8 Most Common Rack Failures


Warehouse owners and managers shoulder a major responsibility for rack system success or failure. Structural maintenance and proper regular inspections are the best way to prevent failure. The nine most common failures of a system are:

1. Rack damage - Lift equipment abuse is the leading cause of rack system failure and collapse.

2. Incorrect load weight - Overloading the rack systems beyond its engineered weight capacity can result in component failure and ultimate collapse.

3. Altered configuration - Rack system configuration (shelf beam levels, bracing pattern, etc.) is carefully engineered to satisfy a customer's operational requirements. changes in shelf elevation, for example, can reduce column capacity and lead to system failure.

4. Lack of driver training - Improper lift equipment training is the leading cause of rack damage.

5. Change in operation - Misuse often occurs when business requirements mandate a new operational procedure.

6. Incorrect equipment use or change -Rack systems are designed for integration with specified lift equipment. An equipment change can result in unforeseen misuse and rack damage.

For example, using standard fork trucks or pallet jacks in a Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) / wire guided system will cause damage in areas where abuse-resistant measures Don't exist.

7. Reduced rack capacity for cost savings -Warehouse owners and managers may choose to understate actual capacity requirements in order to reduce rack equipment costs. This is a huge, dangerous mistake.

8. Mixed components from various manufacturers - There's no assurance that a combination of manufacturers' components will perform to original system design specifications.

If your storage rack system is in jeopardy of failure or collapse, there are four steps you can use to reduce risk and ensure rack safety. The first step is to conduct a thorough rack safety audit. This means You'll need to locate initial design drawings and calculations, document current elevations and rack layout, determine if the current configuration is structurally sound, examine the full extent of existing rack damage and plan to repair or replace your racks. It's important to keep a set of drawings reflecting your current rack configuration. This is a requirement of the Rack Manufacturer's Institute (RMI) as well as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). The next safety step requires that you develop a driver-training program with accountability written into that process. It's also recommended that you establish an on-going rack safety audit program and that you install and maintain rack capacity plaques in several obvious and clearly visible locations.

The good news is with the proper rack maintenance program you will not only reduce the risk of rack failure but also extends rack system life.

References: Frazier