Causes of Pallet Racking Collapses and Ways to Prevent Them

There’s nothing worse than a pallet racking collapsing inside a warehouse. They not only affect the smooth running of the business but also cause harm to their workers and goods. While pallet racks are known for their strength and structural integrity, accidental collapses cannot be ruled out in their entirety. A collapse may impact warehouse inventory management and operational productivity.
Due to the devastating effects pallet racking collapses can cause, warehouses need to be aware of the possible causes and ways to prevent these accidents.

In this blog, we will be examining the risks of pallet rack collapses, their causes, and measures to be taken to prevent them. At DONRACKS, as a leading pallet rack supplier in India, we design robust pallet racks with these insights in mind. Learn more from our experts.

What Are the Risks of Pallet Rack Collapse?

Pallet collapses can cause irreparable damage to businesses, much worse than you could ever imagine. From contract loss and property damages to injuries to warehouse employees, pallet rack collapse may bring several challenges to business operations and resources. Below we discuss a few of these.

Injury:

Pallet collapses can lead to injuries at warehouses. In some cases, the injuries can be fatal.

Property damage:

When pallets collapse, the goods placed on them, as well as those below, are at risk. Stocks may also suffer significant financial losses if this occurs.

Fine:

The business owners may be subjected to hefty fines under PUWER, Provision of Work Equipment Regulations, if they fail to make the warehouse safe and in working order. Owners may even face prosecution if the mishap results in serious injuries or large losses.

Business downtime:

Pallet collapses can result in piles of debris that can take time to clean up. Cleanup can stall business operations and reduce overall productivity.

Loss of business:

This is certainly the worst aspect of pallet collapses. If pallet collapses result in cancellations of customer orders, the chances are high that they won’t renew their contracts. The result is a loss of business and a negative reputation for the business.

Business operations can be adversely affected by pallet racking collapses. However, did you know that most of them can be prevented? You heard it right. Let us help you figure out why pallets collapse and what measures you can take to avoid these freak mishaps.

Top 6 Reasons Why Pallet Racks Collapse

Several factors can contribute to the collapse of a pallet rack in a warehouse. We will discuss each in detail.

Unsupervised Forklifts

Forklifts are an essential part of warehouses. There is no doubt about it. In fact, these heavyweight and automated lifting machines do half the job of lifting heavy cargoes and placing them in appropriate places. The automated machines in a warehouse, however, are often the reason for the worst pallet collapses, when they are left unsupervised. Their weight and speed can inadvertently cause freak accidents when inexperienced employees operate them.

Overloaded pallet racks

Pallet racks have a specified weight-bearing capacity. When these are overloaded, they are more likely to collapse. Overloaded pallets are susceptible to structural damages and may break if exposed to an external force. Manufacturers usually specify the maximum weight capacity of each pallet. The warehouse management’s responsibility is to inform employees of this and instruct them to load pallets accordingly. To avoid uneven weight distribution, they should also be instructed to load items evenly. Welded joints on pallets should also be checked periodically to prevent accidents.

Untrained or negligent staff

Pallets racks collapsing in warehouses can be prevented if the staff is properly trained and informed about safety measures. Workers within the warehouse must be adequately trained on moving machinery and should also be aware of the safe handling of pallet racks. Understanding the maximum weight capacity of pallets and the type of inventories to be mounted on each pallet rack that prevents them from collapsing is essential.

Bad design or layout

Pallet racking systems must be purchased with future expansion in mind. When business operations grow, pallet systems are expanded or retrofitted to accommodate more cargoes. Some of these systems might not qualify for add-ons, and inappropriate fittings can cause the whole system to fail. Before altering the pallet system layouts, it is crucial that business owners consider the sustainability of racks, the operational load stress of forklifts, and the forklift speed and travel distance. Remember, a faulty estimation of these determinants can result in the collapse of the pallet racking system.

Improper installation

Rack collapses can also be a result of incorrect installations. As the best rack suppliers in the country, we are aware of the weight limits pallets racks are capable of holding. Faulty installations can, however, weaken these properties or even damage the entire pallet racking system. The installation team must ensure that everything from the decking to the support struts is installed correctly. The team must work together to ensure safety.

Upright and beam overloading

Racks are subjected to vertical and horizontal stresses. The horizontal stress is distributed over the beams, whereas the vertical stress is distributed over the uprights. Both beams and uprights are designed to withstand specific stresses. Overloading can cause them to bend or even break. Therefore, employees should be aware of the bending and stop overloading pallets.

The above reasons are among the most common reasons pallet racking systems fail. This can be prevented with the right measures and skill training. Here are seven foolproof methods that our experts use at our facility to prevent pallet rack collapses.

How to Prevent a Pallet Rack From Collapsing?

Training forklift drivers:

Forklift drivers are trained on safety practices inside warehouses. We make sure that forklift drivers:

  • Complete OSHA-approved safety courses
  • Are trained in racking system maintenance and forklift operational limits
  • Are encouraged to report damages immediately.
  • Are supervised and managed consistently
  • Are encouraged not to climb on pallet racks when picking.
  • Are instructed to drive vehicles at allowed speeds and be mindful of safety practices.

Improving visibility:

An improved visibility inside warehouses can reduce many accidents. Make sure low-lit areas inside the warehouses are well lit and that drivers can clearly see obstacles. Installing wide-angle convex mirrors allows forklift drivers to have better visibility of surrounding areas. They must be installed at intersections and corners.

Checking racks regularly:

A regular inspection of pallet racking can detect wear and tear. Warehouses employ trained inspectors to check for corrosion, damaged uprights or beams, structural integrity, overloading, row alignment, and floor conditions.

Facilitating repairs/ replacements:

Maintenance of pallet racks is just as important as any other machine. Continual monitoring of pallet racks allows employees to determine whether anything needs to be repaired or replaced. Ensure that the replacements are suitable for the entire system and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ensuring aisle clearance:

A regular inspection of aisles and ensuring that they remain clutter-free allows forklift drivers to manoeuvre easily.

Labeling load tolerances on racks:

Defining and labeling load tolerances allows drivers to identify what loads are stacked on a rack. Drivers are also trained to stack these loads evenly to keep the racks balanced.

Choosing appropriate racks:

Determining the type of racks appropriate to the warehouse size and environment prevents rack collapse to a great extent. For instance, high-strength structural racks and closed tubes are resistant to forklift collisions. Similarly, warehouses in earthquake-prone areas must consider installing racks with seismic specifications.

DONRACKS- The best pallet rack suppliers of India

With the manufacturing and logistics industries experiencing exponential growth in India, warehouses have become busier and more dangerous. The result has been an increase in pallet rack accidents. The causes and prevention methods described above provide a comprehensive look at how to prevent these accidents. The DONRACKS Company, a leading pallet racks supplier in India, has been aware of these facts and has offered its customers the best racking solutions for years.

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