Many warehouses across the country often overlook damaged rack. The assumption is that because it is still technically working, it’s safe. However, one more small impact on an already damaged rack could be the difference between standing uprights and complete system failure. A failed system can lead to serious injury or death.
Industrial racking damage happens when multiple conditions all converge to impact the engineering capacity of rack components. These conditions can include:
- Overloading frames
- Overloading beams
- Beam damage, improper connection
- Broken or damaged pallets
- Improperly designed aisle width
- Footplate damage
- Strutting damage
- Broken or torn components
- Insufficient heights between beam levels
- Poor lighting
The greatest asset a company should protect is the employee. Creating a safe work environment is the single most important priority an employer can establish. How can you set a safe work environment?
- Set safe working standards.
- Abide by OSHA, IBC, ANSI and RMI regulations.
- Ensure racking is protected and undamaged.
Inspecting the Racking Components
One way to ensure the safety of your warehouse environment is to inspect or have an engineering consultant inspect the racking components. Minor to severe column damage can be located under, over, or even behind the beam connection. This creates a false sense of security because it looks like the beam to column connection is working, but contact from a pallet load or forklift can twist and shear the column in half.
Inspecting column deflection is a good way to avoid a failed system. Corner column damage is relatively more critical than damage to the front and sides of columns. However, inspecting both front and back leg columns for deformation is important, as well.
A rule of thumb for column deflection: anything greater than ½” will need to be replaced. Column strutting works within the same capacity.
Allowable beam deflection is measured by length of beam divided by 180. This will give you an allowable beam deflection in inches. Residual vertical beam deformation should not exceed 20% of normal deflection under load. Residual lateral deformation should not exceed 40% of the normal vertical deflection under load.
Unload and replace any beam with visible deformation or cracking of the beam connection immediately. Beams should always engage with proper safety locks that abide by RMI standards and have a specific upward shearing force.
After identifying the damaged rack, repair kits can be applied to the specifications needed for any application. A repair kit is a spliced section of column and strutting that replaces the trouble area. Most repair kits are reinforced and have the ability to add safety features, like welded-on column protectors or deflectors.
Installers use specialty lifts to install repair kits. These lifts allow the distribution of the loads above and next to the damaged section to transfer to the jack. This means you do not have to unload the product from your rack, something you would need to do if replacing the upright entirely. This saves time, labor, and installation costs. A supervisor rack engineer must approve all rack repair.
Finally, repair kits are almost always less expensive than replacing the damaged rack in terms of time, effort and cost.
Avoiding damage altogether should be the first priority. Whether your rack safety requires something as simple as 12”H floor mounted column protectors or guard rail, safety equipment is an important feature your warehouse should opt to fulfill.
Investing money to sure-up equipment can save you thousands of dollars by protecting your stored product from damage. This not only maintains a safe environment, but also saves you the money it would cost for replacement items. Safety equipment is an essential tool to efficiently run a warehouse.
Get in touch with us to discuss rack inspections and repairs!