoid collapsing racks in a warehouse is using application-specific storage racks. For example, warehouses and distribution centers handling heavy odd-shaped goods can consider cantilever racking designed for heavy-duty storage. In addition, using a high-strength rack system would be ideal in environments that handle a lot of inventory because they are less affected when forklifts collide with them.

  1. Inspecting Pallet Racks Regularly

Warehouse management must prioritize inspection routines to ensure the racks are operating well. This process makes it easier to identify potential problems before they become catastrophic. In addition, it gives enough time to replace rusting or bent racks with new ones before they collapse. In the routine inspection schedules, it would be necessary to have a health and safety expert assess the warehouse storage systems to ensure everything is up to standards.

  1. Optimum Aisle Width

As mentioned above, forklifts cause the most accidents that damage pallet racking systems. This equipment can travel up to 10 meters per second even when heavily loaded with products. A mistake could cause a collision that damages the racks and endangers everyone in the warehouse. It is, therefore, essential to increase isle clearance to provide more space for forklifts and other employees to move around. By minimizing clutter, forklift drivers can also know what lies ahead to avoid veering off the path.

  1. Installing Rack Protection

Rack protection systems provide a cost-effective option for improving the stability of warehouse storage systems. Components like aisle guards, guide rails, column protectors, and other equipment prevent damage to the SKUs and racking pallets upon impact with forklifts and other machinery. These protective elements are available in different configurations, and all warehouses can access solutions that fit their needs.

  1. Professional Installation

Pallet racking installation is a complex process that you should approach carefully. Warehouse managers and operators must take adequate time planning, organizing equipment, and finding installation experts. Reputable pallet racking manufacturers have factory-trained installation professionals who are ISO certified. These individuals can ensure high-quality installations in all storage setups.

Considering all the factors mentioned above, warehouse managers and employees can take more steps to improve the quality of the work environment. Ensuring pallet racking systems are upright and strong is crucial for holding loads depending on the weight capacities.

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