Damage to warehouse racking can raise your daily operational risk to threatening levels. It can quickly lead to a racking collapse, which would damage:
- Your stock or assets
- Facility traffic or machinery
- Your facilities Infrastructure
It would also result in isolating rack bays, aisles, and whole work zones. Most significantly, it poses a real threat to your employees as well.
The Health and Safety Executive recommended regular warehouse racking inspections, which are an essential measure to reduce risk and ensure volume efficiency. They can also provide insights for making predictive maintenance decisions.
There are three different types of racking inspection:
- To have regular visual reviews by the person responsible for the safety of the racking.
- To have continuous monitoring and reporting of racking damage.
- Thorough racking inspections at least once every 12 months by a "technically competent" person, such as a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector.
Your racking must be removed straight away if it has been damaged, moved or interfered with in any other way. Any other causes for concern must be reported to the person responsible for racking safety (PRRS).
What does a racking inspection look for in your facility racking?
Racking inspections are a form of risk assessment. They look for any damage in the racking and can highlight vulnerable areas. The inspection is a crucial opportunity to identify, repair, or replace any areas of damaged racking.
According to "Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association" (SEMA), the main areas which are inspected during a racking inspection are:
- The Beams
- The Uprights
- The frame bracing
- The floor fixings of the racking
- The lock-in clips
The inspection will look for visible damage, including general wear and tear from everyday use. If there are visible things, this is critical, as even slight damage to the racking can reduce the storage capacity and make it unusable.
The results of the inspection, will include any damage and repairs that will then be labelled as one of the following:
- Green – The damage level is low enough to allow the racking to be used without further action.
- Amber – The damage requires remedial work but is not severe enough to immediately unload the racking. Once the rack has been emptied, it should not be reloaded until the damage has been repaired. If the racking has not been unloaded after four weeks, the racking must be immediately offloaded until fixed.
- Red – This indicates that a high level of damage is identified. The racking area must be immediately unloaded and not used until it has been fixed.
Who would conduct the inspection at your facility?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) HSG76 guidance recommends conducting a thorough annual racking inspection by a "technically competent" individual. This can be a trained specialist or an external "independent qualified rack inspector."
The HSE recommends explicitly SEMA-approved racking inspectors or individuals who follow the SEMA guidelines. According to HSE CDM regulations, it is a warehouse owner's legal duty to ensure that the people working in the warehouse are "competent". Therefore, your inspector must have the relevant credentials.
How often should racking be inspected across your facility?
The Health and Safety Executive recommends that a thorough racking inspection occur at least once every 12 months. However, a PRRS should visually check the racking each week, and the inspection result should be logged.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 also state that "equipment would require further inspection if circumstances jeopardise the safety of the work equipment ". Therefore, if racking has been moved or damaged, it is critical to conduct a thorough inspection immediately.
Why are racking inspections so important?
Racking inspections identify any signs of damage to the racking itself. It can also highlight any hotspot areas which are at risk of further impact. Over time, even small bumps and scrapes can cause racking to degrade if it is not carefully monitored. This can lead to your racking collapse.
Regular racking inspections are also a key part of health and safety compliance. The HSE has guidelines in place to ensure workers' safety. Independent racking inspections are a vital part of the HSE's regulations.
If an accident happens, adherence to HSE guidelines and recommendations will be investigated. Facilities that do not meet these standards risk being found negligent. Therefore, they would be liable if unmaintained racking resulted in a worker's injury.
From legislation.gov.uk, Section 6 of the provision and use of work equipment regulations 1998 gives you the necessity for regular and thorough work equipment inspections. Racking, including mezzanine floors, is subject to this legislation. It is the accountability of the facility management team to ensure the equipment is properly inspected at the recommended intervals.
How to prevent racking damage?
The best way to protect your racking is to prevent the main causes of racking damage. The HSE outlines that any racking which is exposed to machinery or vehicles should have a form of protection. This especially applies to racking on a ground level where racking is more likely to be hit. Forms of racking protection include rack end barriers, rack leg protectors and kerb barriers.
If you would like any further information on how to protect your racking within your facility best, please get in touch by calling us on 0800 055 4737 Or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.