Racking Repairs Traffic Light Code

Racking damage and repair

Once damage has been identified on a racking system, you should take action according to the SEMA traffic light code of practice.

Red Risk - Very serious damage requiring immediate action

Amber Risk - Hazardous damage requiring action as soon as possible

Green Risk - Requiring surveillance only

These levels of damage will be highlighted in your racking inspection, which you should have at least once every 12 months.

You should also ensure your in-house teams regularly inspect and monitor your storage systems to identify damage early.

Read more about racking safety inspections and UK legislation here.

What does a Red Risk on racking mean?

Red risks on racking are situations where a critical level of damage is identified. The area of racking should be immediately offloaded and isolated from future use.

The racking can be re-used when the necessary repair work is carried out and the system is re-inspected for safety. Such repair work would usually be by replacement of the damaged component.

You should have a method of isolating areas to ensure that they do not come back into use before the repair work is carried out. For example, a particular bay could be offloaded in the presence of the inspector and roped off to prevent further use.

What does an Amber Risk on racking mean?

An amber risk on racking would identify an area where the damage was sufficiently severe to warrant remedial work, but not so severe as to warrant the immediate offloading of the rack.

Once load is removed from a damaged component, the component should not be reloaded until repairs have been carried out.

You should have a method of isolating such racks to ensure they do not come back into use until the necessary racking repairs have been carried out. The equipment should then be certified as safe before the rack is reloaded.

You could also use dated racking damage report tags to indicate the racks are not to be used until repaired.

Any racking with an AMBER RISK category damage should be re-categorised as RED RISK if remedial work has not been carried out within four weeks of the original identification.

What does a Green Risk on racking mean?

Green level damage on racking indicates the rack does not need to be offloaded or repaired immediately. This category indicates the racking components are considered safe and serviceable.

Such components should be recorded as suitable for further service until the next management inspection. The components should be clearly identified for specific re-examination and reassessment at future inspections.

Exceeding the green level should be considered damage and causes risk to the racking system.

When do I need to repair racking damage?

Damage to racking needs to be prioritised in order of risk category.

Red risk damage should be first offloaded and segregated from being used. Repair work will need to be booked in as soon as possible before the racking can be reused.

Amber risk damage should be repaired within four weeks, otherwise the racking needs to be immediately offloaded and unused until repair work is carried out.

Green risk damage should be monitored for any deterioration at regular in house inspections. If there are any changes to the damage, the appropriate action should be taken depending on the new category of risk.

To find out more about common types of racking damage and what you should do about them, check out our maintenance and repairs page here.

Do your teams know what to look for on their regular in-house inspections? Ensure they have the skills and the knowledge to keep your warehouse safe and operational. Visit our training courses page here.

Has your recent inspection highlighted red and amber risk damage to your racking?

Send us your inspection report and we can quote for your repair work.

Speak to a member of the team today.

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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.

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Causes of Racking Damage

Racking damage and how to prevent serious accidents

Racking systems are vital for efficient warehouse storage and operations. Not only are they a big investment, they are also used extremely often every day. This makes them vulnerable to being hit by moving vehicles and pallets.

Minor damage might seem like a small risk initially, but left unmonitored and these little bends can worsen into serious damage.

Ignoring serious damage doesn't make the risk disappear. If left untreated, racking can buckle and collapse, causing a domino effect and knocking whole aisles of racking over.

So, what are the main causes of racking collapse?

Let's look at some of the most common reasons why racking collapses, plus tips on how to reduce the risk:

Racking Collapse Shrewsbury   Image Source Aaron Chown SWNS Copy
Splice Incorrectly Installed   Rack Group Repairs

Racking incorrectly installed

Unqualified installers can build racking incorrectly, compromising its safety. Ensure you always use a qualified, experienced racking installation company that can guarantee installation to the manufacturers instructions.

Racking uprights should always be bolted to the floor using at least two fixings per base plate. Cutting corners won't save time or money long term. Not installing racking properly will likely lead to accidents and legal cases brought against the warehouse owner.

You should also make sure you're choosing the right type of racking for your products and operations. Courtesy of Dexion, we have a handy guide on how to choose warehouse racking.

Overloaded pallets and beams

Every beam of racking has a weight load limit. These limits should be clearly displayed for warehouse teams to see. They should also have training if needed to make sure they understand, and abide by, these limits.

It is a legal requirement to display Weight Load Notice Signs on every aisle of racking. Missing, damaged, or incorrect Weight Load Notice Signs will be identified during your annual racking safety inspection. These should be installed as quickly as possible to prevent possible accidents caused by incorrect loading of pallets and beams.

Weight Load Notice Damage   Rack Group Repairs Copy
Upright Damage Rack Group Repairs

Impact from material handling equipment

MHE (Material Handling Equipment) frequently moves pallet and stock around the warehouse. Manoeuvring narrow aisles of racking with large, bulky and heavy pallets can often lead to bumps and scrapes with the racking uprights, beams and bracing.

Without barriers and guards, racking can be quite vulnerable to these types of collisions. This can lead to buckling and tears in the components, and ultimately racking collapse if left unrepaired.

Reduce this risk of racking collapse by installing racking protection barriers and guards. Check out our racking protection guide here.

Racking reconfigured and not re-inspected for safety

It's really common for warehouses to change their operations or alter capacity. One of the great benefits of using storage systems like pallet racking is that they can be reconfigured easily.

The risk here is that making any changes to racking beam levels can change the Weight Load Limit. If racking is altered without an experienced engineer, there is a danger that the Weight Load Notice Sign is not updated accordingly.

This can then lead to unsafe working loads of the beams, and potential danger of racking collapse. Ensure all racking is altered by a professional, the weight load limit is recalculated, and the Weight Load Notice Sign is updated to reflect the changes.

Bent Beam   Rack Group Repairs
Welded Beam Unskilled Repair Example   Rack Group Repairs

Racking components not repaired properly

Repairing racking using in house teams is not necessarily a danger to the racking itself, assuming the person has the relevant skills and training to do so.

Where the risk lies is when racking components are repaired by unskilled and untrained individuals. 'Repairing' torn components by welding patches over the damage is an example of risky repairs and can lead to serious damage.

Repairs are categorised by a traffic light system, created by SEMA. Your annual racking safety inspection will identify any damage, as well as which category they call under. Make sure you follow all guidance from your inspector to keep your warehouse operational and your team safe.

How can you minimise your risk of racking collapse?

  • Make sure you use qualified installation teams to install and alter any racking systems to the manufacturers instructions
  • Book a racking safety inspection at least once a year to capture issues and damage
  • Repair damage as soon as is required, according to the SEMA traffic light coded system
  • Ensure your teams have sufficient training to know what to look for and what actions to take if they spot an issue

Visit our Maintenance & Repairs page to browse more types of racking damage, and what steps you need to take next.

Recently had an inspection? Send us your report and we can quote your repair work.

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Speak to a member of the team today.

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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.

Racking Repairs & Maintenance Rack Group

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