We have said it before: not all racks are made equal. This is an important thing to remember when looking to install pallet racking within your warehouse.
You might think you’re being thrifty by buying second hand racks and saving your business money, but it could actually end up costing you more money in the long run when those racks don’t meet Australia’s industry standards, or actually cause serious safety problems.
Second hand racks
By choosing second hand racking, whether it’s a whole system, or just some additional beams or uprights, you run the risk they may have defects from previous wear and tear, or they may not be a genuine product, leaving you with no guarantee on the quality. They also may have been originally specified to be used in a certain configuration, which means they could be unsuitable for different layouts, types of pallets, or load patterns.
As with any steel storage racking, second hand racks will require a structural design calculation to determine the load rating, to ensure that they will be able to safely support the loads you are placing on them. It’s important to keep in mind with racks that the system works together as a whole. It’s not simply a case of considering how much weight a beam or bay can support, it also depends on a number of factors including the quality and capacity of connected parts and the overall configuration, as loads and forces are transferred and spread across the whole aisle. A rack structure derives its stability through the interaction of all the components and connectors. It’s also important to remember that a second-hand racking will require an inspection in order to exclude previously damaged components from being used in a new installation.
What to look out for
When shopping for racking there are a few things to look out for to ensure you are getting good quality racks that meet the necessary compliance standards.
You should check for any gaps between beam connectors and uprights, beams that sag excessively when loaded, and ad-hoc upright reinforcement. These factors could ring alarm bells that the racking is not up to the recommended standard.
Poor finish on the rack may also indicate a non-genuine product, and non-genuine racks mean you have no guarantee on the quality of the steel, and no way that you can be assured of the compliance of the product or know for certain what loads it can safely hold.
Why it’s important to get it right
Aside from the fact that you could be compromising on quality, there are some serious safety concerns that come with choosing second hand and non-genuine racking and racking components.
You need to keep in mind your duty of care obligation – there are very serious legal ramifications for the business and business owner if workers’ health and safety is found to be compromised through the installation on non-compliant racking. Accidents can and do happen, and if a forklift collision occurs, the point of weakness may cause failure in a non-compliant or poorly constructed system.
Your equipment must meet the necessary Australian standard (Australian Standard AS 4084 Steel Storage Racking), otherwise you are opening yourself and your business up to safety risks, as well as financial risks when you have to replace the racks later on.
At Colby Storage Solutions, we have seen these types of problems – and many more – in the real-world. Businesses often contact us to have their racking inspected and to obtain load ratings and safety signs. We have seen non-genuine products, poor quality steel, dangerously damaged second-hand parts, and sometimes a “Frankenstein’s monster” combination of everything!
In many of these cases, large portions of the system needs replacing with new product to ensure its safety and compliance. This not only adds equipment costs, but also related pull-down and re-build costs, as well as potential downtime for your operations.
It is important to know the risks, as well as your safety obligations when considering pallet racking for your warehouse, so that you can ensure you get it right the first time.