Improper loading of Wire Pallet Racks

One of the most common problems found in rack inspections and one of the leading causes of rack accidents is storing material on the wire decks in a way that causes the wire decks to become overloaded. Most wired decks are not designed to be loaded with small pallets, containers with feet, crates, and skids. When these types of loads are placed on the wire decks, they become stressed and are at a risk of failure. We will look at each of these four types of storage products to gain an understanding of why they create an unsafe overloaded condition.

 

Improper Loading of Small Pallets

 

Wire decks are designed to support Uniformly Distributed Loads (UDL). That means when material is loaded onto the wire deck the weight of the material should be spread out evenly over most of the surface of the wire deck. When wire decks are listed for sale you will always see the capacity is stated as UDL.

 

The uniform distribution of the weight is accomplished by the left to right bottom boards on the bottom of the pallet. When loaded onto the pallet rack the bottom boards of a properly sized and positioned pallet will be sitting on top of all the wire deck’s support channels that run front to back between the beams. If the pallet is not sitting on top of all the wire deck support channels, the load the wire deck can support will be greatly reduced. In addition, the pallet’s front and back left to right bottom boards must be sitting on the wire deck within two inches of both the front and back beams. When a smaller size pallet is placed on the rack the pallet may not sit on all the wire decks support channels or it may not sit within two inches of both the front and back beams. When this is the case a Concentrated Loading condition exists for which the wire deck is not designed or rated.

Improper Loading of a Container with Feet

Unsafe Point Load for Pallet RackAt no time can a container or pallet with feet be loaded onto a standard wire deck. The feet cause an unsafe highly concentrated load called a Point Load for which wire decks are not designed. A very overloaded condition can exist when the feet are not positioned over both the beams and the wire deck’s support channels that run front to back between the beams. The concentrated weight the feet place on the wire will cause the wire to fatigue and in time buckling will occur.

Improper Loading of a Skid or a Crate

Unsafe Line LoadA skid is essentially a pallet that does not have any bottom boards. The body of the skid sits on the top of runners. Runners are the two or three boards that run from the front of the skid to the back. A crate has runners like a skid but it also has sides to create a fixed sized box to put material in. A skid or crate can be properly loaded on a wire deck as long as the runners always extend over top of and sit on both the front and back beams. Skids often are not as deep as the pallet rack shelf and therefore the runner falls short of one beam or both beams. This causes a Line Load. The concentrated weight the runner places on the wire will cause the wire to fatigue and in time buckle.

Why Do Wire Decks Not Fail More Often?

There are two primary reasons why wire decks do not immediately fail when one of the three conditions noted above exist. Often when a small pallet, container with feet, crate or skid are placed on a wire deck the weight of the load is far below the rated capacity of the wire deck. However, the practice of creating Concentrated, Point, or Line Loads even when the material stored is far lighter than the capacity of the wire deck should never be allowed. The reason for this is someday the forklift driver will place a heavier load on the racks and because those style of pallets have “always” been stored there, they will think nothing of it and will unknowingly create a dangerous overloaded condition. At some point in the future as the wire fatigues a wire deck failure and collapse can happen.

Also, wire decks are designed with a safety factor and because of this they are often inadvertently misloaded without an immediately failure. However, overtime the steel becomes fatigued and given the right circumstances the wire deck will collapse; potentially causing harm to employees, material, and equipment. A bent wire deck indicates that misloading/overloading has taken place. The reason for the bending should be determine, a new loading protocol along with training should be implemented, and wire decks with more than minor bending should be replaced.

Training your employees what an UDL, Concentrated Load, Line Load, and Point Load is and the types of loads that create them will mitigate most wire deck failures. Purchasing wire decks designed for Concentrated, Line, or Point Loads will allow your employees to properly and safely store crates, skids, and containers that because of their smaller size or design should not be store on standard wire decks.

Below you will find pictures and additional explanations of these conditions that you may find useful to use when training your employees.

Calculating the Ideal Building Column Spacing for Your Pallet Rack System

Laying out warehouse pallet racking can be a frustrating task, especially when it comes to figuring out how to accommodate building columns. It may seem that no matter how you rearrange your layout, you may still have difficulty placing the columns out of the rack or not in the aisles.

Continue reading “Calculating the Ideal Building Column Spacing for Your Pallet Rack System”

Why Should I Schedule a Pallet Rack Inspection?

Pallet racking is an integral part of warehouse operations and material storage throughout a plant. Damage can occur to your racking at any time and when it happens, it compromises the safety of your employees. No matter the type of business or product you store…

Pallet racking is an integral part of warehouse operations and material storage throughout a plant. Damage can occur to your racking at any time and when it happens, it compromises the safety of your employees. No matter the type of business or product you store, it is important to have an inspection and maintenance plan in place for your pallet racking.

Damaged Racking Can Easily Go Unnoticed

Damage to the racking system is commonly caused by forklifts loading and unloading the racking or traversing through the system. Factors such as high traffic in the system, narrow aisles, poor forklift operator training, and changes in the product stored can put your racking at a higher risk of damage.

It is common for a damaged rack to be left in service either because the damage seems minor and is not addressed or the damage simply goes unnoticed by the untrained eye. By having your pallet rack system inspected by a professional, damage to your racking can be identified and addressed in a timely manner before it becomes a major hazard.

Inspections Can Help Reduce Employer Liability

Safety in the workplace is a very high priority for companies, but when racking is not well-maintained, you risk not only causing damage to materials that fall but also injuring employees. If an accident or a major event such as a rack collapse, were to occur due to damaged racking, your company could be held liable for not resolving an unsafe condition.

Keeping your pallet racks maintained through regular inspections should be part of your facilities planned maintenance. Thereby keeping your employees safe and reducing your liability, if an accident were to occur.

Schedule a Professional Pallet Rack Inspection with Cranston

Although it may be tempting to inspect the racking on your own, using a professional rack inspector with the experience to know what to look for is the best way to ensure that damaged components are identified. This allows you to receive a report that details what actions need to be taken to maintain the structural integrity of your system.

During a pallet rack inspection, Cranston Material Handling Equipment will thoroughly inspect each component of the racking to check for any bent, missing, or broken parts and to see if the safety clips or bolts are in place and properly engaged. The components that are examined include:

  • Anchors
  • Baseplates
  • Safety guards
  • Uprights
  • Beams
  • Wire deck or pallet supports
  • Safety bolts and safety clips

The racking is also examined to ensure it is being used and loaded correctly. Once the inspection is complete, a detailed report is generated noting what components are damaged and if any of the pallets were loaded incorrectly. Recommendations for repair, replacement, or other corrective measures will also be made.

Contact us today to learn more about our pallet rack inspections services and how we can help you create a safer work environment.