Posted April 1, 2024

Rack Maintenance: Ensuring Safety and Longevity in Your Warehouse

In any yard or warehouse environment, maintenance of racking systems is not only a matter of operational efficiency but also a crucial element of safety. Ignoring damage to these structural components can pose serious safety risks to both employees and customers. This article will highlight the key areas to inspect. Sites should undergo daily inspections for urgent issues and semi-annual checks for operational suitability.

Storage Equipment

To ensure the safety and longevity of your warehouse, the suitability of the storage equipment is paramount. Each check is essential to ensure that your racks can safely hold the loads they’re assigned and that they’re not at risk of failing.

Racking Suitability Checks

  • Load Notices and Stability: Verify that load notices are visible and legible. Inspect that all the products being stored on the racks are within the specified load range.
  • Rack Configuration and Layout: Check the layout and configuration of racks, keeping an eye out for any irregularities or changes that could compromise the storage system’s stability. Examples of potential issues include improper spacing between levels, using more levels than the system was designed for, or having damaged or missing rack components.


Racking Maintenance Checks

These checks include inspecting all connections to identify and address any potential issues early, such as:

  • Missing or Loose Bolts: Examine every bolt and nut at each connection. Replace and tighten any that are missing, damaged, or loose. Use a torque wrench to measure and adjust the torque of each connection to meet the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Bent, Damaged, or Overloaded Arms: Replace any arm compromised by fork contact or being overloaded. Do not attempt to straighten.
  • Cracked or Damaged Welds: Replace affected parts.
  • Damaged Horizontal and Diagonal Bracing: Replace any bent or broken angles or flat bar straps.
  • Tighten Anchors: Proper anchor tension is crucial for effective structural support. Adjust the anchor’s position, ensure it is tightly secured, and routinely check for signs of loosening over time.
  • Leaning or Bowing Rack Columns: Also known as Out-of-Plumb and Out-of-Straight Rack Ratios. Remedy by unloading the rack, then loosening the columns to straighten or shim them, then re-tighten bolts. If using shims, they should be at least as wide as the bases and/or columns but should not exceed three inches. Inspect beam connectors for any bending or deformation caused by the lean. After correcting the lean, you should re-inspect the entire rack system to ensure there are no further issues. Finally, reload the rack carefully, taking care not to exceed its load capacity to prevent future leaning or bowing.


Red Risks Associated with Rack Damage

These are urgent hazards that require immediate offloading and attention. We recommend daily site inspections to identify and address these issues. Each facility should provide proper training for operational reporting to remediate these issues:

  • Column Damage: Columns bent in the direction of the run where a gap between the upright and straight edge is noticeable. Any noticeable damage to the web or flange significantly compromises the structural integrity of the column.
  • Lateral Arm Damage: Arms damaged in the same direction of the run, often resulting in column damage. Address any lateral deformation noticeable when viewed from the front.
  • Horizontal Arm Damage: Arm loads with any permanent deflection after the load is removed.
  • Brace Damage: Bent brace members in either plane.
  • Base Damage: Any significant rotation may be a consequence of anchor failure or substantial damage to the web or flange, usually due to an excessive load exerted on the column and bracing member.


Mechanical Equipment Health

Material handling equipment, including forklifts, conveyors, and pallet jacks, plays a crucial role in warehouse operations. Ensuring their compatibility with tasks is critical. This means they should be suited to the physical dimensions of the warehouse and the items being handled. They should also be capable of bearing the weight and volume of the goods being moved.

In addition, a well-defined maintenance schedule should be in place. Regular checks and servicing ensure the equipment is in good condition and help identify potential issues early, reducing the risk of breakdowns.

General Operations

The day-to-day operations of a warehouse also play a significant role in maintaining safety and efficiency. This includes storage protocols such as using correct pallets or cradles, damaged item locations and reporting, and damaged equipment reporting. It’s important to have a set procedure for corrective actions, ensuring that any issues identified are dealt with promptly and effectively.

Regular inspections and maintenance are not just obligations but investments in the safety and efficiency of your warehouse. Ignoring these tasks exposes your employees and customers to potential risks and can lead to costly repairs and downtime. Investing in quality storage solutions from Dexco not only ensures the durability and reliability of your storage equipment but also provides peace of mind knowing that you are prioritizing the safety and well-being of everyone in your warehouse.


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