It is necessary to regularly inspect racking installations for damage. 

Typically, a formal inspection of racking should take place as follows: 

1. Racking should be inspected for Broad-based serious damage on a daily basis. 

2. Racking should be inspected more carefully by management (supervisor) on a weekly basis. 

3. Racking should be checked extensively and in detail on a monthly basis by management (senior supervisor). 

4. Racking should be inspected by the manufacturer or an outside expert authority at least twice per annum. 

Note: The frequency of maintenance inspection of racking does, to a large extent, depend on the amount of use of the racking system, the overall tolerances in the system and the levels of training. Warehouse staff and lift truck operators should be encouraged to report all damage immediately it takes place to ensure that appropriate action is taken to ensure the safety of all concerned in the warehouse. 

All operators in the warehouse should be made aware of possible consequences of damage and the safety aspects relating to rack damage should be highlighted to all concerned. 

Damage and replacements 

Should the inspection lead to a recommendation to replace damaged items, it should be ensured that the new racking components are technically compatible with the existing infrastructure. If in doubt, the maintenance personnel should consult the original equipment manufacturer or a professional engineer. 

Damage limits 

Damage to frames is especially important because any deflection of the frames (in terms of damage) will greatly reduce the load-carrying capacity of the upright section. 

The following shows a typical guideline for assessing the level of damage to a frame and the related need for immediate repairs and remedial action. 

It must be noted that should a frame be damaged beyond the expected limits illustrated in this document, it is recommended that the frame is immediately unloaded and appropriate remedial action is taken. 

  • Damage to uprights 

By using a straight steel edge 1m long, one can place this alongside the frame and check the amount of damage in terms of deflection. 

It is generally recommended that should an upright be bent more than 3mm, that this upright is damaged to the point that immediate remedial action should be taken. (Note: The 3mm maximum bend damage applies in either plane.) 

  • Damage to Beams 

Beams will naturally deflect under normal loading conditions to a maximum permissible span divided by 250. This deflection should largely disappear when the beams are unloaded. Residual vertical deformation should not exceed 20% to 25% of the normal deflection under load. 

Should the beams not return to a normal straight position after unloading, these beams will not have sufficient capacity to carry the maximum load and should be replaced with good beams. 

No twisting of beams should occur under full load. Beams that show signs of twisting should be replaced. Should beam-end connectors show any deformation or damage whatsoever, these should be unloaded and replaced (and/or expert advice sought). 

Should any damage in terms of metal of weld split on beam-end connectors occur, beams should immediately be replaced. Beams should also be replaced should any welds (especially on end connectors) show signs of cracking. If in doubt regarding any rack damage immediately seek expert advice. Note: Always fully unload the rack before replacing damaged components.