UK legislation: Racking and Storage Equipment Inspections

The UK has numerous safety standards regarding racking and storage equipment inspections. Due to the complexity of statutory law and guidance, companies often get confused by what the legal requirements actually are.

We aim to make things simple by breaking down what you need to know.

Firstly, companies have a general duty for the health and safety of their employees.

“It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
(Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, section 2)

Rack Training Damage Inspection
Rack Group Racking Safety Inspection Training

Secondly, racking, or any storage system, is considered work equipment and therefore needs to be well maintained.

“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

(Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, regulation 5)

To ensure your racking is well maintained, regular inspections are recommended to identify any damage quickly so that repairs can be carried out.

“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is inspected”

  • At suitable intervals; and
  • Each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred
  • To ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained, and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time.” (PUWER 1998, regulation 6)

Environments where forklift trucks and other MHE (Material Handling Equipment) operate can pose a risk to racking when impact occurs. Damaged uprights can cause total collapse of racking systems and often leads to serious injury.

“A technically competent person shall carry out inspections at intervals of not more that 12 months. A written report shall be submitted to the PRSES [Person Responsible for Storage Equipment Safety] with observations and proposals for any action necessary.” (BS EN15635, 9.4.2.3 Expert inspections)

Regular inspections should therefore be carried out to identify any damage as early as possible to prevent accidents. You should also have your racking inspected by an expert at least once a year.

Warehouse Training Rack Group

Speak to a member of the team today.

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Are annual racking inspections mandatory?

We often get asked by employers if they need to have an annual racking inspection conducted by a third party expert.

The short answer?

Yes (if you want to comply with the regulation).

The long answer?

Buckle up! This is where we get technical.

Below we have highlighted some key extracts from UK guidelines and legislation. It is by no means exhaustive, and as with all legal guidance, we always recommend employers seek a legal professional for any concerns or advice.

Rack Group racking inspections UK wide

The legal requirement for work equipment inspection (including storage equipment) is established primarily under The Provision and Use of Work Equipment (PUWER) 1998.

Regulation 6 - Inspection

(1) Every employer shall ensure that, where the safety of work equipment depends on the installation conditions, it is inspected –

(a) after installation and before being put into service for the first time; or

(b) after assembly at a new site or in a new location, to ensure that it has been installed correctly and is safe to operate.

(2) Every employer shall ensure that work equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is inspected –

(a) at suitable intervals; and

(b) each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred, to ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time.

But wait, there's more

"I asked about annual inspections" we hear you cry.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE 76) gives the following guidance: 

‘Expert’ inspections

646 A technically competent person should carry out inspections at intervals of not more than 12 months. A written report should be submitted to the PRRS (person responsible for racking safety) with observations and proposals for any action necessary.

647 A technically competent person might be a trained specialist within an organisation, a specialist from the rack supplier, or an independent qualified rack inspector.
(Source: HSG (76) Warehousing and Storage, A Guide to Health and Safety, Second Edition 2007)

Note: a trained specialist within an organisation would be someone with an appropriate qualification. Typically, a one or two day rack safety awareness course may not give the level of competence to define an individual as a 'trained specialist'.

Inspection Training Rack Group
Rack Inspection Safety Training

To summarise

If you skimmed over that (no judgement!), the key things to know is that racking should be inspected:

  • When you install it
  • If you move it
  • At regular intervals
  • Every time something jeopardises it's safety (e.g. a forklift truck reversing into it)
  • At least once a year by a technically competent person

Regularly inspecting your racking not only ensures you stay legally compliant, but also ensures any safety risks are picked up pronto. Identifying (and rectifying) damage as it happens means you reduce the risk of racking collapse, damage to your property, and serious injury to your staff.

There's also a financial risk. The HSE could fine an employer if it is evident they have not taken the necessary steps to adhere to these guidelines.

The Rack Group difference

All Rack Group inspections are carried out by competent inspectors. Either by a SARI (SEMA Approved Racking Inspector) or someone with a nationally recognised qualification.

We also have:

  • Ongoing in-house training for our inspectors
  • Reporting software that ensures all areas that are required (i.e. not just a damage inspection) are commented on as required in EN15635 (and SEMA)
  • An in-house Quality Assurance engineer who audits a selection of reports
  • Easy to understand reports that are tailored to each client

We conduct inspections across the UK and Ireland, offering a range of inspections to suit all requirements at competitive rates.

Speak to a member of the team today.

Rack Group Acquired by IWS Group

We are delighted to announce that Rack Group has been acquired and is now part of IWS Group, The Industrial Workspace Specialists.

Rack Group Acquired By IWS Group

Who is IWS Group?

IWS Group is a growing family of specialist, market-leading product brands, manufacturers and service companies, providing essential services and supplies to the warehousing, logistics and material handling sectors across Europe and beyond. Find out more at www.iws.group

What does this mean for Rack Group?

Rack Group is now part of a larger group, which strengthens our resource, infrastructure and capability to provide our customers with the highest standards of service, customer care and innovation. It will also allow us to offer our customers a wider breadth of service and product solutions.

What does this mean for our customers?

It’s business as usual and nothing changes for our customers. Rack Group continues to trade as Rack Group and will continue to provide the highest standards of service our customers are used to.

The future

We are excited about the future, and we’re particularly keen to explore opportunities to introduce complementary services, solutions and products to our customers from our new sister companies within IWS Group.

More about IWS Group

Our new ‘sister’ companies within the IWS Group are Beaverswood and Brandsafe.

Beaverswood Logo

Beaverswood

Beaverswood designs and manufactures innovative products that improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of the physical workplace. The range includes site safety products, labelling and signage, 5S visual communication and waste segregation solutions.

Visit: www.beaverswood.co.uk

Brandsafe Logo

Brandsafe

Brandsafe is Europe’s leading provider of high visibility impact protection and safety solutions for industrial buildings worldwide, such as warehouses, manufacturing sites and logistics hubs.

Brandsafe continuously develops innovative traffic safety and management and pedestrian safety solutions, which are designed to sustainably prevent and protect people, products and property from impact damage.

Visit: www.brandsafeprotection.com

If you have any questions, please get in touch using our contact us page.

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