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Scott Brown, SEMA Approved Rack Inspector for CSI, explains how you can improve business by maintaining

racking and adopting best practice in the warehouse. Safety in the workplace is imperative, and it pays to plan ahead. Adopting best practices in the warehouse is essential for the safety of employees and maintaining legal compliance. It also leads to the smooth running of the warehouses and ultimately improves business.

• General forklift operatives’ use of the racking

• Condition and type of floor the racking is fixed on

• General housekeeping of the installation

At times, palletised goods are stacked higher than two-storey buildings and often weigh several tonnes, so it is easy to see why integrating tried and tested methods on racking safety is essential. All companies with as little as one bay of racking should be legally compliant and examinations by a qualified SEMA approved inspector should be carried out at least once or twice yearly. Under the ‘Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations’ of 1992 and the ‘Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations’ (PUWER) of 1998, companies are legally bound to inspect their work equipment.

It is worth noting that during an inspection, particular attention is paid to beams, uprights, frame bracing, floor fixings and lock-in clips. General observations are also made of the following:

• Pallet locations on beams

• Conditions and types of pallets

• Positioning of loads and types of loads stored on pallets


• Possible changes from the original design requirements

Inspections are carried out from ground level with the visual examination of exterior and other reasonably accessible racking components. If any damaged racking is identified which requires immediate attention, the site contact will be informed of the racking component and its position in the installation.

Following an inspection, racking will be categorised into three risks, green, amber and red.

• Green – areas where damage is sufficiently low to allow the continued use of the racking with no further action.

• Amber – areas where the damage is sufficiently severe and warrants remedial work, but not enough to warrant the immediate unloading of the rack. Once the rack is unloaded however, it should not be reloaded until repairs have been carried out.

• Red – areas where a high level of damage is identified, exceed the indicated industry standard, which

warrants an area of racking being immediately offloaded and isolated from future use until repair work is carried out.

In the case of a red category, the racking should be classified and treated as soon as possible, with processes for repair being adopted and worked into daily routines. It is vital to remember that any damage will result in a reduced safety factor of the structure. Employees must pay particular attention to damaged uprights, bracing beams and beam safety pins.

vital that safety training becomes part of the induction process.


Safety can be integrated easily into employees’ day to day routines. Processes can be worked into the running of a warehouse in a number of ways through training, team briefings and eliminating problems at the source. For example, replacing defective pallets before they enter the warehouse.

Furthermore, warehouse managers are increasingly relying on temporary and agency workers who sometimes have little or no prior experience of working in this environment. It is

Integrating best practice around racking damage is one way to ensure that maximum productivity and safety is achieved. Familiarise workers with the racking systems used and ensure they understand the difference between regular usage and real damage in order to help them identify potentially dangerous situations early on. It is important to share reoccurring safety and damage issues with staff to help find solutions. For example, damage that often occurs with small parts storage can include shelf overloading and warehouse operatives climbing or standing on racking. Regular

visual inspections should also be carried out by staff and documented, with any damage that requires attention being quickly resolved.

It is not recommended to repair damaged rack components, so any component no longer fit for use should be replaced on a like for like basis. If the bottom portion of an upright is damaged, replace the whole upright up to the original splice level. Do not cut and splice in a small piece of upright, and never apply heat in

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