Your Worst Nightmare With Pallet Racking:  Collapse   

By: Larry Rausch – Vice President – CBF Industries

Yes…a warehouse pallet racking system collapse is every operator’s worst nightmare. But the good news is it can be avoided. This post is intended to provide you with helpful tips on how you can avoid a dangerous event with your racking system and even loss of life. From specifying the correct system to preventative maintenance, you will be on your way to an injury free work environment. This is especially key for large and busy warehouse operations.

Warehouse racking is a vital part of your operation and should be safe for all operators who work with your racks. This, however, is only true when pallet racking is carefully selected and diligently maintained throughout the years. Following are some of the most common causes of pallet rack collapse along with tips for avoiding them.

Overloading The Top

Pallet racking that is over-weighted at the top and under-weighted at the bottom will invariably tip or collapse. Events like these can be devastating. Heavy, high-density items should always be housed in the lower bays. The proper positioning of these goods can actually improve the stability of the entire system. Heavier items should never be positioned at the front where they can place undue stress on any in-built stability components. Instead, these should be evenly balanced or positioned at the back. Ultimately, a good center of gravity is vital for ensuring that no high-density items are able to pull racks forward.

Wrong Racking System Used To Store Products

Specifying the right racking system is the first step in ensuring the safety and security of both products and people. Heavy, high-density loads will likely require bolted pallet racking systems as opposed to a standard, teardrop designs. Working with seasoned suppliers is often the best way to identify the ideal components for your needs. You can trust these professionals to assist you in building an effective system. In addition, they can provide on-going guidance over the long term to ensure your safety.

Poor Installation

It is important to have your pallet racking systems professionally designed and installed.  Used pallet racking can provide substantial savings while offering the same level of security as new systems if installed correctly. This makes it important for companies to always collaborate with sellers that offer ongoing support on all their products. An insufficient racking design can result in stiff fines and penalties if safety regulations are not met. It can also result in lost products, physical injury and even death.

Support Beams Are Incorrectly Spaced

It is critical that your support beams are correctly spaced to ensure maximum stability. Vertical beam spacing, particularly as it pertains to the height of the very first beam level, is the one factor that will ultimately determine overall storage capacity. Seasoned suppliers can determine the load-bearing capacity of these structures according to the current beam spacing and can make any necessary adjustments for safely accommodating the intended load.

Lack Of Preventative Maintenance

Racking systems inevitably will suffer damage from lifts and other objects that negatively impact these structures. A common cause of pallet rack collapse is simply general negligence. When racks are hit, overloaded or suffer any other form of damage, they should be immediately reviewed by experienced professionals. Damaged components should be swapped out and all other necessary, structural corrections should be made. These efforts are designed to help businesses avoid the penalties of non-compliance and the devastation of significant property loss and the loss of human lives.


Simple steps can be taken to ensure maximum safety of your racking systems. Beam spacing, proper loading and on-going maintenance are the keys to safety and security. And as we mentioned in a prior post, OSHA is watching.

We hope this post provided you helpful information as it relates to pallet racking safety. To speak with one of our technical experts, please call 1-216-229-9300. And thank you for reading our post.

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