Pallet racking failure can be catastrophic to both products and warehouse staff. By nature, they are often holding a lot of weight at multiple heights which poses a large risk. These issues can be avoided, so what are they and what is the solution?
Top causes of pallet racking failure:
Unbalanced pallet loads
The items that are stored on the pallet and the arrangement in which they are stored is one of the most common causes of pallet racking failure. Firstly, the in balanced load will put unnecessary stress on the pallet which will cause it to break. This is a particularly devastating situation if you have no additional support as a contingency. Unbalanced loads can also cause unnecessary stress on a wire mesh deck causing deflection or breakages.
The solution: Every time a pallet is loaded, it should be uniformly distributed. This means the weight is spread evenly across the surface are of the pallet. Not only will this avoid uneven weight on the pallet put also spread the weight across more of the support bars on a mesh deck reducing the chances of deflection.
Inaccurate bay loading
Inaccurate bay loading can pose a risk to your stock and your warehouse operatives. An improperly positioned pallet can very easily come crashing down. This is one of the most common accidents that happen in a warehouse that leads to damaged and unsellable stock.
The solution: QTS have a few solutions to this. Firstly, you can add an upstand to the rear of the easySHELF™ mesh decks. This will act as a backstop for operatives when loading so they know the pallet is all the way on. Secondly, the easyDIVIDERS™ can be added to split the bay which helps to ensure the pallet isn’t too far to the left or right of the bay. Lastly, adding rackGUARDIAN™ anti-collapse mesh can also be added to the rear of the system to stop pallets falling onto the walkways behind.
Overloading pallets and racking systems with too much weight seems like an obvious thing to avoid – but it still happens.
The solution: Pallets and mesh decks have a maximum load capacity outlined very clearly. Make sure that all staff are trained and that the load capacity for each run of racking is displayed at the end of each run. At QTS, we adapt the designs of our mesh deck to suit the storage requirements. This is done by adding support bars, increasing the wire diameter, or swapping to a cradle deck.
Poor warehouse design
The design phase of a warehouse is imperative to its safety and functionality. A common mistake is not leaving enough space between the aisles. This means it is a tight squeeze for warehouse operators to squeeze pallets through. It can also make it difficult for them to load and unload the racking system. A narrow aisle increases the likelihood of an operator crashing into the racking system which can cause catastrophic damage.
The solution: Know exactly what you will be storing. This way you can design the space to accommodate for any items that would cause difficulties. It may be that you need to use a different storage solution for these items. For example, storing long posts on a normal pallet racking bay is not suitable. Instead, you can use canti-lever racking.
Lack of training and awareness
In a warehouse setting, all staff should be trained in the relevant health and safety precautions to ensure that all risks are minimised. Improper use of equipment, lack of awareness, distractions and even rushing can all lead to accidents.
The solution: Start by putting all your training plans and standard operating procedures down on paper and save them in a place that is accessible by all. Every new member of staff should go through the same training procedure. Following training, staff performance and training top-ups should be a regular occurrence. This will mitigate the risk of bad habits arising or staff forgetting things. No one other than fully qualified forklift drivers should be operating forklifts as they have been specially trained to load and unload safely.
If you are having issues with pallet racking failures or would like to prevent future incidents, contact one of the team for a free consultation