Every warehouse should promote safety above all else. Workplace accidents in warehouses and other material handling facilities can be very costly with regard to equipment replacement and injury to personnel.
One of the simplest ways to ensure safety is to install maximum load capacity labels on your pallet racks.
Why Weight Capacity Labels Are Necessary
According to the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI) standards, as outlined in ANSI MH16.1, the warehouse manager or rack owner is responsible for displaying in one or more conspicuous locations a permanent plaque, which must feature all of the following details:
- The entire pallet rack system’s maximum load capacity (total weight of all stored items, including pallets, boxes, crates, and other containers).
- If applicable, the average unit load (maximum weight limit of a single pallet, crate, or equivalent container).
- The maximum load limit per level or bay.
- Whether a particular level or bay can support stacking of multiple loads.
The purpose of these labels is to inform your personnel of your racks’ maximum safe working load. Without these labels, your rack could be overloaded, creating the conditions for an accident or a rack failure because it is impossible to determine whether the rack load exceeds the beam weight limits.
How to Find Your Racking System’s Capacity
New pallet racks made by a reputable manufacturer should be ANSI- or RMI-certified and come with documentation or tables featuring their exact specifications and maximum weight capacity.
For example, our 24” x 240” Teardrop Pallet Rack Frames can support up to 22,000 lbs. This value corresponds to the entire unit’s load capacity; you must still find the maximum load your beams can support. If your pallet rack uses a set of 72” x 3” step pallet rack beams, then you know each bay can only support up to 3,150 lbs.
Unknown and Used Racks
If you can’t find the maximum load specifications for your pallet racks, or if you bought used pallet racks and aren’t sure they can support their listed maximum weight, hire an expert who specializes in warehouse racking design. They are qualified to make the necessary calculations and estimate your racking system’s maximum load capacity.
Well-designed racking systems should support slightly more than their listed capacity, providing you with a safety cushion. However, your personnel should still treat the listed maximum capacity as an absolute that should never be exceeded.
How to Label Your Warehouse Racking
Once you have the data, you can determine what to write on your labels. Printing a pallet rack capacity label is relatively straightforward, but it should meet specific RMI requirements to ensure maximum safety and clarity.
A typical label should feature the following:
- Aisle numbering or equivalent identifying code.
- Minimum area 50 square inches (e.g., 10” x 5”).
- Clear, legible print (e.g., white or yellow background, standard sans serif font, black text).
- Maximum permissible load for each pallet or unit OR maximum uniformly distributed load per level.
- Average load per pallet or unit.
- Maximum total load for each bay.
For example, a compliant 9” by 6” label (54 sq. inch) with a white background and black text may feature the following information:
- Aisle #7
- 4 beam levels, 48” spacing
- Max 5,500 lbs., uniformly distributed per beam level
- Max 22,000 lbs. per bay
Place your capacity labels immediately after the rack installation before loading pallets or other items to allow your personnel to see the listed information before using the unit.
As long as your labels are legible, clearly visible, and features all the relevant information needed for safe load storage, you will not only meet regulations but also improve workplace and racking safety, reducing the risk of life-threatening accidents.
Safety and Professionalism With Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.
Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. offers a wide range of RMI-compliant pallet racking systems, frames, beams, and accessories to meet all your material handling and storage requirements. Contact us if you have any questions about our products or need help selecting the right racking system or storage rack for your facility.