How to Identify Faulty Shelving

One of the worst things that can happen in your warehouse is for a shelf to collapse. It can take other shelves with it, destroy thousands of dollars of product, and injure your workers. Fortunately, if you carefully inspect your warehouse shelving on a regular basis, you should be able to see signs of faulty shelving and replace those units before anything horrible happens.


An uneven shelf is obviously faulty and should not be used. This is one of the issues that are usually pretty easy to see and correct before you start using the shelf. If you notice a shelf that you think is leaning to one side or the other, put a level on it. That will tell you without a doubt that the shelf is level. In fact, many people suggest checking your shelves with a level after you install them just to make certain they’re fine.

Remember to check every level of the shelf for evenness. Even if your base is level, it’s possible one of the upper shelves may not be.

Look for Bends

Another area in which you may find faults is the lower supports. These supports may be slightly bent or damaged in such a way that they bow out a little bit. If you see a small dent or bow, deal with it now. Don’t assume that it’s so slight that it won’t be a problem. Once you have hundreds or even thousands of pounds of weight on it for long periods of time, even the littlest problem in the supports can grow and become a major problem.

Also look on the surface of the shelves. While many pallet racks simply have railings on either side for the pallet to sit on, some do have full flat surfaces. Check these surfaces for dents, too. If it’s already starting to bend downwards, additional weight will only make it worse. Look over all of the support beams, too. If they look weakened, don’t use the shelf.

Check for Signs of Rust

If you’ve bought used shelving, check for signs of rust or other issues. Any discolored spots could actually be signs of damage or weakness, and as such, they should be treated with extreme caution. If you’ve bought new shelving, there should be no rust on it at all. If you see any spots on new shelves, you should probably reconsider purchasing them or return them to the seller.

Missing Pieces

Faulty shelving may be faulty due to missing nuts, bolts, or washers. If you see any missing pieces, replace them immediately. Even if there are multiple screws holding the unit together, if it’s missing one, you should make sure it gets replaced.

Also look for damaged hardware. Screws that have the heads stripped, washers that appear bent, or nuts that are rusted should also be changed whenever noticed. While they may not directly lead to a shelf falling, they can contribute to the overall detriment of the unit.

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