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Why Pallet Racking Inspections are Particularly Important

If you have any form of racking in your warehouse (and let's face it, most have), have you had it checked recently? Did you know that as a responsible employer and to abide by health and safety standards, it should be regularly inspected?

Some warehouse managers and operatives may not be aware that under the HSE's Provision of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), regular inspections should be carried out by the company's in-house trained person. In addition, a SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) approved Racking Inspector should complete a thorough safety inspection once a year.

warehouse racking

Types of warehouse pallet racking

Pallet racking is a warehouse shelving system designed to accommodate goods on pallets - one pallet equals one unit - which facilitates easier storage, loading/unloading and transportation.

It allows you to organise your warehouse, stockrooms and workshops, into an orderly, easy-to-follow and managed area for storing, moving, loading or unloading products. Pallet racking helps you make the most out of your warehouse space. Plus, the easier your warehouse is to use and navigate - the more your workforce will thank you!

Let's look at some of the types of warehouse pallet racking:

  • Adjustable pallet racking is the most widely used and simple-to-build form of racking. It is designed to allow easy access by forklifts and maximise the warehouse space. Whilst it isn't the most compact form of racking, it is versatile, adaptable and provides quick and easy access to your stored items.
  • Very Narrow Aisle racking, abbreviated to VNA, is similar to the adjustable system but makes better use of warehouse space. This is because the aisles between the racking are narrower but still maintain easy access to stored products. However, a narrower than standard forklift is needed.
  • Double deep pallet racking is, as the name suggests, a further adaptation of the adjustable system. It is designed to store two pallets (units) in depth, providing increased storage capacity. However, it is harder to get direct access to every unit load as it is only accessible from one side.
  • Mobile pallet racking is mounted onto mobile bases to allow for the lateral movement of racking units. It also lets forklifts work effectively and maximises space.

Other warehouse pallet racking systems include Drive In and Drive Out compact systems, which are forms of 'live storage'.

Why does pallet racking need to be inspected?

Pallet racking undergoes high usage and, like most things in life, with usage (and old age), can become damaged and weakened in places. Without regular inspections, it could become dangerous and potentially cause an accident. Inspections will highlight:

  • If your racking is damaged, or there is a risk that it could become damaged
  • Whether the racking continues to meet current HSE regulations and requirements, as well as Codes and Guidelines
  • Any unsafe conditions that may result in the racking collapsing
  • The load capacity of your racking (you need to know this to comply with legislation)
  • The level of risk and subsequent consequences should any part of the racking collapse

Businesses that use pallet racking systems should comply with HSE's (Health & Safety Executive) Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). This puts the responsibility on the people within the company who own, hire, operate or control work equipment to make sure:

  • It is suitable for its intended use
  • It is safe to use, is maintained in a safe condition and inspected regularly to ensure it is correctly installed and does not subsequently deteriorate
  • It is used only by the people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
  • It is accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, like protective devices and controls, including guarding, emergency stop devices, clearly visible markings, warning devices and adequate means of isolation from energy sources
  • It is used in accordance with specific requirements for mobile work and power presses

Work equipment is defined as any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work, exclusively or not.

What does a pallet racking inspection involve?

Checking your pallet racking regularly is more important than you might think to avoid accidents and help you get the most out of your storage solutions. A company must ensure there is a designated person who is sufficiently trained to conduct regular inspections of the pallet racking in the warehouse, ideally daily or weekly. This includes ensuring it is suitable for purpose, maintained to a high standard and in efficient working order, complies with legal requirements and verifies it has been correctly installed. In addition, should any issues be identified, they need to be logged and repairs made.

At ESE Direct, we have a wide range of warehouse pallet racking systems and parts which are suitable for all types of repairs needed. We can also carry out pallet racking inspections on your behalf if you don't have a dedicated person in the company.

At least once a year, warehouse pallet racking should undergo a thorough safety inspection by a SEMA-approved Racking Inspector. ESE Direct can arrange for a qualified and independent inspector to carry out a detailed and impartial inspection, in accordance with BS EN 15635:2008 Steel Static Storage Systems; application and maintenance of storage equipment.

The inspector will provide a detailed report that identifies load capacities, damage or unsafe areas of the racking, risks and improvements that should be made to the racking.

How to book a pallet racking inspection

If you're not sure about pallet racking inspections, how often they need to be carried out and by whom, our ESE Projects team can guide you throughout the whole process. We can arrange for a SEMA-approved Racking Inspector to visit your premises at least once a year to do a full, detailed inspection.

What to do if your pallet racking doesn't meet requirements

ESE Direct can provide you with a quote for any repair work that has been identified. Our dedicated, experienced installers, who specialise in the design, installation and maintenance of racking, can conduct all repairs needed.

We can also install any recommended improvements, such as the design and installation of an anti-collapse mesh to increase safety and prevent the risk of injury.

The ESE Projects team can arrange an inspection of your pallet racking by a SEMA-approved rack inspector. With more than 40 years of knowledge and experience in the industry and exceptional customer service, you can trust ESE Direct. Call us now on 0808 274 9657.

Photograph of Debs

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