Inspect Your Storage Equipment Yearly

The New Year is a good time to resolve to have a safe & efficient storage area. One aspect of safety in your facility is equipment inspections. It is important for you to inspect your storage shelving and racks every year for damage. Even minor damage to uprights or shelves can seriously weaken their storage capacity.

The easiest way to conduct an inspection is to have a form with all of your bin or rack locations printed on it. Then you can walk your stockroom or warehouse and note any damage by location code.

 Storage Rack & Shelving Inspections should include the following items:

Plumb & Level:  All rack stability depends on the rack uprights being installed in a true vertical position and the cross beams & shelves being level. Note any evidence of racks being crooked, out of alignment in the row, or leaning from vertical in any direction. Typical allowance would be 1/2″ in 10′ of height. You may need to install or repair sway bracing on those units that are more than 1/2″ out of plumb.

Rust & Corrosion:  Note any areas of rust, flaking paint, or corrosion on the rack uprights or beams. This may indicate a weakening of the metal in that area. Be extra careful with inspections in damp areas or where flooding has occurred, or where freezers or coolers create a chance for condensation.

Upright Column Damage:  Check horizontal and diagonal braces for bending or damage. Check footplates and floor lags for secure attachment to floor. Note any upright posts that are twisted, dented, punctured, or buckled. Damage to the upright column can significantly reduce the capacity of that entire section of racking. Damaged uprights should be repaired or replaced immediately.

Overloaded Shelves & Beams:  This can be a difficult issue. Most storage shelving and racks are not marked with capacities for the uprights, beams or shelves. This can lead to overloading as your product mix changes or racks are reassigned for use in a different application. If you are not sure of the capacity of your shelving or racks, contact your supplier or the manufacturer for the specifications for you equipment.

Note any shelves that are deflecting (bowing) in the center or have a permanent kink in the front edge of the shelf. If the shelf does not return to a straight and level condition after unloading the shelf, it should be replaced or reinforced with angle iron.

Check the beams in all rack sections for deflection. The deflection should not be more than 1/180 of the length of the beam. That is about 1/2” deflection for an 8’ long beam at the maximum load. In addition, the beam should return to a straight condition with no deflection when the load is removed. If it does not return to level, then the beam has been permanently deflected by previous overloading and should be replaced.

Inspect the beam connections where they attach to the upright frame. Note any impact damage to the face of the beam, cracked or broken welds on the beam clip, or distortion or damage to the holes in the upright frame where the beam attaches. Replace any damaged components.

Missing Safety Pins, Clips or Bolts:  Shelving and Racks use a wide variety of connection methods. Some shelves and beams bolt in place, some clip into the upright, some have the beams attached to a clip that hooks into the upright and some use a combination of clips and bolts. You should know the recommended attachment method for your brand or brands of storage shelving and rack. Ensure that all beams are securely fastened into the upright.

On bulk racking, in addition to the main beam attachment, there should be a safety pin, clip or bolt that prevents the beam from being accidentally dislodged from its connection to the upright frame. Note any missing nuts or bolts on rack connections and check to be sure all nuts and bolts are securely fastened. Note any beams where the safety pin or clip is missing or damaged. Missing or damaged hardware should be replaced immediately.

In addition to the items listed above for regular inspection, there are some general safety measures that can be employed to supplement the regular inspections and increase overall safety in your facility.

General Safety Procedures to be implemented along with regular inspections.

Employee Awareness:  All employees working with and around the storage equipment should be made aware of the potential problems listed above and notify their supervisor if they discover an unsafe condition.

Posted Capacities:  Post the shelf capacities for all areas in your system. This will help avoid overloading the shelf levels. Post the upright frame capacity for the rack system. The total of all the shelf capacities in a section should not exceed the rated capacity of the upright frame. Be advised that the total upright post or frame capacity is not a fixed number and varies with the spacing of the shelf levels. Upright capacity decreases as the vertical space between the shelf levels increases. In other words, the closer your shelf levels, the closer you get to the maximum capacity of the upright frame; the greater the space between your beam levels, the more the upright frame capacity is reduced from the maximum capacity.

Call us or email if you have any questions about Rousseau shelving and bulk racking.

Innovo Storage Systems 1 Goldsmith St, Johnston, RI 02919

Call (401) 383-0883 or email:

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