This information is produced as a guide only. Never take risks with safety – racking related or otherwise.

In our experience, storage safety is one of the most neglected areas of any materials handling operation, and many companies are unaware of their legal responsibilities when it comes to safety, maintenance and inspection.

The extent to which companies are bound by law to inspect their racking is not entirely straightforward.

Rack inspections are necessary, in order to comply with The Provision and Use ofWork Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, every company has the responsibility to ensure the safety and welfare of its employees.

Where factory machinery is concerned, safety inspections should be carried out at least once every 12 months. Pallet racking is considered as workplace equipment. The frequency of inspections will depend on a variety of factors which will be different for each installation.

What is certain is that in the event of an accident, the authorities will frown upon any company that did not inspect its racking at least every 12 months and keep accurate records of these taking place.

Even in new facilities regular inspection is vital. Having ensured the correct specification and installation, events often conspire to change the equipment’s safety parameters – occasional damage, stresses over time, changes in loads stored, overhanging loads, even the stability of loads on actual pallets.

All pose risks, but the most obvious of these is damage by forklift or load impact. Any damage potentially reduces the load carrying capacity. All manufacturers include a ‘safety tolerance’ for just such reason, however the greater  the damage the greater the likelihood that it will collapse. Racking rarely collapses ‘on impact’ – often it can go days or even months after an initial impact, or even after a pallet collapses and damages a load bearing upright.

The best way to avoid storage-related accidents is to combine regular inspections from a reputable company with common sense. Purchase all equipment from trusted suppliers and ensure all relevant information is considered at the planning stage. Always consult the manufacturer or supplier before making any changes to the structure – for example, altering beams – even if they appear relatively minor. Ensure your forklift operators are well trained and are encouraged to report damage – again, even if this appears relatively minor. Consider additional protection for the structure such as corner guards and armco barriers.

Make sure you display load notices and other appropriate signage prominently, and keep aisles free from debris – operators will swerve around an obstruction rather than remove it! If you do have a serious incident, don’t move anything without taking advice, get plenty of photographs and review the likely causes to prevent a similar situation re-occuring.

How we can help:

A key function of any warehouse is the regular inspection of racking installations. Now 4K can help you keep on the right side of the law and save you money!

Our storage experts are specially trained to carry out detailed safety examinations on all types of racking installations. We’ll prepare a detailed report on the repairs recommended, as well as offer tips on how to prevent further damage. With all inspection reports we offer a free report on how to improve your storage facilities plus 10% discount on operator training and follow up surveys.