Pallet racking compliance made easy (in layman's terms)

Some time back I wrote an article regarding pallet racking compliance and whose responsibility it was. It was kind of long winded and technical with lots of big words explaining the Code of Practice in relation to plant in the workplace.

Went down like a bomb!

So I’ll attempt to be a bit more straightforward this time.

Basically, it was letting you know that if you ran a business or undertaking and had pallet racking which is regarded as “plant” it needed to be maintained and kept safe.

So what does that mean exactly?

It means if you have altered the racking from its original installation design or have damaged it in any way then it may be unsafe or even dangerous and it will need to be fixed.

I’m going to explain in layman’s terms both of these points.

Deviation from original design

       If your racking was originally installed like this


                               And now it looks like this


Then this is a problem

By removing the lower beams the load capacity of the bays of racking have been greatly reduced.

The higher the first beam level is, the lower the load capacity becomes. Imagine a building on stilts....the higher the stilts, the more instability there is.

If you have removed beams or fitted additional beams then load ratings will change.

You must consult your racking supplier about this. Your racking installation needs to have a load sign showing the load capacity and design of your racking structure.



So what defines damage?

Selective pallet racking is comprised of frames and beams. Frames are made up of individual components like columns, bracing, base plates and hardware.

Below are examples of damage to columns. In most cases this damage is to the lower part of the column where it has been hit by a forklift. This is the most common type of damage and all of this needs to be repaired.

Columns can also sustain damage higher up. 

Anything damage over these limits needs to be repaired.


Horizontal and diagonal bracing also have damage tolerances.


Deviation from a 1m long straight edge in either plane shall not exceed 10mm. Any brace exceeding this tolerance should be replaced.

Occasionally hardware or the nuts and bolts that hold your frame together may become loose or even fall out. You should check that all the bracing is bolted in firmly and that there aren’t any bracings missing altogether as this could lead to catastrophic frame failure.


AS4084 – 2012 was updated in February 2012. Installations after this update must have two fixings per base plate instead of one. Racking that has been struck or hooked up by a forklift can loosen fixings. It doesn’t matter whether you have one or two, these should be checked to ensure they haven’t worked loose on a regular basis.

There should be a minimum of two bolts and nuts holding the column to the base plate and checks should occur that this is the case.

Any damaged base plates need to be replaced immediately as they transfer load from the columns to the concrete slab


Racking beams support many tons of weight and also need regular checks. It is important to check beam connector welds for cracks and also that safety locks or beam pins/clips are in place to prevent accidental dislodgement. 


Racking beams are vulnerable to impact from forklift tines when unloading pallets from the racking. This is especially the case in the higher levels as visibility can be more restricted than the lower levels.

Any dents or beam deformation can reduce the load bearing capacity of a beam greatly.

If you have a beam that looks like the one below, unload the level and replace the beam immediately.


Beams should also be checked for excessive deflection.

AS4084 – 2012 states: “In the serviceability limit state, pallet beam deflection shall not exceed 1/180 of the span measured relative to the ends of the beam”

This just means that if you are using 2600mm wide beams then the maximum deflection is 14.44mm. Any more than that could mean that the beams are overloaded.


The racking structure should also be checked to ensure that is it not out-of-plumb and is within tolerance. This is especially important if you have installed your own racking and weren’t aware of these tolerances.

Racking can also go out-of-plumb when it has been struck or hooked up by a forklift whilst removing product. 


The maximum out-of-plumb for racking that is manually accessed with forklift truck in both cases above is h/500. Therefore if your racking is 6m tall then the maximum out-of-plumb will only be 12mm. Not much is it?

Now that you know what to look for....... get out into your warehouse and check your pallet racking. The Australian standard requires that a minimum annual check be performed and if your racking is heavily accessed then more frequent checks are recommended.

It is also advisable that a business or undertaking that has a substantial amount of racking appoint a monitor who is responsible for regular inspections of the racking system. All users of the racking system shall report any damage to the monitor in order for them to assess the damage and arrange remedial action.

Now you’ve checked your rack and you need the damage repaired. Contact us via email


Or simply call us on 08 8345 1266 or 1800 83 84 85. It may be easier than you think to become compliant again.

Don’t stick your head in the sand until something fails or even worse!








Don’t get left on the shelf