All UK businesses must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in order to protect their employees from hazardous incidents. Warehouse and racking safety falls under this legislation and while there are no specific racking inspection regulations, the Health and Safety Executive has provided a useful document explaining expected racking standards.

In this article, we give a brief overview of the key points from this essential HSE guidance.

Racking Safety

The HSE recommends that racking should only be installed by “competent people in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions”. SEMA Certification generally indicates that a company or an individual has sufficient experience and knowledge to conduct racking installations and inspections.

HSE suggested racking safety features:

  • Racking should be erected on sound, level floors
  • Racking should have a notice fixed to it, stating the maximum load together with any necessary specified load configurations.
  • High visibility colours for key components of the racking, e.g. horizontal beams, will assist forklift truck operators to correctly position the forks.
  • Free-standing racks should not be used in areas where forklift trucks and other mechanical handling devices are used.

Racking Inspections – Direct HSE Quotations

Taken from the aforementioned document, the Health and Safety Executive provides direct advice on racking damage and the need for inspections:

“In general, racking is manufactured from relatively lightweight materials and, as a consequence, there is a limit to the amount of abuse that it can withstand. The skill of lift truck operators has a great bearing on the amount of damage likely to be caused. Any damage to racking will reduce its load carrying capacity. The greater the damage the less its strength will be. ”

Furthermore…

“ To ensure that a racking installation continues to be serviceable and safe, the storage equipment should be inspected on a regular basis. The frequency of inspections depends on a variety of factors that are particular to the site concerned and should be determined by a nominated ‘person responsible for racking safety’ (PRRS) to suit the operating conditions of the warehouse.”

“This will take into account the frequency and method of operation together with the dimensions of the warehouse, the equipment used and personnel involved, all of which could damage the structure. The inspection follows a hierarchical approach using several levels of inspection.

Suggested Practices for the Prevention of Racking Damage

Employers must have procedures in place for the prevention and reporting of racking damage.

Here are some key take-outs that all warehouse operators must be aware of:

  • Employees should receive training and instruction on the safe operation of the racking system.
  • Employers should have systems in place for reporting damage and defects.
  • As soon as a safety problem is observed by any employee, it should immediately be reported to the PRRS.
  • The PRRS should ensure that inspections are made at weekly or other regular intervals based on risk assessments.
  • Formal written records should be maintained.
  • A technically competent person should carry out inspections at intervals of not more than 12 months.
  • A written report should be submitted to the PRRS with observations and proposals for any action that is necessary.

A technically competent person is listed as “a trained specialist within an organisation, a specialist from the rack supplier, or an independent qualified rack inspector.”

At Pegasus’ our SEMA Approved Inspectors have acquired an abundance of knowledge when it comes to health and safety.

Ensuring the safety of your work environment, we can provide comprehensive racking inspections and a full storage system survey. Our customers are provided with a drawing of thelayout of their warehouse that identifies risks and the potential severity of them.

Interested? Call 01843 835999 or click HERE for more information!