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  • Writer's pictureKeith D Goodfellow (SARI)

How to assess damage to a storage rack structure

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

The internal inspection covers all parts of the racking structure and any accessories so in the inspection we are looking for anything that may affect its load carrying capacity, or put more simply it's ability to do it's job. Don't forget, all damage reduces the strength of the structure, the greater the damage the greater the reduction in strength. Thus any significant damage requires replacement and so that’s what we are looking for in an inspection i.e. anything that will weaken or compromise the structure.

Damage to adjustable beam pallet racking uprights and bracing members

  • Deviation is measured, based on a 1,000mm straight edge placed on the concave surface of the damaged member, such that it is as near to the centre of damage as possible.

  • For an upright bent in the direction of the rack beam (i.e. parallel to the aisle) the maximum gap should not exceed 5mm

  • For an upright bent in the plane of the frame, (i.e. at right angles to the aisle) the maximum gap should not exceed 3mm

  • An upright bent in both directions should be measured separately in each direction as above.

  • For bracing members bent in either plane, the gap should not exceed 10mm.

  • These guidelines only apply to overall bends.

  • Members subject to significant dents, tears, buckles, and splits should be replaced.

  • More details are available on this link codes and tolerances explained

SEMA tolerances for damage to pallet racking uprights & frame bracing.
SEMA tolerances for damage to pallet racking uprights & frame bracing.

Beams & beam connectors

For assessing damage to beams any significant damage i.e. dents, tears, buckles or splits will necessitate replacement. You will need to assess if the damage is amber or red.

Beams are designed for a UDL (uniform distributed load) and uneven or point loading should be avoided

Note: Don’t confuse beam deflection with beam damage. Beams will naturally bend under loading so note the following:

  • If any beams are bent vertically downward when loaded by more than the beam span divided by 200, the beams should be offloaded and the pallet weights checked. Note: Beam span is the clearance between the uprights.

  • E.g. with a beam span of 2,700mm the bend when loaded should not exceed 13.5mm. Once offloaded the bending should disappear, if not DO NOT RELOAD.

For damage to beam connectors again any significant damage such as deformation, damaged or missing cleats will necessitate replacement. If there is any sign of cracking to the weld immediate offload is required.

Modifications to structure

If there are any signs of repair or reworking to any part of the structure i.e. welding or modification this is contrary to SEMA guidelines and immediate offload is recommended. The SEMA guidance is only use manufacturer approved and supplied parts to be fitted in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

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