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Racked with doubt?

24 March 2014

In warehouses, pallet racking damage is a major occupational health and safety issue but it is also one that can easily go unchecked. Mike Alibone asks whether you really know how safe your racking and shelving is and suggests some ways that you can be sure about this area of storage safety.


There is no doubt that however durable your storage system may be, day to day operations within your warehouse or distribution centre will result in wear and tear on the structure, which may ultimately render it unserviceable or unsafe. Structural damage, however small, can result from impacts caused by collisions with mobile equipment or from unintentional overloading of beams and shelves. 

Inspecting your racking and shelving on a regular basis is required under current Health and Safety legislation. The ultimate responsibility for rack safety lies with you as an employer and carries significant legal liabilities in the event of an accident. 

Pallet racking is not designed to be struck by fork-lifts. Even low speed collisions can lead to structural damage that is both costly to repair and dangerous to the lives of workers however quality racking and shelving should last a lifetime – providing it is properly maintained. Companies such as SSI Schaeffer can help you establish a support and affordable maintenance programme based on your level of usage and tailored to your specific storage system requirements

After the installation, certified racking inspectors are available to come on site for inspection which are recommended on an annual basis. To add to the longevity of your racking system, we conduct rack safety trainings each year for your warehouse personnel on safety handling. In addition to this our racking accessories and spare parts can be purchased separately. 

These specialist will begin with establishing a schedule of regular inspections of the installation to identify and highlight key areas of concern. This is quickly followed by an Inspection Report, which includes recommendations and costings for remedial repair work and advice on reducing the potential for further damage. 

Distorted uprights, beams and frames are usually highly visible but other forms of damage may not be so readily apparent. Our specialists are trained to identify the less obvious structural weaknesses and irregularities, such as damaged baseplates, broken safety locks and ill-fitting beam connectors.

The inspection reports are provided in an easy to understand format as well as being professional and unbiased. Upon receipt of instructions to proceed, SSI Schaefer will subsequently project manage and effect any repairs necessary, replacing damaged components and ensuring full Health & Safety and PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) compliance. 

Gari Courtney, Senior Technician from Teva UK Limited, a global pharmaceutical company says: "Schaefer always provide a very professional examination and report of our high bay racking, with no stone left unturned. We feel extremely confident that our needs are met and that the safety of our equipment is in good hands.”

All our specialists are SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors (SARI), trained and assessed to industry standards and their inspections are carried out to the relevant SEMA guidelines and codes of practice. SSI Schaefer is a member of SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) who represent the Storage Equipment Industry in discussions with UK Government departments and local authorities. Within SEMA, SSI Schaefer personnel are proactive in the development of standards for the storage industry in the UK and throughout Europe. SEMA develops and influences both National and European Codes of Practice and guidelines for the design, supply and installation of all types of storage equipment.

Mike Alibone is business development and marketing manager at SSI Schaefer. 


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