Self-Repair of Pallet Racks
Before you run headlong and gung-ho into completing your own rack repairs, there may be a few things you would want to consider – things you may not have realised may affect your rack, your staff, and maybe even your business.
Repairs may actually take longer if completed by non-competent persons, resulting in each repaired item costing more, even though the hourly rate you pay your own staff may be less than the rate offered by an experienced and trained contractor.
A Pain in the Neck…
If your employee incurs an injury or strain while completing repair works, this may interfere with his or her regular tasks. As with any injury, this could result in reduced productivity in that business unit. Additionally, your WorkCover or other insurance policies may not cover you for construction-related injuries, resulting in limited claimability and greatly increased premiums.
Sit, Stay, Roll Over…
Extensive training is required to make good rack repairs – correct procedures and standards, tolerances, and other information will need to be recalled from memory. Additionally, mechanical and structural nous is critical to ensure the safety and stability of the rack structure while repairs are taking place.
Training is costly and only effective if continuous on-the-job training occurs, along with correct practise (remember, only PERFECT practise makes perfect!). Effective training may not be completed until the repairer has had more than 6 months experience.
Ihre Papiere, Bitte (Your Papers, Please)…
For all “building works” in Queensland, which includes installing structures fixed to the ground and working on/repairing structures which are fixed to the ground, a QBCC licence must be held for any works totalling $3,300 (incl. GST) or more, including materials and labour (QBCC Act 1991). Penalties for unlicensed work exist and are enforced in Queensland.
That Umbrella Won't Keep You Covered…
Your external rack repair contractor should have adequate insurance policies to cover the specific type of work (especially regarding worker’s compensation and public/products liability) being carried out, including (but not limited to):
- Public Liability
- Product Liability
- Workers Compensation
Failure liability – if, for any reason, a repair fails, liability will fall solely on the company, supervisors, management and owners of the business completing their repairs internally. If injury or death results from such a failure and it is found that “due diligence” has not been taken to reduce the risk of failure, both criminal negligence and civil action suits and litigation can be filed against the aforementioned “responsible” parties.
Observe and Report…
Rack inspections should be completed by a competent industry expert at least once per year and repairs made based on this annual assessment. In addition, rack inspections should be completed internally by warehouse or operational staff (who have been educated in identifying rack damage) to ensure that between these audits, the level of rack damage is maintained at a minimum level.
The frequency of these internal inspections should be adjusted based on the level of damage occurring, MHE traffic and safety incidents. Any defects should be repaired as soon as possible. Operators should also be encouraged to report rack damage identified and rack damage incidents as soon as they are witnessed. Proper reporting procedures and safety management systems (SMS) should be established to deal with these instances and remedy potentially unsafe racking and operational practices.
Better the Devil You Know…
So, if after reading all of this, you still want to perform your own rack repairs – for financial, operational or whatever reasons – you will probably need to purchase components in order to do so. When purchasing components, ALWAYS USE GENUINE PRODUCTS which match the products you already have. This means products manufactured by the OEM (original equipment manufacturer).
NEVER use “brand compatible” (counterfeit) rack components to perform rack repairs. You may also find that some rack brands look very similar to other rack brands (such as Spacerack and Macrack). These brands are not compatible with each other and should never be interchanged.
Additionally, you should also be aware of different “generations” of rack brands. For example:
The Dexion pallet rack designs in Australia have received several re-designs and improvements over the past 20 years. Most Dexion pallet rack installations will have at least one of the following generations/types of uprights:
- “MK3” (Mark 3/III) – identified by its 80 mm wide upright and the letter ‘S’, ‘M’, ‘H’ or ‘E’ stamped into the face of the upright.
- “MK5” (Mark 5/V) – identified by its 90 mm wide upright with a flat face and the letters ‘AV’, ‘BV’, ‘CV’ or ‘RV’ (galvanised) stamped into the face of the upright.
- “MK6 Keylock” – identified by its 90 mm wide upright with a “ridged” face and the letters ’90R’, ’90M’, ’90H’, ’90E’ or ‘100[x]’ stamped into the face of the upright.
- “MK6 Speedlock” – same profile as the MK6 Keylock, but with different-shaped holes punched in 2″ increments in the face of the upright. The same markings (’90R’, etc.) as MK6 Keylock are stamped in the face of the upright. MK6 Speedlock is usually used for Dexion’s “Deepstor” Drive-In Racks.
Finally, for each brand, generation and type of rack component, there will be several different “grades” or “thicknesses” which have been used in the rack structure to meet the load ratings originally given by the OEM.
For beams, this may be open, box or RHS sections with different depths or beam connectors. For uprights this may be variations in steel grade or thickness. ALWAYS replace like-for-like. Replacing a component with a weaker substitute can be catastrophic, leading to failure, collapse and even serious injuries or death.
If you are unsure what brand/type/generation/grade/etc. etc. your rack is (or needs to be), Inspect-a-RACKcan help you identify it and source it.
But then, why would you want to go through all this? Especially now that you know that an experienced, trained and professional Inspect-a-RACK repairer is just a phone call away. You might be surprised at just how easy it is to pick up that phone and rest assured.
Please note that:
- Inspect-a-RACK does not encourage the practice of end-user rack repairs. Rack repairs should only be completed by trained and competent persons and failure to use correct repair techniques, components and methods may result in collapse of rack structures either during or after repair works. Contact Inspect-a-RACK for more information.