Making sure that your pallet racking is safe is of paramount importance and if your racking is it all damaged it can present a serious safety risk to yourself and other employees.
The potential impact of failing to maintain safe racking can be catastrophic for your business, whether it be loss of product, the possibility of fines and penalties, or even endangerment of human life.
We asked Suffolk-based Acorn Warehouse Solutions Ltd why inspections are so important. They told us: “On the face of it, your storage and racking systems may appear to be perfectly safe and stable.
“However, everyday warehouse operations can cause wear and tear through constant use. Minor bumps or scrapes from forklifts, hand trucks and other vehicles and occasional accidental (or sometimes negligent) overloading can all increase the stress on your racking systems.
“These factors may ultimately render your pallet racking systems unsafe because they can affect both structural integrity and load-bearing capacity.”
As such, it’s important that you have regular racking inspections carried out, so here’s everything you need to know about them.
Who should carry out an inspection?
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) recommends that you have an inspection carried out a racking inspector approved by SEMA (the Storage Equipment Manufacturer’s Association).
SEMA approved inspectors have undergone various training which has allowed them to meet their high standards.
However, while it is recommended that you have one of these inspections carried out annually, it is also recommended that you carry out your own internal inspections throughout the year.
If you do carry out your own internal inspection, it’s important that the person doing so is technically competent enough to do so, so you might wish to give them some specialist racking inspection training.
How often should an inspection be carried out
An external SEMA approved inspection should be carried out at least once a year, but how often you wish to carry out internal racking inspections will, of course, depend on the levels of activity within your warehouse and whether any damage is found.
Things which you should bear in mind when deciding how often to carry out an inspection include the amount of forklift use, the size of your racking installation, any damage to the racking and the temperature of the warehouse.
For example, you should bear in mind that cold store conditions will need to be inspected more often as the conditions are tougher on the materials and staff.
While once every 12 months is the recommended frequency, it’s important that if you feel the safety of your racking is in any doubt at all, you organise one sooner.
While having regular inspections is recommended for your own peace of mind and to keep you and your employees safe, it’s also necessary by law.
Section 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) states that employers must be sure that all of their work equipment (which includes pallet racking) is “maintained in an efficient state”.
In addition, Section 6 states that equipment needs to be inspected when it is installed as we as “at suitable intervals” and in “exceptional circumstances”.