Pallet racking safety is crucial for warehouse operations. Following a warehouse racking maintenance guide helps facility owners, managers and operators maintain a safe and efficient work environment. Scheduling professional inspections is crucial, but you can increase safety by examining your pallet racks regularly and requesting maintenance if damage occurs.
Why Is Quality Warehouse Racking Necessary?
Quality warehouse racking is necessary because it allows you to store and organize your materials safely and efficiently. Pallet racking enhances warehouse operations because it improves organization and streamlines processes. Installing quality pallet racks and keeping them in good condition helps you maintain fast production and deliver products on time.
Why Is Racking Maintenance Important?
Warehouse racking maintenance is necessary because it keeps employees, equipment, products and facilities safe. While warehouse racks are durable, they still require upkeep to prevent damage and remain in the best condition. Maintenance prevents damage that could compromise your rack’s strength and your facility’s safety.
Rack maintenance also ensures your company complies with important pallet racking safety regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces warehouse storage requirements to ensure companies provide safe work environments for their employees. Maintaining your pallet racks helps your facility remain within OSHA regulations.
Guide to Racking Maintenance
The most important part of pallet rack maintenance is hiring a professional to approve and perform changes or repairs. As a facility owner, manager or operator, you can examine your pallet rack components with the following warehouse racking inspection checklist:
1. Frame Columns
Forklifts and pallet loading can damage rack columns. During your inspection, check each rack’s upright front and rear column to ensure it is straight and damage-free. You will need to schedule professional maintenance if any frame columns are twisted.
2. Frame Braces
It’s also essential to inspect horizontal and diagonal rack braces. Ensure there is no missing or bent bracing, and check that all welds are in good condition. You should also check the rack’s anchors to ensure they are secured to the baseplates. Racks typically have one anchor secured to each baseplate. Request professional assistance if you notice any loose anchors or baseplates that are missing anchors.
3. Wire Deck
Inspect your pallet rack structure’s wire deck to maintain safety. Make sure each pallet load is arranged in a uniform manner across each beam level to maintain even weight distribution, and contact a professional if you notice any mesh is bending or bowing. You should also check to ensure each mesh deck’s welds are in good condition and free of breaks.
4. Cross Beams
Make sure all bolts and safety clips are in place and securely connect the rack’s beams and frames. You should also inspect the cross beams to ensure they are free of frontal damage. Cross beams are also prone to downward impact, so check each beam to ensure it’s not twisted, bent or bowed.
Check all safety locks, connectors and clips to ensure they are in place and in good condition. Replace broken parts and safety locks immediately to prevent damage.
Inspecting Different Types of Pallet Racks
Push-back pallet racks store light or small items in tight spaces. Drive-in racks hold heavier or larger items in open-floor spaces. Each type of rack requires a slightly different inspection method. You can inspect each type of rack system in the following ways:
If you are inspecting a push-back rack, it’s essential to focus on the rack’s push-back carts and rails. Check the push-back carts’ following components:
- Flow carts
Each push-back cart should be in proper alignment, and the welds should be tight. Check to make sure all wheels and hardware are present and in good condition. To inspect the rack’s push-back rails, examine the following components and factors:
- Rail alignment
Check to make sure rails are in alignment and welds are secure. You should also clear debris and clean the rails if needed, and make sure all hardware is tight.
Drive-in racks require rail and bracing inspection. Inspect your drive-in rack’s rails for the following complications:
- Broken welds between the rails and arms
- Rail deformation
- Rail plumbness
- Missing or loose hardware
A drive-in rack’s rails should have secure welds between each rail and arm. Rails should also be in good condition, and the hardware should be secure. A plumb rack is completely straight and vertical, making it safe for use. You should schedule professional maintenance if you notice any racks are out-of-plumb and leaning to the side.
When you inspect the drive-in rack’s vertical and horizontal bolted bracing, make sure the braces are secure and not bent, and check for any missing or loose hardware.
When to Inspect Pallet Racking
Pallet racking inspection frequency depends on a facility’s atmosphere and risk level. You should schedule a professional inspection at least once annually, but more frequent inspections should take place if there is a higher risk of stacking collapse or forklift collision damage.
Annual or Bi-Annual Inspections
If your pallet racks hold light or minimal items and your facility has low forklift traffic, wide aisles and climate control, an annual or bi-annual inspection may be sufficient. However, you should schedule more frequent inspections if you store heavy objects and your warehouse has heavy forklift traffic, a cold atmosphere or narrow aisles.
Quarterly or Monthly Inspections
Warehouses with a medium racking damage risk should schedule quarterly inspections, and facilities with a high racking damage risk should schedule monthly inspections. You should also schedule professional maintenance as soon as a collision or damage occurs to ensure repairs before the damage worsens.
How to Maintain a Safe Warehouse
You can maintain a safe warehouse with the following rules and regulations:
- Stack warehouse racks according to their sizes, dimensions and weight restrictions.
- Avoid exceeding a rack’s maximum load limit.
- Contact professionals to perform repairs and order replacements as soon as you notice damage.
- Only order replacement parts from the original equipment supplier.
- Check beams and racks often to ensure they have good structural integrity.
- Clean and paint bare metal to prevent rusting and damage.
- Inspect pallets for damage and cracks.
- Prevent racking damage with rack protectors and column guards.
- Train employees to use forklifts properly and practice safe pallet loading and unloading.
- Display safety guidelines and safe operational instructions throughout your facility.
Equip Your Warehouse With Quality Pallet Racks
Maintaining pallet racks is essential for a safe facility and efficient processes. Installing high-quality pallet racks makes inspections and maintenance easier because it reduces the risk of damage and wear. If you want to install new warehouse racking, need to replace your existing racking or plan to expand your operations, Tennessee Rack can help.
Tennessee Rack designs custom rack systems built for durability and reliability. Our expert team has the knowledge and experience to properly install pallet racks while adhering to regulations, helping you maintain a safe facility and prevent damage. Contact us to learn more about pallet racking systems and request a quote.