Pallet Racking Safety

Pallet Racking Safety- Pallet racking, whether mobile or conventionally fixed, supports heavy loads at considerable heights, and the result of accidents can be catastrophic. At the very least costly hardware and product damage, not to mention lost time – at the worst personnel can get hurt or even killed. For these reasons it is vital to adopt and maintain safe practices at all times.

The first rule of rack safety is correct usage.

Always ensure that the rack is being used for its intended purpose. Clear signage should always indicate vital information about loading capacities, load dimensions, etc. and these must never be exceeded. No alterations to the racking should ever be made without approval from the original supplier.

The second rule is simply summed up as operator training.

Handling equipment drivers who are not adequately trained, and made fully aware of the potential dangers of carelessness.

One aspect that does require attention is the policing and management of forklift drivers. This can only be achieved by managers and supervisors walking around in the stores on a daily basis, and “pulling drivers over” for minor infringements. This will help to prevent major ones at a later date.

Pallet Racking Safety
Static Pallet Rack Collapse

The picture above illustrates the sort of thing that happens all too often. In a battle between rack and forklift, the rack will always lose – and this typifies the usual result.


This total collapse is fairly extreme; but more insidious – and often not taken sufficient notice of – are frequent on-going minor collisions between forklift and rack. The rack sustains minor damage, often to beams, more usually to the lower sections of the upright, that gradually weakens the structural integrity of the rack. This gradual weakening of the structure can lead to sudden and unprovoked collapse with inevitable results.

Which leads us to the third – and possibly most important – rule for rack safety:

Regular inspection, and reporting of damages

Damage inspections need to become an integral part of daily management in any racked warehouse or store. All personnel need to be aware and involved, with ultimate responsibility delegated to a manager, or at least senior supervisor –  this person in turn reporting regularly to top general management.

Noticeable damage to uprights or beams is the obvious problem, but some of the additional points to be looked for are excessively bent beams, missing beam locks, unstable loads, damaged pallets, bad house-keeping, and careless attitudes.

Inspection of all racks should be conducted routinely and systematically at least monthly, whereby any and all damage is noted, recorded, and reported to the responsible authority. If any doubt exists regarding the seriousness of the situation, then expert opinion needs to be sought – either from the rack supplier or a professional inspector.

New racking (second-hand is a no-go) from a reputable supplier has invariably been carefully designed by qualified engineers to perform the functions required of it – but although safety factors are always built into the design, gross misuse is not anticipated and cannot be factored in.

Ultimately rack safety is your responsibility.


Read more – Rack Safety Inspections

Read more – SEIRS / SEMA Rack Training

Read more – Pallet Racking Beam Safety Clips