What are load capacity labels and load plaques?

It is required by code to install pallet rack capacity labels or plaques to ensure that the rated load capacity information of the rack systems is readily available to all employees working in the warehouse. This information is especially crucial for forklift operators loading the systems. 

A pallet rack load capacity refers to the maximum weight that can be placed on a given system or structure under specific conditions in a particular warehouse setting. In other words, it refers to the maximum weight limit at which the system, in a certain configuration, can continue to perform its intended functions.  

RMI’s ANSI MH16.1-2021: Specification for the Design, Testing, and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks, in section 4.5, states that “Industrial steel storage rack systems designed and installed in accordance with this standard shall be identified with one or more load plaques, displayed on or near the rack system. Each load plaque shall have an area of not less than 50 in² (320 cm²).” ​(Rack Manufacturers Institute, 2022)​. They should include this information: 

(a) the maximum permissible unit load and/or maximum uniformly distributed load per level; 

(b) the average unit load, if applicable; 

(c) total actual loading expected in the interconnected bays; 

(d) maximum total load per bay. 

There are several ways of communicating the load capacity of a racking system. One can be to use adhesive pallet rack capacity labels placed on the first beam (at eye level) since it allows for a varying load capacity throughout a rack system. If your racks have the same load capacity throughout, you may use rated load plaques to remind the forklift operators of the rack load capacity before entering an aisle. These plaques generally include the maximum bay capacity, maximum beam capacity, the details about the rack’s manufacturer, and often a project date. 


Here is an example of a load capacity label: 

A black text on a white background

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​​Rack Manufacturers Institute. (2022, June 30). Load Capacity Requirements in the New RMI Storage Rack Standard ANSI MH16.1-2021. Retrieved from RMI Rack Safety: http://www.rmiracksafety.org/2022/06/30/load-capacity-requirements-in-the-new-rmi-storage-rack-standard-ansi-mh16-1-2021/