Pallet Rack will typically last a lifetime, however, collisions, ware and tare, and just plain freak accidents are always a possibility. Forklift operators have a tough job and with heavy objects and tall racks, no one is perfect and accidents can happen. Forklifts are very heavy and as you can imagine, it doesn’t take much for a pallet rack frame do become damaged if it is hit by one. The severity of the damage depends on several factors, and it is important to determine when it is necessary to take action.
The first course of action the forklift operator should follow is the procedure to report the incident. They should be aware that they will not be fired for accidents (unless they become excessive and regular) and for everyone’s safety, should not be afraid to report such incidents. If you notice damage in your warehouse, you should report it immediately as well.
In most warehouses, there is at least one individual that should have enough knowledge about pallet rack to determine whether or not it is safe to continue working or if the area should be unloaded and blocked off. Depending on whether or not the pallet rack is used pallet rack or new pallet rack, you have to decide if you need to replace, or repair the pallet rack.
If you have purchased used pallet rack, as long as the damage is not too severe, it is acceptable to use a pallet rack repair kit to make the frame structurally sound again. This is effective, and the least disruptive solution to your problem. I am sure you can imagine how difficult and labor intensive it would be to replace one frame in a pallet rack system. However, if you do have a new pallet rack system, installing a repair kit may void your racks warranty. That is a huge consideration that needs to be discussed before making a decision. In this case, replacing the frame would be of equal or lesser cost in the long run.
With all this said, the best way to handle pallet rack damage is prevention. You do not want this to happen in the first place, so preach safety constantly to your warehouse employees. Do everything you can to train your employees how to work safely, and of course, forklift driver training is a must and should be taken very seriously.