The Primary Causes of Collapse in Warehouse Racking

In a previous blog, we detailed some of the most common myths about warehouse racking. The last myth we tackled was “pallet racks just fall down.” This simply is not true, and is comparable to saying “cars just explode” – if cars just randomly exploded for no reason, most of us wouldn’t ever drive one!

Of course, pallet racks can collapse when an outside force acts upon them, but when a racking system appears to collapse for no reason, it is most likely due to improper installation and maintenance. Our warehouse experts outlined 6 reasons why pallet rack damage occurs and how to avoid such failures.


Cause #1: Overloading Beams

Overloading the capacity of warehouse racks and beams is probably the second most common cause of collapse (after forklift hits, see below). Some companies require thinner, lighter beams because they know that what they are storing isn’t terribly heavy. Others will need thicker, stronger steel to hold metal or stone objects. Warehouse experts design storage solutions to meet a very particular storage capacity, and putting too much weight on them can cause them to fail over time, or even immediately.

It’s important to remember that beam capacity is by pair of beams, not by each beam. While you might know that, a new worker in the warehouse might not know. Proper training is one of the simplest ways to make sure that a warehouse racking system doesn’t get overloaded.


Cause #2: Overloading Uprights

When loading something onto a rack, it’s relatively easy to think about the horizontal space on which you’re placing the load because you’re interacting with it directly. But equally important is to consider how that load, as well as the load on all other horizontal racks, is placing weight on the vertical uprights.

Much like with the horizontal beams, you should never overlook the capacity of the uprights. One affects the other, and while losing a single beam is bad, losing an entire upright is worse.


Cause #3: Uneven Loading

Because warehouse racks are so large and heavy, it’s easy to see why some people might think that they’re immovable and impervious to damage. But while uneven loads might not cause them to fail, it can cause them to tip. Loads that are top-heavy, side heavy, or contain pallets that are too close to the edge can all lead to a dangerous situation.


Cause #4: Poor Design

Remember at the beginning of this article when we said that pallet racks don’t just collapse? This is the sole situation in which it actually happens, even though the reason behind it is quite clear. While a design problem isn’t as obvious as “forklift hit upright support,” it can definitely case the system to fail.

One can use the same basic components in many different warehouses, but the design of how those components fit together can greatly affect the capacity that the racks can handle. In a poorly designed rack system, components that could normally carry a certain load are compromised, which means that they’re more likely to fail even when under-loaded.

When you’re working with warehouse layout consultants, you also want to make sure that they are experts in racking system design. Find a company such as DAK Equipment and Engineering that are experts in pallet rack design and you’re more likely to get safer warehouse storage solutions.


Cause #5: Poor Installation

Unfortunately, poor installation can completely compromise a well-designed warehouse racking system. While racking systems might not look complex once they’re assembled, you’ll be surprised at their complexity when you see them go together. Some of the extra parts are to increase capacity, while others are there to increase safety.

The many parts and exacting assembly requires proper training of anyone putting racking together. Do your research and make sure that the company you’re about to hire doesn’t have any collapsing skeletons in their closet.


Cause #6: Forklift Damage

Aren’t forklifts wonderful? They allow you to move heavy loads not only horizontally but also vertically in your warehouse. Forklifts perform feats that would usually take multiple workers and a system of pulleys to achieve.

Unfortunately, forklifts are also the biggest offender when it comes to warehouse racking collapse. If you take a look at this video, you can see that they’re almost always involved in warehouse accidents. The modern warehouse couldn’t exist without some sort of heavy materials handling system, and forklifts require a lot of weight and power in order to perform the duties.


Get in Touch with Us

Whether you are looking for an experienced team to design and install a racking system, or you need an experienced team to inspect your existing system, call DAK! Our thorough inspection process goes beyond simply taking a look at your racking. We’ll inspect all components down to the nuts and bolts, inspect all equipment that you use, interview employees to find training discrepancies, and determine if anything needs to be repaired or redesigned.


Call or email to connect with a Project Manager:

(630) 516-1115


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