The Importance of Warehouse Rack Safety Inspection
Racks are an essential part of most warehouse storage infrastructure. A rack is generally a combination of frames, beams, bracings and accessories assembled into a structure to support loads/materials.
Typically, they are made of steel, wood, aluminum, or concrete. Well-designed and regularly maintained racking system helps businesses maximize available space and optimize efficiency in the warehouse.
Regardless of the material or age of the racking system, business owners and facility managers should make regular professional safety inspections a priority to guarantee that the warehouse or storage facility meets provincial and local health & safety standards.
A safe and functioning racking system can save money, enhance efficiency, protect you (the owner) from liabilities, and even save lives.
Here are some reasons why you should make professional warehouse rack safety inspections a priority at your business.
Safety of Your Employees
Certain risk factors are associated with utilizing warehouse pallet racking systems, and the business owner must consider and mitigate these safety risks for their employees, clients, and visitors on their premises.
A system that has not yet failed does not mean it is actually adequate or safe. Racks support thousands of pounds of materials, and their failure can lead to severe injury or potential fatalities.
Even if no persons are injured, racking system failure can result in expensive damage to products and property, causing significant disruption to business operations.
Failure can often occur due to the following circumstances:
Impact from material handling equipment over time. Forklifts, cranes, and dollies make contact with racking systems constantly.
The impact vibrations can cause parts to loosen over time, affecting the entire system’s structural integrity and load-bearing capabilities.
Overloading. Each racking system has a maximum load capacity and weight-bearing limits.
It’s vital that the end user adheres to these guidelines, as exceeding limitations can weaken the structural integrity over time. Overloading of the racking system can cause the entire structure to collapse.
A professional warehouse safety inspector can help you access the load-bearing capacity of your racking systems and identify any overloaded structures.
Poor system design or installation. Inadequate design or engineering significantly increases the risk of failure.
According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, as well as the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), all warehouse managers and employers are legally responsible for the health and safety of their workers.
It includes scheduling regular warehouse racking inspections once every six months at a minimum or every time modifications are made to the structure.
All new, modified, reconfigured or repaired racking systems are legally required to have a pre-health and safety review (PSR) before businesses can put them into use.
A licensed engineer must conduct PSRs.
If the pallet racking is not installed correctly or poses a hazard, you may be found in violation of the OHSA and receive a fine. In the past, businesses have been fined by the OHSA over their pallet racks due to the following:
- Improper installation
- Damaged equipment
- Unsafe modifications
- Unposted maximum capacity
You can prevent all of the above with regular inspection and maintenance. Pallet racks should be inspected upon installation and periodically checked for damages and wear & tear.
Damaged areas should be taken out of use until they can be professionally repaired instead of making non-engineered modifications that can be dangerous and be found in violation of the OHSA.
It’s essential to have a thorough understanding of your insurance requirements. This way, you can ensure that your racking system meets all the necessary guidelines and that your insurance provider will cover any unfortunate accidents.
After an incident, an adjuster will come on-site to investigate and determine if due diligence was performed on your part to ensure that the system was up to code and that there were sufficient inspections and maintenance efforts to prevent the accident.
Make sure to discuss with your insurance provider to ensure that you understand what is required of you and your system and to determine if your current inspection program and schedule are sufficient.
Don’t Take the Risk: Ensure Safety Through Engineering
Our team of well-trained engineers and technical staff have extensive knowledge and experience with all forms of racking and storage structures, including single selective pallet racks, cantilever racks, push-back racks, flow-through racks, and other systems typically used in industrial settings.
As your industry safety specialists, we offer comprehensive and practical solutions to ensure you achieve the highest level of safety and compliance. To learn more about our professional safety services, please call 1-289-724-0522 or contact us here.