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Racking Repair

Written by: Steve King

Damage can lead to death

Racking repair - staying strong, keeping safe
For your pallet racking installations, there is a risk that fork lift trucks can hit the racking. When they hit, they hit hard. And load-bearing uprights can suffer considerable damage.

At direct-storage, we understand the consequences of structural damage to heavy load-carrying installations. Safety guidelines laid down by SEMA see it the same way.

All direct-storage products, not just pallet racking, conform to rigorous safety procedures. They’re designed, manufactured and installed to do the job. Your people’s safety is paramount.

But any damage affects integral strength and safety, and eventually reduces load carrying capacity. Even apparently harmless dents can lead to potential collapse.

The consequences? Let’s not go there.

So you get it straightened out, right?

Before you do, know this. The most important racking component is the upright.

It can’t just be beaten back into shape like a panel on a car. Here’s why:
Pallet racking uprights are load-carrying members.
• They’re predominantly made from strain-hardened, cold-worked steel - ideal for the job they’re meant to do. But once damaged there are no guarantees.
• Tests on components ‘repaired’ in the best quality controlled environments show a marked drop in performance.
• After being straightened, the properties of the racking are altered to an unknown degree so no manufacturer would guarantee its future performance.

In fact, in the absence of scientifically backed, industry-approved investigations that say it works, the repair of upright damage is a game of Russian roulette.
Do you want to play?

The thing to understand

Only the recommended replacement of damaged components with new components will maintain the required structural integrity of the racking. Simply straightening a damaged upright might appear an attractive, low-cost option. But no manufacturer with any integrity would advise you to do it.
• The load carrying capacity could be reduced.
• The structure weakened.
• Human life put at risk.

Monitor, identify, act, prevent
Section 9.7.1 of European Standard EN 15635 - Steel static storage systems - application and maintenance of storage equipment clearly states: ‘Repairs to damaged components shall not be allowed unless approved by the equipment supplier’.

Regulation 5 of the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998) requires employers to ‘ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair‘.

EN Standards, HSE guidelines and SEMA Codes all recommend that you inspect your racking regularly to make sure it’s maintained properly and kept safe.
So do we. Here are the steps we urge you take.
• Carry out weekly inspections of your storage equipment - just as you’d service a vehicle.
• Get in a qualified inspector at least once a year to conduct a full inspection - they will give you good advice on the effects of change of use/load, or reconfiguration of the rack geometry to suit new requirements.
• If you’re installing racking for the first time, buy from an experienced and knowledgeable provider working under SEMA design codes.
• And get any repair/replacement approved by the manufacturer to avoid accidents and the liability for any potential failure.




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