Top 7 Signs Your Pallet Racking May Fail

Sometimes when I’m writing a bid for used pallet racking, I see some pretty iffy rack setups. Occasionally, the manager will say, “our facilities guys put this up” (yes, unfortunately, I can tell). 

Other times, I’ll point to a paint scrape and ask, “how long ago did a forklift hit this rack?” and the manager looks surprised. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing this for a while, but these danger signs just jump out at me.

People can die when racking collapses unexpectedly, so that’s why I want to share the top 7 warning signs your pallet rack is unsafe. We also offer free pallet racking safety inspections to help you uncover unreported damage and ensure your pallet racking meets local safety requirements.

7 Signs Your Pallet Racking Is Unsafe

When pallet racking is installed incorrectly, or if a forklift drives into it, the racking can’t handle its rated capacity. It may look stable, but a minor impact will send the load crashing to the ground. Below are seven signs your pallet racking is at risk for collapse.

NOTE: the list below is not a substitute for a thorough, professional inspection.

#1 Racks are crooked or out of alignment
When racks aren’t level, or if the rack is leaning vertically, that’s a bad sign. Crooked racks either weren’t installed properly, or an impact set them off-kilter. If the racks were installed many years ago, the foundation may have settled and that’s what’s skewing the rack. 

In any case, racks that are out of alignment are structurally unstable. Put another way: even a minor impact can cause them to collapse.

#2 Bent uprights
Similar to the above, dents or bends are a sign the structure is compromised, and the upright(s) need to be replaced.
Top 7 Signs Your Pallet Racking May Fail

#3 Beams aren’t secured to the uprightsTop 7 Signs Your Pallet Racking May FailThere are a variety of ways a beam can attach to an upright. Sometimes there’s a clip, bolt or tab pin. Other times there’s a sliding lock.

If the locking mechanism is bent or missing, that section of rack is unsafe. If a forklift hits the racking, the beam is going to tear away from the upright and all your product will come tumbling off. 

Top 7 Signs Your Pallet Racking May Fail

Missing clips, attachment pins, etc. are common when you buy used pallet racking. Think twice before you spend your hard-earned money on a supposedly great deal. You may end up spending all the money you “saved” getting the rack up to code.

All the used pallet racking we sell is thoroughly inspected. If a bolt, clip, pin (etc.) is missing, we replace it before installing your rack.

#4 Rust or corrosion
This is an obvious one. Rust or corrosion means the metal support is no longer structurally sound should be replaced.

#5 A beam is bowing more than ¼” in the middle
A certain amount of bowing is okay and even expected if the rack is holding a heavy load. That said, the deflection should disappear when the load is removed.

Bowing should never exceed more than 1/180th the total length of the beam. For a 96” beam, distortion of more than ¼” signals a problem. Anything more than ½” means the beam is close to failure.

#6 Footplates not securely attached to the floor
This is an easy one to spot and fix, but you should investigate why the footplate was dislodged.

#7 Column protectors damaged
It would be nice if all forklift operators are honest, but some aren’t. If no one saw them hit the rack, it never happened right? That’s why periodic third-party racking inspections are essential.

Forklift collisions significantly compromise the integrity of your rack and, unless you know the warning signs, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Significant dents or scrapes on a column protector are telltale signs of a forklift collision.

Free Pallet Rack Inspections in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Fresno

When was the last time you had your pallet rack inspected? If you’re not sure, it’s probably been too long. The list of danger signs above is a brief overview of what we cover during an on-site visit.

Don’t put it off because you’re worried you might need to replace a few things. Buying new uprights is a small price to pay compared to the multi-thousand dollar consequences of a racking collapse. 

Schedule a Free Inspection

We’re offering free inspections because they can prevent horrific accidents. I promise it will be a zero-pressure, no-obligation visit.

Want to sell your pallet rack?
We buy used pallet racking (and pay top dollar). Our expert team can tear down or move your existing rack and install new racking. Book an appointment for a no-obligation bid.

Let us know how we can help. Contact us online or by phone. 

Bay Area – Livermore (510) 379-5210
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

Further Reading
Pallet Racking vs. Boltless Shelving
Buying Used Pallet Racking in California – What Businesses Need to Know
Pallet Racking: Customer Success Stories