Rack Design & InstallationRack Inspection & Maintenance

Why Your Rack Installation Needs Load Beam Locking Devices

For the safety of the racking structure and the persons and machinery working in and around it, RMI’s ANSI MH16.1-2012: Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks calls for the installation of beam locking devices in section 5.4.2, stating:

Except for movable-shelf racks, beams subject to machine loading shall have connection locking devices (or bolts) capable of resisting an upward force of 1,000 pounds (453.6 kilograms) per connection without failure or disengagement.

Locking clips and/or bolts are typically included as a standard component from the racking system’s manufacturer and—as a safety best practice—should be applied at the time of installation. They join the beams to the upright columns at every point of connection to prevent an upward force applied by a lift truck’s forks (or a load) from accidentally disengaging the beam in the event of an impact.

A disengaged beam will not be able to support the load capacity for which the system was engineered. The main risk with a disengaged beam is that loads resting on it will fall from the rack and injure people in the aisle. Certain installations, typically those in big box and warehouse stores with a lot of general public foot traffic, often use clips and bolts together as an additional measure of safety.

During routine rack inspections, the locking devices should be evaluated to confirm their proper installation and that they have not been removed or damaged. Damaged or missing beam connector clips or bolts should be replaced immediately.

Need more details about beam-to-column connections? Section 5.4 of the ANSI MH16.1-2012: Specification includes more details.