Working under pallet racking

Pallet racks are designed to easily hold pallets loaded to maximum capacity and could theoretically support more weight.

After all, the steel structure is what supports many skyscrapers.

The steel frame that makes up most warehouse racks is generally built to handle one of six ISO standard pallet sizes and whatever cargo those pallets can normally carry.

The typical figure is approximately 2,000 pounds of static load for the typical North American Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) specification pallet, and the racks will be constructed with a centerline beam that can support at least 2,000 pounds. on each side of the beam facing the aisles.

Exact loads may vary depending on pallet rack configuration and the types of pallets used.

A Guide to Storing Difficult, Bulky and Long Loads

Storing rolls and reels

Rolls, reels and other spooling loads can be stored on pallet racks. To accomplish this, special reel pockets are placed on the upright and then fitted with a horizontal bar.

Rolled items like film, wiring, cables or paper are placed on the bar, and can be dispensed. The capacities for these racks must be understood, since the loads are dynamic. Reel pockets have capacities (calculated per pair) that must be taken into account.

Long item storage

Many long items can be better stored on cantilever than pallet racks, but there are applications where pallet rack fits better in the storage strategy of your facility.

We’ve done projects, for instance, where long rolls of film or fabric can’t be stored on cantilever arms because the arm would dent fragile materials and full support is needed.

You may already have pallet racks and want to adapt them to store longer loads. Pallet racks can be adapted with relative ease for these applications.

What can you do to reduce risks?

Load the rack with adequate clearances

Load your racks with acceptable tolerances above and to the sides of each pallet and the frames. You should have 10” head clearance between the top of load and the bottom of the beam above it.

Add technology to help drivers see

Technology is only an enhancement to training. It can’t prevent accidents on its own, but can help drivers see and understand the situation better.

Options include cameras that let drivers see the load and beam, laser tine guides, tine leveling alarms and more.

Install product/pallet fall protection systems

If forklift drivers bump a pallet and knock it, or a palletized carton or other loads-off, then protective systems like safety netting, straps, back beams/bars, or wire panels can stop the fall and help prevent damage and injuries.

More on this story

Working under pallet racking

Pallet Rack Inspection checklist

Few warehouse operators have aggressive in-house rack inspection programs in place. Forklift accidents, collisions, dropped or misplaced loads, and other incidents that result in rack damage may or may not get promptly reported.