Should Your Pallet Racks Be Bolted to the Floor?

Is it necessary to bolt pallet racks to the floor slab? The common sense in me is screaming, “Of course. Only a fool wouldn’t do something that basic!” Then after thinking about this for a while, it is possible to make an argument, albeit a weak one, where not bolting racks to the foundational floor could make sense. Let’s focus instead on reasons why it is important that warehouses should bolt racks to the floor.

The Rack Manufacturers Institute standard RMI’s ANSI MH16.1-2012, states, “Column Base Plates and Anchors states, “This includes both aisle columns and interior or rear columns on all frames. The specification requires all columns to be furnished with a base plate (also sometimes called a footplate) and anchor bolts that meet the design standards established in the same specification’s section 7.3, “Anchor Bolts.”

Then there is an issue with building codes. It would be a major violation of building codes. Racks, the large rack systems, are part of the building’s structure in most building codes today. Therefore, failure to meet the requirements of local building codes often leads to bigger problems, such as closing your facility until you address the code violations.

Safety is a prime concern. Sure, racks are heavy. But not that heavy. Consider the typical warehouse with all its activity. Forklifts move around the facility delivering and picking up product. Some forklift drivers don’t always obey speed restrictions and travel faster than is safe. The impact from one of the speeding forklifts is enough to move a rack several inches or more. That’s if the collision hasn’t caused the rack to tip over.

Having an accident causing the rack to tip over is another safety concern. An unsecured rack increases the likelihood of injury. Injury to the forklift driver certainly would happen. Other workers near the accident also risk injury. Then, a minor injury has catastrophic potential if nearby racks nearby also had no bolting to the floor. One rack tipping over could cause a domino effect and potentially leave all workers in the warehouse exposed to injury or worse.

Product safety is another huge consideration. Racks hold everything hold everything from delicate electronics to heavy manufacturing equipment. An unbolted rack hit and tipped could result in a huge financial loss. Insurance likely would not pay because the rack violated local codes, so your company will be paying the bill for replacing damaged and destroyed items.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes are one more reason to bolt racks to the floor. What’s that? You say your warehouse isn’t in California. Obviously, you haven’t been paying attention to the news recently. If you had, you would remember the earthquake (and aftershocks) in New Jersey and surrounding states. Those on the west coast and Alaska frequently make the new because earthquakes happen there regularly. However, the reality is, every single state is susceptible to an earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey notes that every state has had an earthquake. Yes, Minnesota and North Dakota along with large sections of Texas and Florida (maybe Iowa too), are less likely. Unfortunately, less likely does not translate into any earthquakes. Even if no earthquakes happen in those areas, other natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes have potential to damage unsecured racks.

There really is no good reason why you should not bolt racks to the floor. It saves money. It ensures safety and it’s just good business.

Now that you realize bolted down racks is best for business, you may be wondering the best method and type of bolt to use. That’s a good question; one we probably will discuss in future posts.


David W Cooper
February 16, 2021

Your tone in this article suggests you have had some interesting encounters with people over this subject. You do cite ANSI MH16.1, implying that this is a requirement, but this standard states in its opening paragraphs that this is “VOLUNTARY. The use of this document is completely voluntary. Its existence does not in any
respect preclude anyone, whether it has approved this Standard or not, from following procedures
and assuming responsibilities not conforming to this Standard.” Is there more recent information, or another regulation that you rely on that supersedes this and leads you to your conclusion? Trying to sort through all the information

Paul Parisi
February 23, 2021

Hey David. Sorry for the delay in response. We’d love to help you with this, but calling us would be better so we can gather more info. Feel free to call us @ 888.294.5022. Thanks!

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