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Sam Myers

You’ve identified that it’s time to get your warehouse racks inspected. The question now is: Who should you get to do them?  

It’s an important question to ask, and it seems no one in the warehouse and storage industry is on the same page regarding this topic. For many, their in-house safety department is more than capable of performing a rack inspection. But recently, the industry is moving towards third-party rack inspections being the standard.  

Inspecting warehouse racks is an intricate, detailed, and important part of making your operations successful and safe, and having an unbiased, outside perspective will help make sure you’re getting the best inspection possible.  

At Mazzella, our warehouse solutions team has several decades of experience inspecting warehouse racks for various industries. We also understand that you may be curious why you should opt for a third-party inspection instead of an in-house one.  

To help clear up confusion and make this process easier for you, this article will dive into important topics, such as:  

What are the Positives of a Third-Party Pallet Rack Inspection?

Warehouse Rack Application

First, let’s start with the positives of a third-party rack inspection.  

As we mentioned in our previous article on how often you should inspect your warehouse racks, we briefly mentioned that a third-party rack inspection allows an unbiased and accurate assessment of your warehouse pallet racking system’s condition.  

While your safety coordinators are probably fair and trustworthy, having someone form outside your organization conduct the inspection removes the chance of implicit biases, where subconscious feelings and attitudes develops due to prior influences and experiences, which affect people’s decision-making processes without them even knowing it.  

Increased Expertise 

The current inspection criteria for who can inspect a warehouse rack is, as our Warehouse Solutions Specialists like to say, the “wild west.”  

Current standards say that any experienced professional can inspect warehouse racks. The problem is that these standards don’t define criteria on what makes a person competent or qualified to perform the inspection. Depending on the organization, someone with less than a year of industry experience can inspect racks. 

The problem? This creates an environment where people who aren’t qualified can oversee inspections and can cause a big disparagement in the quality and effectiveness of the rack inspection. With OSHA’s increasing oversight in the warehouse industry—which also includes an increase in fines and citations—having the right person come in can save your organization from paying hefty fines. 

Plus, an experienced inspector can detect smaller and more intricate details, like missing capacity tags and labels and pieces, which helps you avoid a complete collapse of your racks. 

What Does a Third-Party Warehouse Rack Inspection Look Like?

Performing a Storage Rack Inspection

When a third-party inspector enters your facility, they will conduct a physical review of the rack’s structural integrity. They will go bay-to-bay and look for telltale signs of damage, such as:  

  • Deformed structural members 
  • Bent struts  
  • Missing studs 

After assessing the rack’s integrity, the third-party inspectors will review the product application. At many organizations, it’s common for them to move into a facility and use whatever racks are in there—a one-size-fits-all mindset.  

The inspectors will then look at the actual rack loading and product interface with the rack. Here, they’re checking to see: 

  • Are there any improperly positioned loads  
  • What’s the weight capacity and are they exceeding it? 
  • Is there excessive beam deflection?  

After reviewing the product application, they will want to see if the racks are properly anchored to the warehouse and floor.  

To wrap up the inspection, the third-party inspectors will look for any in-house modifications. This can be anything that an in-house repair technician might have taken care of. Unfortunately, our team runs across them frequently, and they are almost certain to not be engineered to industry standards.  

Throughout the process, the inspectors will note any location where they see an infraction, photograph it, and create a curated report to show you and your team. These reports take about a week to complete.  

How Much Does a Third-Party Pallet Rack Inspection Cost?

Warehouse Storage Racks

The cost of an inspection will depend on various factors, including the size of your facility and what level of inspection is involved. At Mazzella, our inspections are ranked on a 1-3 level scale:


Level 1 Inspections 

Level 1 inspections are reserved for your mom-and-pop shop operations: companies that have a handful of racks and one or two forklifts in use. These are very quick inspections and cost anywhere between $1,000-$5,000


Level 2 Inspections 

Level 2 inspections are a bit more detailed, and they may take multiple days depending on your facilities size. Level 2 inspections will cost anywhere between $5,000-$8,000.  


Level 3 Inspections 

Level 3 inspections are the most thorough and rarest of our inspections. They are also the most expensive option. Here, in addition to a full inspection, you will get a third-party stamp of approval for your capacities.  

All our level 3 inspections are done in tandem with a rack engineering firm in California. As part of this partnership, we send our inspection documents to them, and their team will double-check everything and certify the organization.  

Per elevation could cost about $1,000, so a company with 30 elevations can expect to pay $30,000 on engineering alone.  

How Long Will a Third-Party Rack Inspection Take?

Performing a Storage Rack Inspection

Many of the inspections our Warehouse Specialist do take less than a day to complete—90% by their estimates.  

How long the inspection takes really boils down to your facility’s size. Our specialists say that a facility the size of a Home Depot or Lowes is medium-sized and will take only a day.  

Anything bigger will require more planning and could take several days. The size of your facility will be one of the first things a third-party inspector would like to know, so have a good idea of the number of bays and the square footage of your facility to speed up the process.  

Are You Ready for A Third-Party Warehouse Rack Inspection?

While some see third-party rack inspections as costly and a hassle, the expertise and unbiased evaluation they offer keep your operations up-to-date with industry standards, avoid hefty fines from OSHA, and keep your workers safe.  

If you’d like to know more about warehouse rack inspections, check out our article discussing how often you should inspect your racks. If you need more information or would like to schedule a consultation with one of Mazzella’s Warehouse Solutions Specialists, contact us

Contact a Mazzella specialist today to learn more, order products, or schedule services.

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Disclaimer: Any advice, graphics, images, and/or information contained herein are presented for general educational and information purposes and to increase overall safety awareness. It is not intended to be legal, medical, or other expert advice or services, and should not be used in place of consultation with appropriate industry professionals. The information herein should not be considered exhaustive and the user should seek the advice of appropriate professionals.