Canadian Rental Service

Squared away – Part II

By Tim Ranson   

Canadian Rental Association

April 2016 - In the last President’s Message, I talked about the importance of making sure your racking and storage systems are secure and safely installed according to manufacturer’s recommendations. In this column, let’s take a look at the steps you should follow to monitor and maintain your shelving in a safe condition.

The following elements should be included on your facility inspection of storage racking and shelving. If your storage racking is outside, ensure it is engineered to withstand the elements. Rust, poor foundations and improper installation are known to be serious risk factors with exterior installations. A documented monthly inspection must be completed that identifies any variance from the manufacturer’s specifications, as well as structural damage and/or missing or out-of-position components. You may wish to create a specific shelving and racking inspection procedure. Here’s a list of items to look for:

  • Check that the bays conform to the safe working limit signs provided by the designer or installer, and that the racks have not been altered.
  • Look for evidence of overloading.
  • Damaged or missing horizontal and/or diagonal braces. Damaged horizontal or diagonal braces must be replaced.
  • Sheared or missing floor anchors.
  • Damaged or permanently deflected (yielded) beams or improper beam bracket engagement. Ensure beams remain firmly in the bracket and suspended at both ends. Any visible deflection in a crossbeam after unloading is cause for replacement.
  • Missing or improper safety pins in each end of all beams.
  • Misplaced, missing or damaged safety bars between front and back beams. There should be a minimum of two per pallet location.
  • Check for obvious signs of beams being hit by a pallet or forklift. Damaged beams should be replaced.
  • If a beam has been hit and only shows minor damage, ensure the welds are checked for cracking by a competent person.
  • If racking is located outdoors, inspect it for signs of rust and corrosion. Ensure the base the racking rests on remains stable.

Inspection findings must be reported immediately and a system implemented to address any deficiencies or damage noted.

While there are more extensive inspections available, this is a simple method for you to ensure the safety of your staff and customers and meet the compliance requirements of occupational health and safety authorities. If deficiencies are found, replacement of components and a review by a manufacturer’s representative may provide assistance in improving your individual storage zones.

We often overlook the storage systems in our facilities. Take a few minutes to review your shelving and racking to ensure you have removed the hazards. This will also improve your eye on housekeeping and give you a more appealing store when your customers visit.


Tim Ranson is Environment, Health and Safety manager at Finning (Canada) / The Cat Rental Store in Edmonton, Alta. He has worked in the rental industry for more than 20 years. Tim sat on the ARA Trade Show Committee and the ARA Risk Management Committee and helped start its Professional Driver Improvement Program. He was also a speaker/panelist over the past three years at the ARA Rental Show learning sessions.

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