Not all pallets can be safely stored on pallet racking

Not all pallets can be safely stored on pallet racking

The wooden base may be designed for horizontal movement, a primary example being the disposable pallet. While it can be of a 1000mm x 1200mm four way entry bottom perimeter slat design, the slats and blocks may not be designed to take the point loads that arise when the pallet is stored on racking load beams.

Wooden pallet bases can be designed for storage on racking in a particular orientation.

The pallet’s gross weight may exceed the loading for which the rack is designed. Certain frozen products such as plate frozen squid and MDM (mechanically deboned meat) can have a gross weights which exceed what the pallet height suggests.


The product stack can exceed the dimensions of the wooden base. Even small product overlaps are dangerous as they reduce the gaps between the pallet and the frames. This can result in boxes being pulled off pallets as they are being put away or retrieved. Rack frames which are in contact with pallet loads will be pushed or pulled by the forklift during the put away or retrieval process. At high level the forces exerted on the rack frames can be considerable.

not-all-pallets-can-safely-stored-pallet-rackingPallets with missing slats or blocks will not sit safely on racking beams. The dangers of a falling pallet load are obvious. Removing a jammed but broken wooden pallet at high level is extremely dangerous as it cannot be lifted out with a reach truck forks and the product must be removed manually.

Tall pallets, especially high cube fruit pallets, although normally well stowed with disposable corner protection, can develop a “lean” during local transport. Any amount of lean effectively widens the pallet. Pallet lean should be corrected either in a pallet invertor or manually before being placed in racking. Attempting to straighten the pallet by using the forklift’s side shift and the rack frame is not a good idea.

Plastic pallets, although they can look exactly the same as wooden ones, have different characteristics, even with non- slip corner pads. If the pads are still in place, plastic pallets can still slip off load beams. In freezer applications they can become brittle especially if stowed with the 1000mm side facing the access aisle.

Plastic pallet being used in a cold store and supported on a wire mesh deck

Pallets vary in height and may require the rack load beams to be moved either upwards or downwards to make best use of space. This should not be done without first consulting the rack supplier as the weight that the racking can safely carry is related to the position of the load beams in the frame height.

It is in the nature of the storage and logistics industry that unit loads will change. Sometimes it’s obvious as with increased pallet height and sometimes it isn’t as with the wooden pallet base design. Warehouse managers need to check all new pallet types and loads to make sure they can be safely stored in their existing racking.

Pallet Support Beams


If a problem is identified, speak to us on 021 552 9190 or your rack supplier, as there are a number of solutions available, including pallet support beams and either mesh or wooden decks.

Barpro Storage SA –