Have you gotten a chuckle from the video’s on You tube showing catastrophic Pallet Racking System collapses? Amusing…until it happens to you and then the nightmare begins.

Rack system failure causes costly product & equipment damage, lost productivity and even Employee injury or death…and don’t forget possible OSHA involvement. If you are responsible, it is important to understand the causes so you can focus on how to ensure safety and reduce risk.

The following are the most frequent causes of Pallet Racking System Failures:

  • Overloading beyond the engineered weight capacity.
  • Lift Truck Operator Training is not up to date and there is no on-going program.
  • Damaged Rack and equipment abuse is a major cause of failure.
  • Penny Pinching thru purchase of “used racking” products or understating true capacity requirements to reduce rack materials cost.
  • Mixed Components from different rack manufacturers that don’t guarantee performance to your original design specifications.
  • Altering the Rack Configuration can change the original engineered capacities.
  • Wrong Lift Equipment can lead to rack damage that was unforeseen in the original design.

These mistakes can be avoided by taking control of your pallet racking storage system from original design to on-going maintenance and inspection.

Designing a System that Properly Integrates the Correct Equipment

A poor design or miscommunication about operational parameters in the early stages of the system design can set the stage for future failure. Selecting a rack provider who can assist you in performing a complete evaluation of your operation so that you can develop concept drawings and criteria for the most effective and safe materials handling system is prudent.

Pallet positions, thru-put analysis, slotting configurations and lifting equipment clearances should all be part of your discussions. A CAD system layout should be developed and reviewed by your management team. Also, anticipate future growth or changes to your business that may be built into the design and capacity requirements. Consider fire protection, lighting and egress requirements into the design as well as safety precautions to reduce damage caused by rack impact, ie. post protection, end protectors, rub rails and reinforced columns.

Ongoing Best Safety Practices & Maintenance

Conduct Rack Safety Audits

It is important to keep a set of drawings reflecting you current rack configuration. This can be used to conduct periodic safety audits to ensure that configuration changes haven’t occurred that could affect structural integrity. Develop a schedule for periodic rack safety inspections to identify damaged rack components. If damage is identified, immediate steps should be taken to repair or replace.

Develop Operator Driver Training Program

It is mandated by OSHA and critical to warehouse safety that you develop and maintain a Comprehensive Equipment Safety Training Program for all new Operators as well as on-going driver training.

Barclay’s warehouse products team works with quality rack manufacturers and installers to provide complete materials handling systems from design to installation.  We offer rack safety audit services and driver training for your warehouse personnel.  Give us a call or contact us if you would like to audit or expand your current storage system or have plans for an entirely new system.


Barclay Brand Ferdon
2401 S Clinton Avenue
South Plainfield, NJ 07080
(908) 561-2100