racking safety working load chartsAll racking should have adequate load signage with information on the safe operating loads of the system fixed in a clear position.

Safe working load charts not prominently displayed on racking structures can result in serious workplace injuries and delivery of an improvement notice from Health & Safety Act authorities.

What is a Load Chart?

A load chart should define the loading for a racking system at a number of different levels. These include:

  • Bay (between 2 uprights)
  • Shelf or level (pair of beams)
  • For the unit to be stored i.e. a pallet

Why do I need Safe Work Load Charts?

Safe Work Load Charts are necessary to instruct your MHE (Materials Handling Equipment) drivers on the acceptable loads for each beam within your facility. They also provide information on correctly placing loads on beams. They are an aide to avoiding the overloading of beams and placing too much strain on the racking system overall.

The Australian Standard AS4084-12 and many other international standards require load charts on racking systems.

Following is an excerpt from the AS4084-12 standard relating to load chart requirements for compliance.

8.1.2   Working load limits
The working load limit or the total working load limit per bay for the racking installation shall not be exceeded. The permissible unit load limit and permissible unit load limit per bay shall be displayed in accordance with Item (a) of Clause 1.6.1.

8.1.3   Alteration of the racking installation
The racking installation shall not be altered to deviate from the load application and configuration furnished for the racking installation.
Physical alterations to uprights, bracings, beams or components, such as welding on additional cleats or bearers, shall not be made.
In addition, change of use, such as from timber pallets to post pallets, shall not be permitted.

When designing the racking, the nature of the load transfer between unit load (e.g. uniformly distributed action and concentrated action) and the immediate supporting elements shall be considered.

8.1.4   Operating instructions
Racking installation shall have in one or more conspicuous locations, a permanent corrosion resistant plaque not less than 125 mm long and 250 mm high with minimum 25 mm lettering and shall be mechanically secured to the racking structure at 2 m above floor level. Operating instructions on the plaque shall include but not be limited to the following:

(a) The correct application and use of the equipment.
(b) The working load limits to be adhered to.
(c) Prohibitions on unauthorized alterations.
(d) The requirement to report any damage incurred due to impact so that its effect can be assessed in accordance with Clauses 8.3 and 8.4.

What happens if my staff have been adjusting my racking?

The adjustment of racking including beam levels can in some instances impact upon the load carrying capacity of a racking system. If you are not sure contact IRIA for advice.

How can I get my racking load rated?

IRIA can test all racking component and racking systems at its lab in Melbourne. Tests include:

  • Beam Tests
  • Upright Tests
  • Frame Tests

All equipment is purpose built and testing can range from an individual beam to an entire system for certification to AS4084 2012 and other standards upon request. In addition to this IRIA maintains a database on a range of racking components that have been tested. This allows for clients to be comfortable that racking load charts produced by IRIA are based upon real world testing of the components that make up the system. Contact us to see if we have test data on your brand of racking. With older, unsupported racking along with the entry of poor quality offshore racking IRIA may be able to assist. 

Use the contact enquiry form here to discuss supplying load charts for your racking system - any brand, all brands.

Case Study: How we produced a load chart for a company who had an unknown brand of racking.

A metal manufacturer using a mixture of racking brands including an unknown brand, were required to have load charts for compliance to the AS4084 standard. Since the load data for this pallet rack system was unavailable, load testing on the pallet beams was performed at IRIA’s dedicated test facility. Read more about this in the case study.

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