When to Inspect Warehouse Pallet Racks?

Posted on May 19, 2022 - updated on September 14 2023 
Charles Carbonneau, P. Eng.
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Best practices in the material handling industry recommend the regular inspection of pallet rack systems in the warehouse by either your own safety personnel or an external rack safety expert. But is regular? Are there any specific frequency recommendations or guidelines?

What are the different types of rack inspections? Who can perform these rack inspections?

There are several types of inspections that can be performed in and around a warehouse racking system. The inspection's scope and the inspector's qualifications largely depend on what is required. 

Here's an overview of the three different types of rack inspections in a warehouse setting, highlighting who typically conducts them and what expertise they bring to the process:

  1. Routine Visual Inspections: These are conducted on a regular basis, typically daily or weekly, depending on the nature of operations. They involve a basic visual check for any obvious issues such as damaged uprights, dented beams, overloaded shelves, and so forth. They are usually conducted by warehouse personnel who have been given basic training on what to look for.
  2. Operational Inspections: These are more in-depth assessments. They occur monthly or quarterly, depending on the operational loads and warehouse safety standards. They are carried out by in-house safety personnel, supervisors, or external experts who have a deeper understanding of the racking system and its potential risks. 
  3. Expert Inspections: Conducted annually, these extremely thorough assessments. They provide a comprehensive evaluation of the rack systems, identifying potential risks and providing actionable recommendations for maintenance and repairs. Expert inspections should use checklists or software tools, like the Damotech Platform, for systematic evaluation and maintenance follow-up. They should be performed by independent third-party experts or engineers specializing in warehouse racking systems. These professionals have specialized knowledge and training in the field of warehouse racking systems and adhere to the regulations and guidelines set by authorities like OSHA or other relevant industry standards.

How often should my warehouse racking be inspected?

We frequently encounter inquiries regarding the ideal schedule or frequency for warehouse rack inspections.  There isn't a hard-and-fast rule when it comes to the timeline for evaluating the integrity of your warehouse racking systems. The frequency largely hinges on your operation's pace or how quickly issues related to your storage racks manifest. Nonetheless, it's widely accepted among industry authorities, including OSHA, that third-party rack specialists or engineers should conduct an in-depth analysis annually.

Furthermore, regular inspections should be an integral part of your monthly routine, carried out by your warehouse staff. Utilizing advanced tools like the Damotech Platform can greatly enhance these internal assessments, helping maintain your warehouse's safety and efficiency. The frequency of these checks can increase depending on operational loads to ensure that potential issues are identified and resolved promptly. Regular rack inspections are key to maintaining a safe and efficient warehouse environment.

When should storage racks be inspected?

This is another question we get asked very often... What circumstances or events dictate that racks be inspected? Here’s a look at the various moments you might require pallet rack inspection services:

After a New Rack Installation

Whether it will cover your entire warehouse or just an aisle, a brand-new rack installation sometimes calls for a third-party to verify that everything was installed according to the manufacturer’s plans and specifications or to confirm that the rack systems are ready to be used safely.

Corporate Safety Initiative

When launching a company-wide safety program, you may want a baseline inspection of the racks to assess their condition at a specific point in time and be able to measure your progress toward a safer warehouse environment. For instance, if you are operating several facilities, you may wish to get a better overall picture of the level of safety in each of the warehouses to gain insight into which locations need more attention. In such a case, you will surely require to have uniformity in the assessment and that may call for expert services.

Timely or Scheduled Re-assessment

An annual, quarterly, or monthly re-inspection of your racks after a baseline inspection has been conducted. New damage may have occurred, or there is a need to update the status of previously reported issues (repairs, replacements, flagged issues...). You may also require assistance establishing priorities; a re-assessment can help you track your progress.

Regulatory Rack Compliance Review

Some jurisdictions require an official document stating that racks have been rated, inspected, and are safe to use. For example, MOL in Ontario requires a PSR (Pre-start Health and Safety Review) and British Columbia (WorkSafeBC) also requires regular inspections.

After a Rack Repair or Replacement

If your damaged rack was fixed with replacement parts or a specialized rack repair kit, you might wish to ensure that the rack still meets the original specifications. It can be inspected or reviewed by a racking specialist or an engineer.

Rack Reconfiguration or Beam Change Review

Before and after you’ve modified the layout of your racking systems or changed the height of your beams, you must schedule an inspection to certify that your racking systems are safe for use and that they still respect their rated load capacity.

Collapse or Earthquake / Seismic Event

Was there a significant incident in your warehouse? Whether it was induced by a human error like a forklift accident or from a natural cause like an earthquake, you will need pallet rack inspection services to ensure your rack's integrity has not been compromised.

Regulatory Rack Safety Audit

Before or after a regulatory or corporate audit, you may need a comprehensive report on the conformity of your pallet rack systems and confirmation of their certification. A thorough inspection is performed and a report summarizing the results is sent shortly after. A thorough third-party inspection is highly recommended before an OSHA certification process.


Warehouse Pre-purchase / Change of Tenant

If you are looking to acquire or lease a warehouse and need to know the current condition of the pallet racks inside. An inspection should allow you to better evaluate the investments needed to bring the racking back to conformity, if necessary. Much like a building inspection, a racking specialist can give you an accurate picture of the state of the racking systems before you buy or lease.

Rack Safety Performance Benchmarking

Want to make sure your internal inspections are uniform & up-to-par across one or all of your facilities? Let a third-party expert come in and inspect your racks. Compare the reports with your findings, then make an informed decision on the appropriate next steps.

Operations & Safety Optimization

You require insight as to how to increase rack safety and optimize your racks’ performance in the warehouse. Engineers experienced with racking systems have the know-how to provide expert advice on how to maximize your operations and efficiency and decrease the risk of incidents.

Lacking in Rack Documentation

Are you missing some important documentation about your racking systems? Do you have updated LARC drawings? Layouts with rated load capacities are a requirement. Load capacity labels or plaques are also mandatory and should be displayed on or near the rack systems to inform warehouse workers of the capacity of the rack systems. An engineer experienced with racking can support you in making sure all your documentation is up to date and your racks are properly labeled with their rated load capacities.

What qualifications are required to carry out pallet racking inspection services?

When OSHA or RMI says a qualified person should inspect your racking systems, they are generally referring to someone familiar with storage rack design, installation, and use. An inspection can be done by someone who is employed by the storage rack system owner, provided they are trained and knowledgeable of racking systems and the hazards that surround them. However, load capacity calculations and certain types of rack reviews should only be performed by a professional engineer.

To make sure your racking assets and investments are well maintained, and that your workers are not exposed to unnecessary hazards, have your storage systems inspected regularly, by a qualified expert. To more efficiently manage your rack inspections, the Damotech Platform can help you access crucial rack data from virtually anywhere. Accessible via the cloud, you can view and track racking issues easily with the real-time dashboard. Watch the 6-minute demo to see how you can modernize the way you manage your rack inspections at your company!


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Welcome to the world of Damotech, the first and largest rack safety solutions specialist in North America. With its lines of rack protection and repair products, Damotech strives to put an end to the endless cycle of upright replacement by focusing on warehouse safety and the permanent elimination of recurring rack damage. Through our engineering services, we will help create a safer working environment for you and your employees, bringing you true peace of mind while saving you money in the process.


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