While you won’t find a requirement for anchoring and securing your pallet racks specifically stated in the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, OSHA frequently cites racking safety issues (such as racks not anchored to the floor) under the General Duty Clause which states:

Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.

So the clause isn’t so cut and dry when it comes to securing your pallet racks. Employers can be cited for violation of the General Duty Clause if a recognized serious hazard exists in their workplace and the employer does not take reasonable steps to prevent or abate the hazard. Keep in mind the General Duty Clause is used only where there is no standard that applies to the particular hazard. Here are the elements necessary for OSHA to prove a general duty clause violation:

  1. The employer failed to keep the workplace free of a hazard to which employees of that employer were exposed;
  2. The hazard was recognized;
  3. The hazard was causing or was likely to cause death or serious physical harm; and
  4. There was a feasible and useful method to correct the hazard.

The three racking issues that OSHA frequently cites under the General Duty Clause are:

  • Rack columns not anchored to the floor
  • Load ratings not present on racking
  • Damaged racking

These racking safety issues that OSHA cites under the General Duty Clause are often cited in conjunction with another document – ANSI/RMI MH16.1 – Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks. OSHA can and will also often reference the equipment manufacturer ‘s installation and maintenance instructions in conjunction with the General Duty Clause.
When it comes to securing your pallet racks, Section 1.4.7 of ANSI/RMI MH16.1 specifies that all rack columns shall be anchored to the floor, and the anchor bolts shall be installed in accordance with the anchor manufacturer ‘s recommendations.
But just being anchored to the floor isn’t always enough, according to ANSI/RMI MH16.1: If the height to depth ratio exceeds 6 to 1, that ‘s considered dangerous, so now the anchors and the base plates should be specially designed to resist overturning. In this case, you should have a rack engineer review the design and specify the appropriate anchors and baseplates to prevent tipping.  And furthermore, if the height to depth ratio exceeds 8 to 1, the racks should also be stabilized using overhead ties. Other ways to deal with ratios such as 8 to 1 and 10 to 1 can include other alternatives such as as bigger baseplates, more anchors, or a combination of ties (examples: cross-aisle, ties to building structure plus base plate and anchors). You can learn more about the height-to-depth ratio here, and you can learn all about the fascinating world of anchor bolts here.
We take every part of your pallet rack system seriously. From starting with high yield strength carbon steel (we can produce mill certificates for every coil of steel that we purchase) to superior engineering & product design for every inch and element of your rack system (including the anchor bolts!), to expert systems design & equipment integration, Next Level is committed to on-going quality assurance in the design, manufacture, sale and service of quality storage products. For more information on how we can help you increase efficiency and profitability, contact us here or call 800-230-8846 now to speak to a design expert.