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Warehouse Racking Collapse and How To Prevent It


It doesn’t take long to find a video of warehouse collapse online, gasp at its contents, then move on.

But, the gravity of a warehouse racking collapse, the dangers and the ramifications of this happening are very real and vast.

Crucially, workforce safety is absolutely compromised and as a worst case, but very real scenario, life changing injuries and death can and do occur. With that follows the legalities and the potential costs they can incur, production down time and team morale in the aftermath.

Practically speaking, the loss of stock can be critical. The videos online may be easily forgotten after viewing, but you can guarantee that the ramifications of losing or damaging that much stock and racking equipment in one go will have been significant. For businesses with lower profitability, custom made items or a company just starting out, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Causes of Racking Collapses

There are essentially many reasons why this can happen, but many of those things fall under the simple banners of quality, design, and maintenance, including the upkeep of your staff training. Most incidents of racking collapse are likely to be down to human error, whether that is via decisions made at inception, or by causing damage to the equipment in situ.

1. Short cuts and poor design

The term buy cheap buy twice is never truer than in racking. Having your set up designed and installed by professionals and investing in quality materials and equipment should not be seen as a luxury purchase. Nene deliver full-service racking systems for purchase and hire, setting businesses up properly and minimising the risk of collapse.

2. Inadequate forklift training

A recipe for disaster, first and foremost for your personnel’s safety and also for the stock. A minor nudge on poorly maintained racking can cause devastating damage and so all drivers and relevant floor staff must be trained properly on driving the vehicles and/or how to work around them.

3. Operational speed and workflow

The speed of your operation needs to be considered in the design stages of your racking install. Once in place, moving the goal posts to expect vastly increased processing times in a warehouse constructed for a slower, more considered pace can be dangerous. Be sure to know what you need and when, and whether this fluctuates seasonally in order to have provisions in place to cater for it.

4. Damage, wear and tear

Damage to racking is an obvious and common cause for collapse, yet one often overlooked for minor infliction or as something to be dealt with another day. Damage no matter how small should be properly risk-assessed, as it weakens the racking and can lead to further substantial damage as a result. More significant damage to any part of the system should lead to the section of racking being emptied.

5. Untidy Workspace

Finally, general housekeeping. Not only should your stock be stored in optimum conditions to reduce damage and loss, keeping floors clear and encouraging an at least basic culture of being clean and tidy, makes for a nice workspace and a safer one. Look to reduce trips and falls, forklift accidents and highly preventable maintenance damage to equipment.

How To Prevent Racking Collapse

Do your research and invest in high quality racking

This should include the equipment, service and installation from the provider, such as Nene. They should carry out full site assessments, be SEMA accredited to carry out install, and design your racking to the specification of your product and stock needs, taking into account the space you have and the workflow of your teams.

Fully Accredited Installation Teams

We would highly recommend having your racking installed by fully accredited install teams for quality and standard of workmanship and the health and safety certifications you will get as a result. Nene are experts at supplying all of these products, services and aftercare, with over 40 years in the industry.

Know your limitations

Once your racking is in place, adhere to the limitations set out by the provider and do not exceed these for a ‘quick win’ in a time of need. This is dangerous and highly likely to cause long term damage to your racking, which you may not be aware of until it’s too late.

Invest in Racking Protection

From rack protector covers to limit the impact from forklift nudges to anti-collapse mesh to protect people and stock from a collapse, Nene have products and solutions to protect the equipment they expertly install for you.

Carry Out Regular Inspections

Regular inspections will keep your equipment in check and should be conducted by you and inspectors alike, so nothing is missed.

Quality racking and install as provided by Nene is a must, but it can only go so far if your warehouse teams are not trained properly. Encourage professionalism to take care of the equipment, themselves and others in the warehouse.

There is much to think about, but warehouse racking is a considered purchase. When spending your money on equipment to support your business, people and productivity, there’s no question that the highest quality system, safest install service and up to date health and safety training should be at the top of your agenda.