Chris O'Brien

Chris O'Brien


My take on ‘racking inspections’ is based around the knowledge regarding their necessity and how this can benefit the customer.

Upon completion of a successful pallet racking installation, the layout and installation is signed off and handed over to the customer to utilise the way they intend. For some customers the layout may differ from a previous aisle width design which can take some training and familiarity with the fork lift truck operator. This reduction from a standard aisle width to a narrow aisle width can cause some damage to the system during the loading of the pallets.

A legal requirement is to have the pallet racking layout inspected by a technically qualified person. This inspection will be undertaken and the full system examined to highlight any damages or areas of concern. Whilst it may seem an unnecessary requirement to have a list of damaged bracing or beams, the damages (should they exceed the acceptable damage limits) can have a detrimental effect upon the strength of the system. In turn, this could potentially cause a full system failure and at the extreme, a loss of a life. This is the reason racking inspections should be thoroughly planned and carried out within guidelines.

Whilst the annual inspection could miss damage caused directly after a survey, it is recommended that a weekly inspection of the system is carried out by a technically competent member of staff. These weekly inspections will highlight damaged areas where depending upon the severity, will need to be monitored or off-loaded (if safe to do so) and sectioned off, preferably with hazard tape. If possible, the pallet racking locations closed off on the warehouse operating system. Should damage occur, Warehouse Storage Solutions can visit the site to undertake a more detailed inspection of the damaged components and offer a quote for the supply, delivery and repair of the racking. This will allow the locations to be added back into the storage system for loading.

The annual inspection will consist of a fully detailed report with locations, item damaged and the severity. The end of the report will have a lost of all the items compiled into three areas, commonly known as a traffic light system: green, amber and red. The severity of the damage determines the category it falls in.

Red Damage

These are areas of severe damage where the area will need to be off-loaded where safe, and the locations isolated from the warehouse operating system. These cannot be loaded or used until repairs have been undertaken.

Amber Damage

These are areas where damage to the system is obvious and the severity warrants repair work. this can include a dent to the underside of a beam or minor damage to the side of a pallet racing post. Immediate off-loading will not be required but once off-loaded through general use, it is advised that the location is not put back into circulation.

Green Damage

These areas would be identified as areas where very minor damage was noted, but it was sufficient enough to warrant off-loading of the pallets or repair work. These locations should be monitored by the weekly inspection and should the condition deteriorate, the risk should be increased to ‘amber.’

What Level of Damage Determines the Above Categories?

  • Severe damage is simply that.
  • If you suspect damage on a pallet racking frame the limits are as follows:Racking Inspection from Warehouse Storage Solutions
  • Beam deflection can be caused from overloading from pallets being heavier than the loading beams can support. This deflection can cause excessive strain upon the beam and also the pallet racking frame. The maximum a beam can deflect is L/200 e.g. a 2,700mm long beam can deflect a maximum of 13.5mm before it causes concern (2,700mm/200 = 13.5mm).

Alterations carried out can also cause issues with the strength and stability of the system. By simply moving beam levels, this can reduce the amount of loading that the frames are capable of supporting. The load notices should clearly display the current loading of the bay and referred to during loading.

If you feel that a racking inspection is due for your premises, or were unaware that inspections are a legal requirement, please call 01423 819057 or email for a free visit and quotation.

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