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The Importance of Rack Inspections

Due to the nature of its use and environment, racking will always suffer from wear and tear through general usage, damage or mistreatment. This can affect the strength, loading capacity and overall integrity of your storage system. Damaged or impaired racking poses a danger to both your business and employees. Potential risks include:
  • Minor or major injury to, and even death, of operatives
  • Racking collapses, with ensuing high cost of replacing entire storage system and loss of or damage to stock
  • Legal action taking the form of claims or prosecution
  • Decreased productivity
  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Loss of business reputation
Identification of damage, defects or impairments to racking through regular inspection will avoid what could become more serious or costly problems. Early detection will also mean that small defects can be repaired on-site with marginal disruption to your operations.

Conducting regular inspections of your racking system is a legal obligation under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, 1998. HSE manual HSG 76 ‘Warehousing and Storage – A guide to health and safety’ states that “To ensure … a racking installation continues to be serviceable and safe, the storage equipment should be inspected on a regular basis”.

SEMA Approved Rack Inspections

These are carried out by SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors (SARI) who have successfully completed a specially designed intensive course run by SEMA. This course includes a written examination and practical assessment. SARI are also obligated to display a commitment to Continued Professional Development throughout the year and must accumulate a prescribed number of points towards this.

Using a SEMA Approved Rack Inspector ensures that your racking is examined by a “technically competent person” as advised by HSG 76, Clauses 646 to 648. These inspections should take place “at intervals of not more than 12 months”.

Detailed and Comprehensive

Your racking will be inspected from ground level under typical operational circumstances – no unloading of the system is required and operations can continue. All inspections are carried out in accordance with SEMA Guideline No.6 – Guide to the Conduct of Pallet Racking and Shelving Surveys, particular attention being paid to the installation’s beams, uprights, frame bracing, floor fixings and locking pins or clips.

The comprehensive audit also considers factors unique to your site such as: the type and condition of pallets in use; the flooring that the racking is installed upon; forklifts and their usage by operators; the positioning and types of materials stored on pallets; possible deviation from original design requirements of the system and general operations in the facility.

Reporting and Action

Using the data gathered in the inspection, a succinct and clear report is provided highlighting any damage to and overloading or vulnerabilities of the system as well as easy to follow suggested remedial actions. Reports grade damage or misuse into three levels of risk:

  • Green

Components with slight or minor damage that falls within SEMA limits – no repair or maintenance is needed and the area can continue to be used as normal. This damage is noted for future reference and observation.

  • Amber

Damage to racking that is greater than SEMA limits – repair is warranted but the racking does not need to be immediately offloaded. No additional loads should be applied to the area affected and it should be cleared of materials within four weeks. Once offloading takes place the damaged area should not be reused until it is successfully repaired.

  • Red

Serious damage that falls well beyond SEMA limits – the affected area should be immediately offloaded and quarantined until it has been repaired.

Safety Training and Awareness

Our SEMA Approved Inspectors can offer on-site rack safety and awareness training for your employees and warehouse operatives, allowing them to make their own regular inspections of your system. Staff can be advised on how to incorporate safety into their daily procedures, allowing problems to be cut off at the source.

Familiarising your staff with your racking system is strongly encouraged as it can help to ensure they understand the difference between signs of regular usage and damage that is a genuine threat to safety. Suitable rack protection products, such as end protection barriers and column guards can also be recommended for high risk areas in your warehouse. This will help to keep your site safe between inspections.

Booking an Inspection

The required regularity of rack inspections often depends on a range of factors that are unique to the site and the type of racking used. However, it is advised that a full technical inspection takes place within six months of the system becoming operational and at least annually from then on.

After your first inspection we will send you a reminder two months before your next is due to give you plenty of time to book.

To book a pallet rack inspection or cantilever rack inspection by our in-house SEMA Approved Rack Inspector, call us on 0800 083 0953 or email us at sales@csigroup.info


           
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Rack Protect is a trading name of Complete Storage and Interiors Ltd.

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