Case study

How to prevent pallet racking overload

Aug 24, 2022 | Pallet Racking, Uncategorized

An integral part of any successful warehouse operation, pallet racking aids the effective storage, management and movement of inventory whilst maximising space and influencing a more streamlined process. So, the longevity of your pallet racking system really does matter. Whilst adopting the right pallet racking system can indeed promote increased productivity and a successful business, maintaining the safety of the structure is essential.

Understanding the risks of overloading

Overloading is an improper use of a pallet racking system which can put the integrity of the structure at significant risk, implicating workplace safety.

The potential consequences of overloading your pallet racking system can be catastrophic and to an extent only known after the event. A collapse would be entirely possible as the structure weakens under the intense weight and this could result in chaos, disruption, damage and most worryingly, injury. As an employer you are responsible for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff and visitors, both legally and morally. Overloading a pallet racking system creates a dangerous environment and is non-compliant with Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) which could lead to prosecution, a damaged reputation and huge costs.

Pallet Rackig Risk of Overloading!

Preventative measures

Without intention, overloading your pallet racking system is easily done which is why preventative measures should be taken seriously:

Display weight load notices

Designed to meet the individual needs of the user, a pallet racking system in one warehouse will have a different weight load capacity to that of another, however similar they appear to be. For this reason it is important that operators are aware of the maximum weight load of the structure they are working with. Displayed in a clear manner, weight load notices are made up of three vital components of information which is displayed across the laminated sign which is A3 in size and landscape orientated.  In the form of easy to read diagrams in colour with minimal text, the three sections of information should consist of:

General Safety Information – This area warns of the dangers of prohibited actions and conduct within the warehouse environment highlighting the importance of regular safety checks, reporting damage immediately and the dangers of climbing the racks to help prevent catastrophic incidents.

Specific Safety Information – This is the central section and refers to the load limits and configuration of the structure, providing instant guidance to operators as they work.  Also included in this section is the date the system was supplied and project reference numbers.

Administrative Information – This section holds the supplier information including the company LOGO and contact details should there be a need for further advice.

Racking with timber decks and weight load notices

Keep critical information up to date

As your needs change, a pallet racking re-configuration is a low cost and easy way to adapt to those changes, however the removal or repositioning of beams can effect the original weight load bearing. Similarly, the incorporation of decking can cause variations to the original weight load capacity. In order to ensure safety is maintained, any reconfiguration works should be carried out professionally to ensure changes to capacity is documented and load notices are updated.

Ensure component accuracy

Displaying inaccurate capacity information can be dangerous as it could lead to the structure being burdened with loads weighing more than it can safely support therefore being aware of issues that may cause a variant in load capacity is crucial.

Used racking considerations – As already highlighted above, all pallet racking systems must display weight load notices and this includes a used racking system. Prior to the purchase of used racking, it is important to:

  1. Ensure that the weight load notices are included in the purchase of the racking
  2. Confirm whether weight load notices were updated according to any reconfiguration works
  3. Have the racking professionally inspected to ensure accurate capacity and to detect any component defects.

Don’t delay your professional inspections – An annual rack inspection carried out in accordance to SEMA guidelines can prevent incidents caused by overloading through the early detection of weak or damaged components. Postponing or skipping your annual inspection is an opportunity for unnoticed damage to worsen and possibly cause harm as a result.

Conduct internal safety checks – Through professional training, your team can learn how to conduct regular internal checks. These can be completed daily, weekly or monthly throughout the year to ensure any accidental damage which could occur between professional inspections can be detected and reported immediately.

Ensure instant reporting – Operators must understand the importance reporting risks as and when they detect them to enable immediate, preventative action to be taken.

Rack ends with fork lift truck

Avoid pallet overloading

Placing an overloaded pallet onto the pallet racking beams will cause the beams to become overworked under the additional weight, making the structure unsafe.  Another danger is that the timber pallets can come apart if not loaded in accordance to the manufacturer’s guidelines, causing the goods to fall. Always check the condition of the pallets before loading goods onto them and ensure that you are using the right pallet type for the required capacity.

Install safety accessories

An accidental nudge to the structure from an operating fork lift truck (FLT) is likely to occur in a busy warehouse setting. Repeated collisions, particularly involving the same components can cause an eventual collapse as the component becomes less and less able to accommodate the expected weight load.

Pallet racking accessories in the form of steel upright protectors and end of aisle barriers can protect the vulnerable areas of your pallet racking system. Fixed to the floor, the robust guards are placed to take impact from the moving FLT rather than the structure itself. The upright protectors are placed around each upright whilst the barriers are placed to guard the exposed end frames where FLT travels as it navigates around the outside of the racking.

Upright protectors and end barriers

Be assured and choose WSL

Having worries and doubts over the load capacity of your pallet racking system can be a strain, but when partnered with WSL, that strain is replaced by peace of mind. WSL is one of the UK’s leading designers and manufacturers of bespoke storage solutions with Full SEMA Membership and UKCA Certification which reflects a strong commitment to high quality and safety standards. With such accreditations accompanied by decades of knowledge, experience and expertise you can feel assured that the safety of your warehouse is our priority.

Speak to our expert team today by calling 0113 2045350 or email

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