Pallet Rack Safety

A question came into the office from one of our remote salespeople that peaked some interest. The customer had asked about damaged pallet rack. They are looking at reconfiguring their current warehouse space and during this time it will be easy to replace the damaged uprights. The client had requested information relating the amount of damage to a correlating reduction in capacity.

This created a bit of a problem on our end. The information he was seeking doesn’t really exist. As an example, a pallet rack upright can be damaged in a multitude of ways, and each way would affect capacity with differing magnitude. An impacted crease to an upright is different than torsion damage, for example. So, we went digging for a response.

We decided that the best course of action would be to reference the Rack Manufacturers Institute, part of the MHIA (Material Handling Industry of America). There are three really excellent points of reference in their FAQ’s.

1. What should I do if a rack upright column or other component is damaged?

The RMI Specification states, “Upon any visible damage, the pertinent portions of the rack shall be unloaded immediately by the user and the damaged portion shall be adequately repaired or replaced.” If the damage were to re-occur, the application of the racks should be reviewed to see if modifications could be made to lessen the severity or the frequency of the damage. Forklift driver training is essential.

2. What is an acceptable repair of a damaged rack component?

The detail used to make an acceptable repair should be designed or reviewed by a qualified design engineer and installed by people who are qualified to make the repair. The rack repair should be reviewed for compliance with the ANSI/RMI MH 16.1 Specification. A good repair will result in a structural member or connection that is at least as strong as the original.

When welding is prescribed, the welders must be certified for the types of welded joint required.

3. How far out-of-plumb can my rack be before I need to repair it?

The ANSI/RMI Specification shows the maximum out-of-plumb ratio for a loaded rack column as 1/2” per 10 feet of height. Columns whose out-of-plumb ratio exceeds this limit must be unloaded and re-plumbed. Any damaged parts must be repaired or replaced. This ratio could be used for straightness also.