This guide to responsible rack safety practices has been provided by Iain Sherwood, Managing Director of LGA Logistics. LGA are an internationally regarded Logistics consulting company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. LGA are also distributors of Protect-it rack protection products in South Africa. Racking and rack protection standards vary from country to country, but you can be assured that ALL countries are moving towards mandatory rack protection, so please read this bulletin to understand your obligations. Many thanks Iain for sharing his knowledge with us.

Very few warehouse operators have aggressive in-house rack inspection programs in place. Forklift accidents, collisions, dropped or misplaced loads, and other incidents that result in rack damage may not get promptly reported. But even when a reach truck or forklift hits the front end corner of rack row gets reported, a typical management response never goes beyond “let’s go take a look” as if a quick visual inspection alone will confirm that load limits and structural integrity of the rack have not been affected by the accident. It’s as if, while other hazards “stand out” to otherwise reasonable and prudent supervisors, there often is an absolute lapse in concern for the thousands of tons of rack and product collapsing in a pile across the tight confines of a busy warehouse. It is especially important to have trained, competent and CONCERNED rack safety personnel when there is a high degree of activity in the warehouse, where there is the greatest risk of rack damage due to mechanical materials handling equipment.


When a rack has been struck by a reach truck or other materials handling equipment, one of the first priorities should be to identify any unsafe components in order to reduce the dangers of collapse. Specific precautions and taking damaged segments out of service immediately may be the only prudent response to prevent possible risk of injury to personnel caused by continued use of damaged racking.  Rack safety is first and foremost, the employer’s responsibility, and failure to provide a safe working environment can  carry substantial legal liabilities (civil and criminal).

But supervisors should also realize the hidden costs of a rack collapse including:

  • Replacing materials and damaged goods.
  • Use of temporary storage facilities.
  • General disruption.
  • Workman’s compensation, general liability and other insurance rate hikes following the loss.
  • Legal expenses from defending actions resulting from an accident.
  • Potential fines relating to violations of statutory safety requirements.