Let’s face it, no material handler is perfect
Your pallet racking is almost certainly going to sustain some level of damage form forklift impact. Pallet racking is designed to withstand a level damage. Hopefully your pallet racking is tied back to walls or other racks, which should prevent the catastrophic event. However, there is no excuse for leaving very damaged components in a system. They are bound to fail with repeated loading, and having many damaged components may weaken the entire system. When damage happens, take these steps to limit the negative effects.
Take pictures and record location
A warehouse manager probably doesn’t hear about every little damage incident, but they probably notice many damaged components over time. Once in a while, a significant collision event gets everyone’s attention and demands immediate action. Whenever you discover the damage, it is wise to take a few pictures and record location and severity of the damage. This will help you keep on top of accumulating damage. It also lets your material handlers know that you take safety seriously. Later this documentation will help the racking maintenance process.
Remove all product supported by damaged component
This is an important step that must be done with extreme caution as components may come loose. (In extreme cases you should call a pallet racking installer to perform this work). You want to remove the product because damaged components may no longer have the strength to hold that product continually. Often the components connection is compromised after impact. Damaged connections are extremely vulnerable to failure. What’s worse, it may be hard to see the damaged connection, so it will be easy to forget. You want to make it clear to your employees that the component should not be used. Damage stickers or caution tape are advisable to drive this point home.
Remove any hanging components
In no case should beams or decking be allowed to hang without full support at their designed connection points. If a component is partially detached, have your maintenance team remove it immediately. Removing the front beams of a section also sends the signal that this section cannot be loaded. But be careful that you are not removing any components that are keeping other components secure.
Contact your pallet racking professional
A good installation company is familiar with the safest practices for removing, replacing or repairing damaged components. Some severe damage needs to be removed as soon as possible. Your photos will help the professional determine urgency. In most cases, minor damage to uprights can go a while before being a considerable safety threat. The racking professional will be able to determine which components are of primary concern.
Schedule a damage survey with your racking professional
They will come to your facility, identify damaged components, record severity and specify replacement or repair based on industry standards. Beams and decking are generally quite easy to replace with the right equipment. However, upright replacement can be more complicated and labor intensive. You will need to remove all product on either side of the upright, and you’ll need to buy a new upright and dispose of the old. Upright repair kits are an alternative solution that can be installed without the need to move your product. The cost is comparable to replacement and generally requires much less effort on your part.
Pallet racking is built to sustain some damage, but letting it accumulate in your warehouse is a big gamble. Get in the habit of recording damage incidents, and stop loading components once they’ve been significantly compromised. Get to know a good pallet racking professional who can maintain your racking system. Working with them will help you understand which types of damage are temporarily acceptable and which need urgent attention.