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Preventing Pallet Racking Accidents

Article added Friday October 26th, 2018

That pallet racking is interconnected means that if one rack falls, others will go with it. Depending on the width of the aisles in a warehouse, this can mean one small accident can lead to several rows of pallet racking falling, shedding their loads as they go down.

Warehouse accidents can be catastrophic in terms of product loss, time loss and potential injury so it is logical that taking preventative steps to reduce the possibility of a pallet racking accident would be in every company’s best interests.

Most pallet racking accidents fall into one of the following categories:

  • Forklift damage
  • Overloading
  • Inadequate load clearance
  • Poor installation

 Forklift Damage

Forklift damage can happen when there is not enough space between the aisles. Generous spacing between aisles may appear to reduce cost effectiveness, but more space can help reduce the risk of damage and actually increase productivity due to easier manoeuvrability and therefore faster loading and unloading times.

Regular forklift driver training is another important element to preventing accidents. For example, ensuring that drivers know, understand the reasons for and keep to speed limits are measures that can be implemented to reduce the likelihood of accidents.

Damage can also occur if there is clutter in the aisles. If drivers need to avoid obstacles while they are loading or retrieving pallets, the likelihood of hitting the racking is increased.

Racking protection can help prevent serious damage in the event of a forklift impact.

Overloading and Uneven Distribution

Pallet racking beam capacity is calculated over each pair of beams and it is important that operatives understand this when loading the bays. The use of load notices is recommended in most instances.

In addition, even distribution across the bays and beams is central to ensuring pallet racking stability. In the same vein, ensuring that pallets fit the racking and do not overhang the aisles will help to reduce the risk of falling pallets.

Having measures in place to ensure that heavier loads are placed lower down the pallet racking and lighter pallets are stored higher up will also help to reduce the risk of accidents occurring when loading and unloading.

It is also best practice to inspect pallets regularly and dispose of any that are damaged.

Inadequate Load Clearance

Allowing sufficient clearance between:

  • rack uprights and the pallets
  • each pallet and the one above/below

will let drivers access pallets without bumping the racks. In the upper racking levels, extra clearance should be allowed because loading and unloading at height makes is difficult to judge distances.

Poor Installation

Every column within a pallet racking system should be secured to the floor with bolts designed for the job. Each column or vertical within the racking system will have a base plate which can be anchored to the floor with anchor bolts. The reason for this specification is to ensure the pallet racking stays upright and enable it to take its full load capacity.


Putting systems into place to reduce the risk of accidents is a cost-effective business decision as an accident would certainly cost more than introducing preventative measures.

Here at Pallet Racking Systems, we offer our clients a full design service which will maximise your storage needs, the efficiency and safety of your warehouse.


Call us on 0800 085 8117 now to find out more about our pallet racking or how we can help you design your extra space or use our online enquiry form.