How to Minimize Pallet Rack Damage

It’s a typical day in the warehouse. Orders are coming in at the usual fast pace. Pickers strain to fill orders while forklift drivers zip through the aisles. Then it happens; one of your racks is damaged. A forklift driver became distracted for a moment.

Yes, accidents in the warehouse are dangerous to the structural integrity of pallet shelving systems. But you can prevent most damage to your racks if you’re willing to take the right action. It requires a combination of products and training to reduce the damage.

Here are some tips to help select the best of both:

There are several products designed to aid in preventing rack damage from accidents. Some are basic in design. Others are more elaborate.

Warehouse Rack Protection Products

Many rack manufacturers offer reinforced frame bases on rack systems. Reinforced bases withstand impact, preventing serious damage to the rack. Retrofitting reinforced frame bases on racks is a good plan and works well in minimizing damage. However, these bases can absorb a limited number of impacts before the need for repair or replacement occurs. It is best to consider other options.

One of these is rack guards. Placed directly in front of the rack base, a rack guard absorbs the impact. Forks from lift and pallet trucks deflect, preventing damage to the rack. Newer rack guards even take the impact better, keeping the concrete floor from damage.

Another product attaches to the rack leg. These rack protectors are made from high-tech plastic and often come in bright colors. The protector attaches easily to the rack and absorbs impacts in line with national and international standards. The bright color also aids in accident prevention by increasing visibility.

The end of an aisle represents one of the most vulnerable parts of a rack. It is important that racks have enough protection at the end of the aisle. Rack end protectors offer this protection. In its basic form, these products consist of a piece of metal (steel or another heavy-duty metal) running the width of the rack. This shield is bolted into the floor, keeping forklifts from hitting the rack. Improved versions offer increased impact resistance while providing greater all-around protection. In an ideal world, these and other products prevent damage to warehouse rack systems. This is not an ideal world, however. In spite of attempts to stop damage, accidents will happen. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may not have to invest in new racks. Repair kits allow the replacement of damaged pieces on your rack. These kits meet all codes and provide a cost-friendly alternative to investing in new racks.

Protective products will reduce the problem of rack damage. But another important piece of the puzzle is training.


A forklift may be the cause of much damage to rack systems in the warehouse. Yet, its operator is the one responsible. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set standards for safe forklift operation. The agency recommends training for forklift operators every three years (or after a specific number of incidents).

Training covers:

  • Equipment operation
  • Operating on uneven surfaces
  • Use around pedestrians
  • Maintenance
  • Loading/unloading from racks
  • Safety on the loading dock
  • Safe speeds and clearance
  • Visibility
  • Maintaining safety while moving

There are several companies providing training and testing. The training ranges from on-site to online options. Your supplier may offer training or can share options if they do not.

Other Safety Options

Products and training represent the best options for minimizing rack damage. Still, there are other steps to reduce damage to your racks. Just as a messy house opens the door for problems, a messy warehouse invites accidents and damage.

Make sure aisles are free from clutter. Remove pallets and other items to maintain open and free-flowing movement.

Upgrade lighting. It makes it easier to see. Many new lighting products shine brighter but with an added benefit. These new lights use less energy and save money, making the investment an easy decision.

Other options include video monitoring, crash monitoring software, fleet management systems and more.

The bottom line:

How much should you invest without doing damage to your bottom line?


Becca Holton
January 2, 2018

John, I thought this had a lot of good information on how to minimize damage. It makes sense that training and products represent the best options for minimizing rack damage. It goes to show that there are plenty of things that can be done to help keep your warehouse in order.

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