Rack Group’s Training Courses Achieve Prestigious Assured by RoSPA Qualifications

Rack Group, a leading name in innovative racking solutions, is thrilled to announce that our racking inspection and maintenance training courses have received the esteemed Assured by RoSPA Qualifications. This recognition signifies a remarkable achievement in our training courses to enhance workplace safety and to upskill internal teams to inspect and repair racking systems effectively.

Assured by RoSPA Qualifications, a nationally recognised Awarding Organisation, provides a stamp of assurance that our courses meet the highest standards in health and safety.

Stuart Ovington, Managing Director of Rack Group, expressed his enthusiasm about this accomplishment, stating, “We are delighted to receive the Assured by RoSPA Qualifications for our racking inspection and maintenance training courses. This recognition reflects our commitment to delivering top-notch training that not only enhances the skills of employees but also ensures the highest standards in safety and competence. This qualification is a testament to the quality and relevance of our training programs, ensuring that they are pitched at the appropriate level and delivered with excellence.”

Stuart also added that “Course Assurance from RoSPA Qualifications instils confidence in our stakeholders, including customers, employees, and partners, by guaranteeing that:

  • The course content contains relevant and up-to-date information.
  • The course is pitched at the appropriate level for effective learning.
  • The course meets high standards for trainer competence and overall quality.

The RoSPA Qualifications ‘stamp of assurance’ is a recognition of our commitment to delivering excellence in workplace safety.”

Rack Group remains dedicated to advancing workplace safety and empowering teams with the skills needed to maintain and enhance racking systems securely.

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About Rack Group

Rack Group is a pioneering company specializing in racking solutions, offering innovative products and services to optimize warehouse spaces. With a focus on safety and efficiency, Rack Group designs, and installs racking systems and mezzanine floors and additionally racking inspection, maintenance, protection and training solutions, ensuring clients’ storage systems meet the highest standards and longest lifespan. Visit www.rackgroup.com for more information.

Rack Group training courses

Having the in-house personnel with the skills to quickly spot, assess and repair your racking, can have significant savings and improve safety and productivity. The Inspection course empowers internal teams to provide regular internal checks of racking to ensure it stays safe to support your stock and remains structurally sound. Our racking maintenance training, provides your team with the skills and knowledge required for them to safely carry out repairs on damaged racking systems with confidence.

About RoSPA Qualifications

RoSPA is a not-for-profit organisation that has worked for more than 100 years to help people recognise and reduce their risk of accidents, at home, on the road, at work and at leisure. Their goal is to enable everyone to live their lives to the full, safely. Visit About Us – RoSPA for more information.

The Main Reasons Behind Racking Collapse and How To Avoid These Risks

Warehouse safety is of paramount importance in any industrial setting. One critical aspect that demands attention is the integrity of racking systems.

Unfortunately, racking collapses can lead to catastrophic consequences, posing risks to personnel, operations and inventory. To prevent such disasters, let’s delve into the most common causes of racking failures, explore examples and most importantly the prevention of racking collapse.

Collapsed Racking Image Source TechRescueWMFS  Racking_collapses_1  Picture2

 

1. Racking Incorrectly Installed

One of the leading culprits behind racking collapses is improper installation. When racking systems aren’t assembled correctly, they lack the necessary stability to bear the weight they are designed for. Substandard installation often involves misaligned beams, loose connections, or insufficient anchoring to the floor or wall. 

Example: In a warehouse, a racking system was hastily installed without adhering to the manufacturer’s guidelines. As a result, the beams weren’t adequately secured, leading to an eventual collapse when the load capacity was exceeded. 

 

2. Overloaded Pallets and Beams

Either incorrect evaluation of weight limits or ignoring weight load notices. Pushing the limits of a racking system by overloading pallets and beams, is an invitation for disaster. Exceeding the maximum weight capacity compromises the structural integrity of the racking, increasing the risk of failure. 

Example: Even though the weight load notice stated the weight load capacity of the racking, pallets were stacked beyond the recommended load-bearing capacity of the racking. This constant overload weakened the system, eventually resulting in a catastrophic collapse. 

 

3. Impact from Material Handling Equipment

The bustling environment of a warehouse often involves the use of material handling equipment like forklifts and reach trucks. Accidents and collisions with racking systems can cause damage that goes unnoticed, and even small bumps will gradually weaken the structure over time. 

Example: A forklift operator accidentally backed into a rack, causing a slight dent in the upright. While seemingly minor, this impact weakened the racking’s structural integrity, leading to its eventual failure during regular operations by maxing its now weakened load potential or from further minor bumps. 

 

4. Racking Reconfigured and Not Re-Inspected for Safety

Warehouse dynamics change over time, prompting reconfigurations of racking systems. However, these alterations are not always followed by safety inspections. Neglecting to reevaluate the integrity of the racking after reconfiguration can lead to unforeseen vulnerabilities. 

Example: Due to an increase in new product lines, a warehouse decided to rearrange its racking layout. However, the safety inspection was overlooked, and the new configuration was never thoroughly assessed for structural soundness, eventually leading to a collapse. 

 

5. Racking Components Not Repaired Properly

When racking components sustain damage, repairs must be carried out promptly and professionally. Cutting corners or using makeshift fixes compromises the system’s overall strength and reliability. 

Example: In an attempt to save on costs, a warehouse maintenance team attempted to repair a bent beam by straightening it. This inadequate repair rendered the beam unstable, ultimately contributing to the racking collapse. 

 

How can you minimise the Risk of Racking Collapse? 

Qualified Installation, Maintenance, and Inspection Teams

The foundation of a robust racking system begins with a proper installation by qualified experts. Engaging professional installation teams ensures that racking systems are assembled in accordance with manufacturer guidelines, and following EN Regulations and SEMA Guidelines, to ensure the best structural integrity from the start. 

Proper installation ensures that racking systems can safely withstand the intended loads and daily operations. It encompasses aligning beams accurately, securely fastening components, and anchoring the racking securely to the floor or wall. 

Routine inspections involve comprehensive checks of the racking’s structural integrity, including uprights, beams, and connections. Inspections can be undertaken by an internal trained employee while annual inspections by external qualified inspectors. All annual inspectors should be trained to follow EN15635 Standard and PUWER Regulations, in identifying potential vulnerabilities and assessing load-bearing capabilities. 

Sufficient Training for Warehouse Teams

Empowering your warehouse teams with adequate training is a critical defence against racking collapse. Educating personnel on what to look for and the appropriate actions to take upon spotting an issue can prevent potential catastrophes. 

  • Comprehensive Awareness: Warehouse teams should be trained to recognize signs of wear, damage, or instability in the racking system. This includes understanding the importance of load limits, recognizing damaged components, and knowing when to report potential safety concerns. 
  • Immediate Action Plan: Training should equip personnel with a clear protocol to follow in the event they encounter a safety issue. Encouraging an open reporting culture ensures that any observed problems are promptly communicated to supervisors or maintenance teams for swift resolution. 
  • Ongoing Education: Safety training should be a continuous effort, ensuring that all personnel, including new hires, are well-informed about warehouse safety practices. Periodic refreshers and updates on industry best practices keep the workforce vigilant and informed. 

Infographic (3)In conclusion, mitigating the risk of racking collapse is a multi-faceted approach that relies on professional installation, regular maintenance, and diligent inspections. Equally important is providing thorough training to warehouse teams to recognize potential hazards and respond swiftly to ensure a safe and secure workplace environment. By implementing these strategies, warehouse managers can proactively protect their facility, personnel, and valuable inventory from the threat of racking failures. 

Rack Group have over 40 years’ experience in industrial pallet racking design, installation, repair and inspections, while providing training to upskill customer inhouse teams. Contact us for advice, and quotes for training, installations and inspections. 

 

What to Look for in a Warehouse Racking Inspector

A racking inspection is crucial to maintain a safe and efficient workspace, but it is something that can be easily overlooked. Without regular inspections, warehouse racking can pose serious safety hazards, leading to injury and inventory damage. That’s why inspection consultations are crucial for any business that uses warehouse racking.

The Rack Group has written this piece to discuss what makes an effective racking inspection, why it matters, regulations, and how it can benefit your business. So, whether you’re looking to undertake your own inspections or want to understand how to choose a third-party inspection service, keep reading for our expert insights.

Pallet Racking Training Rack Group

Understanding SEMA and why it matters for warehouse inspections

For warehouse racking inspections one organisation stands out as a recognized authority on safety and quality: the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association, or SEMA.

SEMA is a UK-based trade organization that represents manufacturers and suppliers of storage equipment, including racking and shelving systems.

So why does SEMA matter when it comes to inspections? For one, SEMA-approved inspectors have access to the latest industry knowledge and adhere to strict safety standards, ensuring that their inspections are thorough, accurate, and effective. In the eyes of HSE it makes them the ‘Technically Competent” person who might be a trained specialist within an organisation, a specialist from a racking supplier, or an independent qualified rack inspector.

If you’re looking for an effective racking inspection, we highly recommend choosing a SEMA-approved inspector, to have confidence in the safety and quality of your warehouse racking.

The importance of HSE guidelines for warehouse inspections

Another crucial factor when choosing a racking inspector is adherence to HSE (Health and Safety Executive) guidelines for warehouse safety and inspections. HSE is the UK government agency responsible for promoting and enforcing workplace safety, including warehouse operations.

Following HSE guidelines for racking inspections can have numerous benefits for businesses. For one, it helps businesses maintain compliance with government regulations, avoiding potential fines and penalties as well as injury and fatalities!

Following HSE guidelines helps with record-keeping and documentation, which can be crucial in the event of an accident or liability claim.

When choosing a racking inspector, it’s important to ensure that they are accredited and follow HSE guidelines for safety and inspections. Familiarising yourself with these guidelines can also help you identify potential safety hazards and ensure that your warehouse is as safe as possible.

What to expect from a racking inspection and inspector

Inspections are designed to help prolong the lifespan of your racking systems by identifying any signs of wear and tear or damage that could compromise safety or performance. Addressing these issues early, it can help you avoid costly repairs or replacements down the line.

In addition to the cost savings associated with identifying potential risks early, inspections can also help you reduce liability and claims. By ensuring that your racking systems are safe and compliant with the latest health and safety legislation, you can protect your business from costly claims and legal fees.

An inspection process begins with a visual inspection of your storage systems, during which the inspector will look for any signs of damage, wear, and tear if it meets with the original manufactures design and build standards, or other issues that could compromise safety. They will also check that your systems are in compliance with the latest health and safety legislation, including HSE regulations.

Once completed the inspector should provide you with a detailed report outlining any issues identified and recommendations for how to address them using the SEMA/PUWER/EN15635 Red, Amber, and Green classifications. Sometimes this report can be overwhelming or confusing, which is why a good inspector will take the time to walk you through any identified situations in the report. The inspector should want to ensure that you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about how to address any issues and ensure the safety and compliance of your storage systems.

According to SEMA, after an annual racking inspection, a warehouse racking inspector should provide the following:

Detailed report: The inspector should provide a detailed report outlining the findings of the inspection. The report should include a description of any damage or defects found in the racking system, as well as recommendations for repairs or replacements.

Risk assessment: The inspector should provide a risk assessment that evaluates the safety of the racking system. The risk assessment should identify any potential hazards or risks associated with the racking system and recommend measures to mitigate those risks.

  • SEMA’s RAG classifications are used to assess the severity of damage or defects found during a racking inspection. Here’s a breakdown of the classifications and their corresponding Priority rated actions:
  • RED RISK – Areas where a high level of damage is identified of over twice the SEMA limits. This warrants immediate offloading and isolation of the affected area until repair work is carried out
  • AMBER RISK – Areas where the damage identified is greater than the SEMA limits. This warrants remedial work to be carried out. However, the damage is not sufficiently severe to warrant the immediate offloading of the area. No additional loads shall be placed in the affected area and, once the pallet positions in this area are emptied, they should not be refilled until the repairs are carried out. If repairs are not carried out within 4 weeks, an Amber risk item automatically becomes a Red risk item
  • GREEN RISK – Areas where damage is present, however, the level of damage is within the SEMA limits and should be recorded for further consideration at the next inspection

By using the RAG classifications and corresponding Priority rated actions, it aims to help you and racking inspectors prioritize and address any safety issues identified during an annual racking inspection. This ensures that any urgent risks are addressed immediately and that less urgent issues are addressed in a timely manner, reducing the risk of accidents and maintaining a safe working environment.

A good inspection company should go beyond just the inspection process and identifying issues, to provide support throughout the inspection process and beyond. Any inspector’s goal is to help you create a safer and more efficient warehouse environment that can help you reduce or eliminate repetitive damage, claims, and liability.

How to choose a racking inspection provider

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of racking inspections and what makes an effective inspector, how do you go about choosing a racking inspection provider? Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Experience: Look for an inspector or provider with a proven track record of conducting effective and thorough inspections. Ask about their experience working with businesses similar to yours and ask for references if necessary.
  2. Qualifications: In addition to experience, look for a provider with relevant qualifications and certifications. For example, inspectors who are members of SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association) are held to high standards of safety and quality.
  3. Reputation: Do some research on potential providers to see what their reputation is like in the industry. Look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients and ask for references if necessary.
  4. Cost: Of course, cost is an important factor to consider as well. However, don’t make cost your only consideration when choosing a provider. Remember that investing in a quality inspection can save you money in the long run by reducing the risk of accidents and associated costs.

When choosing a racking inspection provider, it’s important to take the time to research potential options carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek out references to ensure that you’re making an informed decision based on your needs and budget. By choosing a qualified and safety-conscious provider, you can protect your employees, inventory, and bottom line.

When should I have racking inspected?

The frequency of pallet racking inspections required depends on a variety of factors that are particular to your site but, typically, the first inspection should be carried out within 6 months of the installation becoming operational and at least annually from then on.

PUWER is a set of regulations that apply to work equipment, including racking systems used in warehouses. The regulations require that all work equipment, including racking systems, has not deteriorated through use.

Under PUWER, warehouse racking systems must be inspected at regular intervals to ensure they remain safe for use. The frequency of inspections will depend on a number of factors, including the type of racking system, number of pallet movements, age of the system, previous damage recorded, type of system even new FLT operators and the level of risk associated with the racking system.

Finding an inspection partner with industry experience and commitment to cost savings!

At Rack Group, our inspectors don’t just identify issues but work with our clients to help address and stop issues from reoccurring.

We’re proud to draw on our 40 years of experience in the racking industry and to provide top-quality inspection services that help our clients save money and reduce risk. We’ve seen it all when it comes to racking systems, and our experience enables us to identify potential risks and issues before they become costly problems.

Our experienced qualified inspectors will walk you around any identified situations in the report, to spend the time to assist you with the information you need to ensure your storage systems are safe and compliant with the latest health and safety legislation. A large part of what we do is guidance on how and why issues occur, the action required to rectify them, and more importantly the actions needed to stop them from reoccurring. This further helps reduce risk and prolong the lifespan of your racking…ultimately saving you money!

On completion of our electronic inspection from our PUWER and SEMA accredited team you will have a clear and concise digital next day report, highlighting;

  • Priority-rated actions to SEMA’s Red, Amber, and Green classifications
  • Recommendations that will prolong the life of your storage equipment
  • Guidance to improve workforce safety such as housekeeping

Our services go that extra mile to provide a comprehensive, friendly, and tailored service which has seen us become the pallet racking inspection company of choice, for many recognisable names within the UK and Ireland.

Our commitment to cost savings and risk reduction is just one of the many reasons why businesses trust us to provide top-quality inspection services. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you save money and reduce risk, please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule an inspection. The Rack Group looks forward to working with you.

If you have any questions about our services or products, please contact The Rack Group over the phone at +44 (0)1226 784488 or email via info@therackgroup.com. 

NEW Racking Inspection Kits

Do you regularly inspect your warehouse racking?

If so, do you have the right kit to do so efficiently?

Our Racking Inspection Kits are available to buy direct and include:
✔️ 1m ruler with spirit level
✔️ Small ruler
✔️ Wooden measuring wedge
✔️ Tape measure
✔️ String line
✔️ LED torch
✔️ Handy carry case

Each kit also comes with sample damage report tags PLUS for a limited time only, a FREE damage report book.

Order yours today and ensure your racking is inspected with the right kit.

ONLY £85.00 including delivery

Speak to a member of the team today.

Rack Group Racking Inspection Kit

The Importance of Regular Pallet Rack Safety Inspections

Regular examination and repair of pallet racking and shelving are essential to warehouse management. If storage systems are neglected, warehouse and operational managers may be unaware of the hazards to operations, workers, and goods.

Failure to conduct frequent visual inspections, an annual rack inspection by a technically competent person, or a replacement of any damaged components may result in legal liabilities in the unfortunate case of an accident.

Here are the facts about the importance of rack inspection:

The Importance of Annual Rack Inspection

The European standard EN 15635 Steel Static Storage Systems - Application and Maintenance of Storage Equipment describes pallet rack safety regulations regarding inspections and repair.

Section 9.4.2.3 Expert Inspections indicates that inspections should be conducted by technically competent persons every 12 months. A report with observations and recommendations for any necessary action must be presented to the person responsible for storage equipment safety (PRSES).

Rack Training Damage Inspection
Rack Group Training And Inspections

Making Regular Visual Inspections

According to EN 15635 part 9.4.2.2 Visual Inspections, besides the annual pallet racking inspection, the PRSES should ensure that checks are carried out at weekly or different regular intervals based on a risk assessment. A proper written record must be kept.

Section 9.4.1 states that storage equipment should be examined regularly for safety and especially for any damage that has occurred. Repairs must be completed promptly and effectively, with proper attention to the system's continued safety. All damage or other incidents must be documented.

Differences between Visual Inspections and Annual Inspections

Visual inspections and the regulated annual inspections are not the same. While it is entirely possible for your staff to perform weekly visual checks, yearly inspections are better handed to professional inspectors.

They can assist you in educating your personnel in charge of the visual inspections. A technically qualified individual should perform annual checks, so leave it to the specialists and contact us immediately.

What Happens When Damaged Racking Is Found?

Any damage to racking/shelving compromising safety must be repaired quickly, according to the criteria of the Employer's Liability Insurance Association and the Standard EN 15635.

This is true whether the damage is discovered by the fork truck driver, the storage installation manager, or the Association-approved racking and shelving inspector.

Follow these steps:

  • Damage must be reported to the safety officer as soon as it is discovered.
  • Implement safety-related measures.
  • A written report with the responsibility to preserve must be produced.
  • If the same damage occurs repeatedly, the reason should be investigated.
  • Begin a damage control method in line with EN 15635, Section 9.4.5.
Upright Damage Rack Group
Racking Maintenance Rack Group

Replacing with Original Spare Parts

Any damaged components should be replaced instead of repaired. According to Section 9.7.1 of EN 15635, damaged components should not be fixed since effective quality control of cold-reduced parts is extremely difficult. Repair of damaged parts is not permitted unless authorised by the equipment provider.

The EN 15635 Section 7 also mentions that the loading capacity may be affected when racking or shelf installation is modified. All changes must be approved by the supplier or a competent professional. Any advice must be followed before any changes are made. Changes must be made in line with the supplier's instructions.

Conclusion

Racking is essential to any warehouse facility, and its quality must be scrutinised regularly. This will help ensure safe and high-quality storage.

Are you in need of pallet rack inspection services in the UK? Rack Group provides warehouse racking solutions, inspections, repairs, protection, and training. Give us a call to learn more!

Speak to a member of the team today.

What is EN 15635, and how is it related to storage equipment?

In 2008, the British Standards Institute adopted EN 15635 as the standard for the racking industry. This standard sets out how racking systems need to be installed and maintained. But what exactly is this EN 15635, and why is it so important?

What Is EN 15635?

EN 15635 became the standard with regards to the application and maintenance of steel racking systems. It acts as the guidelines of storage and racking systems to ensure safety on an operational level.

This is deemed necessary because a lot of these racking systems are used in close contact with heavy machinery. Not only does EN 15635 minimise any damage to the structure itself but it prevents safety risks to everyone within the vicinity.

It is important to note that EN 15635 is only used for racking and storage systems that are made of steel. Other racking and storage systems that are made of different materials may have different standards.

Dexion Wide Aisle Pallet Racking Rack Group
Installations Rack Group

Who Needs to Know and Comply with EN 15635?

This standard is very important to several industries. It is necessary for the manufacturers of storage equipment, specifically those who make items made of steel. This is crucial to them because it is the best way to demonstrate to end users that their equipment is safe to use.

Aside from the manufacturers, the designers and installers of racking layouts should also be aware of this standard. This way, whenever they are designing or installing any racking or storage system, they know that they are complying with the required standards.

Both manufacturers and suppliers of steel should also be familiar with EN 15635 as a precautionary safety measure. Of course, it lets them know that the quality of their steel is also passing the EN 15635 standards.

Why Do We Need to Use and Comply with EN 15635?

EN 15635 does not only include guidelines in the development and manufacturing of these storage systems. Rather, it also includes operational requirements, assembly and installation standards. These guidelines have been created for the purpose of safety and have been considered to be a top standard.

EN 15635 ensures the safety of operations when using these storage systems. It also addresses any possible issues and helps classify them while at the same time providing the recommended solutions. This provides ease when it comes to dealing with any safety issues with regards to the storage systems that are being used.

This has also helped in improving the quality of the steel itself and its manufacturing process. This has ensured that the racking systems and storage solutions remain of the highest quality possible to endure any tough conditions.

AR Racking Supplied By Rack Group UK
PSS Stronglock Racking Supplied By Rack Group UK

What Happens If We Do Not Comply with EN 15635?

While it is possible to get away without complying with EN 15635, it poses a risk of a safety hazard, harm, damage in operations and possible human safety being compromised. The standards exist for a valid reason.

So even if it is possible to avoid complying with EN 15635, this does not mean you should. The existence of the standard means that there is an importance to it that should be followed.

If an incident was to occur that involved the safety of the racking system, the Health and Safety Executive would investigate the business owner. The company would then need to demonstrate the steps they took to avoid the incident. Following the EN 15636 standard is the best way companies can ensure they are doing all they can to keep their warehouse safe.

Conclusion

EN 15635 is important in that it has been created to ensure the safety of the facilities, equipment, and operators. All of this is done while providing solutions that are efficient. It is important that you are familiar with these standards and ensure that your storage systems also comply.

If you are seeking industrial racking services, including the supply and installation of storage systems, you can contact Rack Group. We are a reliable provider of racking solutions for warehouses and have been in operation for 40 years where our priority is your safety. Contact us to learn more.

Speak to a member of the team today.

Weight Load Notices

Do I need a Weight Load Sign for my racking?

PUWER regulation 4 requires that work equipment is:

  • suitable for its intended purpose
  • selected so that the risks to the health and safety of users can be managed
  • used only for the operations for which it is suitable

This regulation also states that work equipment should be accompanied by information, including user instructions.

Companies using racking can demonstrate they are abiding by this regulation by displaying signs specifying the safe working limits of the equipment.

Weight Load Notices are there to advise colleagues on the safe load limit for the storage system. This is to ensure the racking is not overloaded and therefore unsafe to use.

Load Signs
Rack Group   Cantilever Racking 2

What does a Weight Load Sign need to include?

The safe working load limit of the rack needs to be displayed in a conspicuous location 2m from the floor, made from corrosion-resistant material, and should include the following information:

  • Suppliers name
  • Date supplied with contact information
  • Safe working load of each shelf
  • Safe working load of the bay*
  • Height to first beam
  • Beam pitch
  • Safety and warning signs

*IMPORTANT: The bay load is there to advise the safe limit for the whole system at one time and can often be less than the total of each shelf limit.

What happens if I alter the beams on my racking?

Whenever racking is reconfigured, the system should be inspected for safety and the Weight Load Notice updated if necessary.

If the racking layout is changed and the safe working limits are not recalculated, you could be providing inaccurate information to your warehouse teams and therefore risking the safety of the system.

What if I don't have a Weight Load Sign?

New racking should be supplied with Weight Load Signs upon completion of the install and before the racking is used. Newly installed racking needs to be inspected before it is operational. This inspection should identify any racking where a Load Sign is not displayed.

PSS Stronglock Racking Supplied By Rack Group UK
Rack Group   Stronglock Racking

How do I calculate the Safe Working Load of my racking?

Every manufacturer design their racking to different working limits. Therefore calculating the Safe Working Load of racking is not a one-size-fits-all process.

To accurately calculate your Safe Working Load, you will need to supply us with the following information:

  • Width of the bay
  • Type of beam (open or box)
  • Beam dimensions (width and depth)
  • Frame dimensions (height and width)
  • Vertical beam pitch (height of each beam from the floor)
  • Upright duty (usually stamped on the upright)

There may be other information that's required. Please get in touch with our team if you'd like to order Weight Load Signs.

Speak to a member of the team today.

Latest News

Chris Rodger   New Head Of Sales At Rack Group

Introducing Our New Head of Sales

Rack Group is thrilled to announce the appointment of Chris Rodger as the company’s new Head of Sales.

Rack Group Training Courses Achieve Prestigious Assured By RoSPA Qualifications

Rack Group’s Training Courses Achieve Prestigious Assured by RoSPA Qualifications

Rack Group, is thrilled to announce that our racking inspection and maintenance training courses have received the esteemed Assured by RoSPA Qualifications.

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Unlock the hidden potential of your warehouse space

In this blog post, we will provide you with practical insights, expert advice, and proven strategies to help you unlock the hidden potential of your warehouse space.

5 Ways to prolong the life of your racking

5 Ways To Prolong The Life Of Your Racking

How to prolong the life of your racking

Let’s face it, storage equipment doesn’t come cheap. Racking plays an essential role in keeping your warehouse operational, yet can also be the reason why you encounter disruptions and down time. This article delves into some of the ways you can get the most out of your racking, ensuring it lasts for years to come.

Racking has a very important job to do. Storage equipment is designed to hold tremendous amounts of warehouse stock. This stock is precious, as are your people who work in and around it. It’s also a huge investment for your business. Whether you choose to buy brand new, or source some quality second-hand systems, you’ll want to prolong the life of your racking for as long as possible to get a good ROI.

If well maintained, industrial storage equipment can last for years and years. This of course depends on how busy your warehouse is, the types of products you are storing, and the environment your racking is stored. It also depends on how well you treat it.

This brings us to our first tip on how to prolong the life of your racking:

1. Make sure your warehouse operators are fully (and regularly) trained

This may sound obvious but the main source of damage to racking is due to impact from Material Handling Equipment such as forklift trucks. This seems like a sensible place to start when looking at ways to prolong the life of your storage equipment. Ensure your teams are not only trained when they join your company, but have regular refresher training to keep their skills sharp.

It’s also important to ensure your team is confident working with the racking itself. One example could be with the weight load limits on your particular type of pallet racking. Displaying weight load notices at the end of every aisle of racking enables your team to quickly check limits and ensure they are followed. Overloading racking, or storing pallets with uneven distribution of weights is one way storage systems can be weakened, potentially leading to racking collapse.

So, you’ve had your racking installed by a top-notch team of qualified installers, your MHE drivers are fully trained and your stock is safely loaded. It’s now time to talk about protecting that lovely new racking installation of yours. As the classic saying goes, prevention is cheaper than the cure. Which brings us to tip number two:

Installations Rack Group
Rack Armour Racking Protection

2. Protect racking uprights before damage occurs with guards

Whether you prefer metal guards, or hard-wearing polymer guards, choosing to protect your racking uprights will save you money in the long-run. Guards can cost as little as £10 each, protecting the most vulnerable part of the upright. In comparison, a full upright replacement can cost up to £500.

Racking upright guards can perform for many years, being replaced only when repeated or major impact has occurred, making them a cost-effective option. Not only do they protect the upright from most types of impact damage, they also act as a visual deterrent to MHE operators. Usually sold in bright yellow colours, the upright guards signal a hazard to drivers whilst they move around the warehouse.

There are also other types of protection systems you can utilise to prolong the life of your racking, which brings us to tip number three:

3. Install racking protection barriers in high-risk zones

The end of racking aisles can be particularly vulnerable areas for racking damage. Warehouse vehicles will often turn tightly down aisles, causing impact to occur. Our next tip to prolong your racking involves installing impact protection barriers in these high-risk zones.

End of aisle barriers absorb and deflect impact, and come in all sorts of styles and materials. Choose the best option for your warehouse depending on the type of vehicles in operation and the type of racking you have. You should also factor in the amount of maintenance that might be required for certain types of barriers. If contact occurs with painted metal barriers, for example, the barriers will require frequent re-painting to ensure they remain highly visible and keeps your warehouse looking clean and tidy.

With your barriers and guards in place, it’s now time for tip number four:

Rack End Barrier Rack Group
Inspections Rack Group

4. Regularly inspect your racking for signs of damage or safety issues

UK guidelines recommend employers conduct regular and annual racking safety inspections. By checking over racking regularly, and reporting damage straightaway, you’re not only meeting these guidelines, but you’re also helping to prolong the life of your racking.

In busy warehouses, frequent little knocks to racking can go unnoticed. Large pallets of stock can also obscure some areas of damage. Ensuring your team routinely checks over your racking for defects means any potential issues can be flagged and action can be taken. This might be to unload the racking bay and carry out urgent repair work, which leads us into our final tip:

5. Repair damage to racking quickly to reduce serious consequences

The level of damage to racking uprights, bracing or beams is often categorised as a traffic light system by SEMA. Green signals that the damage should be monitored but no immediate action is required. Amber risk signals a hazard that requires action as soon as possible. Damaged categorised as a red risk requires immediate action as the damage is considered very serious.

The level of damage will prioritise which repair work needs to be carried out first. Staying on top of repair and maintenance work will help reduce repair bills long-term as some green or amber hazards may develop into red risk hazards, which are more costly than smaller repairs. Ignoring repair work won’t make the damage go away. Make sure you’re taking all the steps to prevent catastrophic accidents involving collapsed racking, and prolong your racking for as long as possible.

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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)

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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.

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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'.

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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.