Exploring Rack Components: A Guide to Conducting Safety Inspections

Guest blog by MHI Member Company Damotech

Regular visual inspections are vital to ensure the safety and reliability of your racking system. Detecting and promptly addressing any damage or weaknesses can prevent potential accidents and disruptions in your warehouse operations.

This blog will explore the main components of a racking system and share quick inspection tips. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you’ll have the tools to promptly handle any issues, reduce accident risks, and uphold regulatory compliance in your warehouse.

Pallet Rack Uprights

During inspections, it is essential to examine both the front and rear columns carefully. Twisted columns can greatly reduce the rack’s load capacity, posing a safety risk as it may not bear the weight safely.

Pay attention to the following issues:

•  Check if the columns are straight.
•  Look for any evidence of impact.
•  Examine whether the columns are twisted.
•  Check for rust on the columns.
•  Ensure the welds are intact.


Braces are essential for the racking system, as diagonal or horizontal members connect frame columns to form an upright structure. Their main purpose is to counter cross-aisle forces and enhance the overall stability of the racking system.

Check all the horizontal and diagonal braces:

•  Are any braces missing?
•  Do you notice any dents or deflections?
•  Are the braces adequately attached?

Beams and Pallets

Beams are horizontal structural elements that bear the weight of stored loads, usually pallets, and efficiently transfer it to the connected columns. While rack beams can handle heavy loads, they have their capacity limitations.

When evaluating beam and pallet positioning, the following issues should be looked at:

•  Are the beams straight with no deflection when unloaded?
•  Are the beam connectors securely attached to the column?
•  Are safety pins in place?
•  Are bolts adequately torqued?
•  Do the beams appear overloaded?
•  Are the pallets intact and suitable for use, with none missing?

Maintaining the proper condition of pallets is crucial, and several factors must be considered when dealing with damaged pallets. During an inspection, it’s essential to check for various issues, including cracks, glass, odor, contamination, outdated labels, protruding nails, and signs of overloading.

Anchors and Baseplates

Baseplates, also known as footplates, are welded to the bottom of each racking column or repair unit, effectively distributing the system’s weight on the ground. Moreover, baseplates facilitate the secure anchoring of the system using anchor bolts. These anchor bolts, or simply anchors, are responsible for firmly attaching the pallet rack system to the building floor.

Following industry standards, at least one anchor per baseplate is required to secure the racking system to the floor. This configuration significantly enhances the system’s ability to withstand various forces, such as earthquakes, wind, overturning, shear forces, or accidental impacts on the lower ends of the columns.

When you walk the facility and evaluate the anchoring system, review the following issues:

•  Are any anchors missing?
•  Are the anchor bolts damaged, loose, or bent?

Safety Bars

Pallet racks’ front and rear beams support safety bars, providing temporary support for misplaced pallets. Though not mandatory, they are strongly recommended to prevent pallets from falling. Implementing safety bars can significantly reduce the risk of accidents that may result in severe employee injuries or damage to goods and storage systems.

During your inspection, pay particular attention to the following aspects related to safety bars:

•  Are safety bars in place and secured to the beams?
•  Are they positioned at the first and third quarters of pallet width?
•  Are the safety bars preventing pallets from falling through?
•  Are there two safety bars per pallet position?

Other Key Aspects to Keep in Mind During Warehouse Rack Inspections

To ensure the safety of your warehouse racks, there are several additional factors worth considering during inspections:

1. Documentation: Verify that you have updated rack load capacity and configuration drawings for your warehouse racking systems.

2. Employee Training: Ensure your employees are adequately trained to identify rack safety hazards and the procedure for reporting damages.

3. Visual Inspections: Regularly inspect the pallet racking systems in your warehouse.

4. Safety Pins: Check that all safety pins are correctly installed at both ends of the beams.

5. Aisle Conditions: Keep the aisles between your racking systems clear and uncluttered, with proper lighting and ample space for forklift operators.

6. Rack Safety Program: Establish a comprehensive rack safety program encompassing maintenance and inspection procedures.

7. Installation Compliance: Verify that the racks are installed according to the manufacturer’s or engineer’s specifications.

8. Load Capacity Visibility: Ensure that your pallet racks’ maximum rated load capacity is clearly visible to operators on labels or plaques.

9. Flooring Condition: Check the condition of your flooring or concrete slab and watch for any cracks near the base plates of the racks.

10. Rust and Corrosion: Inspect the pallet racks for signs of corrosion or rust, especially in hidden areas like behind guards or at the base.

11. Prevention Accessories: Use protection accessories, such as nets, screens, or wire mesh decking, to prevent objects from falling into walkways where pedestrians circulate.

12. Protective Measures: Install protective guards on racks in high-traffic areas or at the end of aisles.

13. Safety Bars: Verify that safety bars are properly secured to support beams to prevent palletized loads from falling. Two safety bars per pallet position are recommended.