Regardless of the age or condition of your pallet racking system, you should make regular professional inspections a priority. A proper pallet racking inspection can save you money, help protect you from liabilities, protect workers, and potentially saves lives. Always engage a qualified structural engineer who can review the current conditions of your system and the site conditions to assess your system’s capacity, adequacy, and safety.
Make professional inspections a priority at your business:
- To help ensure the safety of your employees
- To comply with legal requirements
- To comply with insurance requirements
All businesses must consider and mitigate safety concerns for their employees, customers, and others on their premises. The fact that a legacy system has not failed does not mean it is adequate or safe. Pallet racking systems support thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of pounds of material and a failure can lead to serious injury or fatalities. Even if a failure in your pallet racking system doesn’t injure a person, it can result in costly damage to products, property, and the racking itself. It may even cause a significant disruption to your business.
In the event of an accident the onus is on the company and its management team to demonstrate that they have taken the necessary measures, and performed due diligence, to ensure the adequacy and safety of the system.
Failures most often occur as a result of:
Damages affecting the system’s structural integrity – smaller damages can accumulate over time, seemingly having no impact. However those minor dents and dings are weakening the structure and rendering it more susceptible to collapse with every additional collision.
Inadequate engineering, design, or installation of the system – if the system is not professionally designed and installed it may be unstable or under capacity.
Overloading the system capacity – often the end user does not accurately know the systems capacity, which leads to overloading. Utilizing the rated capacity of the beams could overload the frames. The frames’ capacity is variable, depending on the beam configuration.
COR|Certificate of Recognition or Other Internal Requirements
If your business is COR certified or you are working towards certification, you will need to regularly inspect and maintain your racking system and maintain proper documentation. To obtain COR Certification, a hired external auditor will inspect the health and safety systems that you have in place, followed by a certification review. Find out more about becoming COR Certified here.
Legal requirements & Employer Responsibilities
Employer responsibilities for workplace safety and pallet racking storage structures are governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation, and Code; as well as the Criminal Code. Organizations are required to adhere to various building codes and municipal regulations with respect to the assembly and maintenance of pallet racking storage structures.
Please also keep in mind that employers and workers are required to assess a work site and identify existing or potential hazards before work begins – such as improper stacking, storing and /or securing goods on pallets and storage racks. Workers responsible for stacking, storing, or securing goods, materials, and equipment on pallets and storage racks must be trained in the safe methods for doing so.
View Pallet Rack Regulations for more information on Federal and Provincial requirements and codes.
Knowing the legal and safety requirements of your pallet racking system is a good starting point for meeting your insurance requirements as well. If an accident occurs involving your racking system, your insurance provider may not cover the damages. An adjuster would investigate the incident and your documentation to determine if due diligence was performed to ensure the system was designed to meet code and that sufficient inspections and maintenance had been performed to prevent the accident. Talk to your insurance provider to ensure you understand what’s required for your system and to determine if your inspection and maintenance program are enough.
Regular Racking Inspections are Essential
Your racking system may have been properly engineered and installed to meet all legal, safety, and insurance requirements, but over time there are often an accumulation of events that render it no longer adequate. Or maybe you have a legacy system that was installed without engineering at a very different point in your business. All of this would be addressed during a professional inspection. Here are a few examples to consider for your own system.
A common misunderstanding of racking owners or warehouse supervisors is that it is ok to rearrange beam levels within their systems. Over the years beam levels are moved, added, and removed until it no longer resembles the original system design. The number of beam levels and their elevations has a tremendous impact on the capacity of the supporting frames. Any changes to the system should be reviewed by an engineer and in fact, it is an OHS requirement in most provinces.
Changing Loads of Stored Goods
Similarly, as a business evolves, there are often changes to the product lines being stored on the racking. Load characteristics such as weight, weight dispersion, pallet dimensions, stacking pattern, etc. of these new products need to be considered to determine if your existing design is adequate.
Over time, components can become damaged, corroded, misaligned, loosened, dislodged, or even missing altogether. Any of these things, and even the overall age of the system, can reduce the capacity of the system.
Common Questions About Pallet Racking Inspection Requirements
Section 8 of CSA A344-17 identifies the suggested frequency and scope of a proper inspection program. A summary of their recommendations is as follows:
- Owner to perform monthly inspection
- Expert inspections annually
- Compare current system to most recent engineered layout and elevation drawings
- Identify damages
- Identify missing components
- Identify improperly installed or misaligned components
- Identify unsafe or improper operating and housekeeping practices
View the Federal and Provincial Regulations and building codes on our Pallet Rack Regulations page.
What to expect from a cam industrial pallet rack inspection
The extent of work required at your facility will depend on your existing documentation, racking configuration, rack condition, product mix, and your comfort level of risk tolerance to ensure the system is safe.
The first step is to determine what information and documentation you already have, the size of the project, and your needs. From there, we will provide a proposal to do the work.
A thorough inspection will be carried out to confirm the details of your system and identify deficiencies.
Drawings will be updated or created, and system capacities will be calculated based on the field inspection data.
A detailed report will be provided from our engineering group that includes: drawings, capacities, engineering notes, deficiency list with images, material take off for repairs and replacement components, and a quotation to supply and install the replacement components.
If you proceed with the recommended repairs, we will supply and install all components.
If repairs have been performed by a cam|industrial expert, the workmanship of your setup will be reviewed by our engineering group.
Your report will be updated to identify the repairs that have been completed and will then be stamped by our engineer group.
In between yearly expert inspections, owners should perform regular inspections on a monthly basis as well.
Rack System Failures | Common Causes
- Collisions from material handling equipment.
- Compound or aggregated damages affecting the structural integrity of the racking system.
- Overloading the system capacity.
- Inadequate engineering, design, or installation of the system.
- Insufficient load-bearing capabilities of the concrete slab.
Looking for more information?
Read our other Articles:
- Safety Committee Guidelines for Pallet Racking Safety Inspections
- Design & Maintenance for Pallet Rack Safety