FAQ’s of Pallet Racking Inspections

A pallet racking inspection is something that we recommend carrying out in any setting where pallet racking is present A racking inspection is an appraisal of the condition of pallet racking, mezzanine floors and shelving which may be at risk of damage from moving machinery within your warehouse.

Why Do I Need a Pallet Racking Inspection?

Pallet racking is often constructed from lightweight materials and is not designed to take a large amount of force from impacts or similar forces. Incorrectly installed or damaged racking is dangerous so in the UK there is a legal requirement to inspect your racking systems regularly. In a busy warehouse it is easy for racking to sustain accidental damage by things like a forklift truck collisions, damage from stock or wear and tear over time. Unchecked, this damage can go on to cause major problems for your business. In the worst-case scenario, damaged pallet racking can cause a serious collapse. This could result in the death or injury of an employee, the cost of lost stock, major repair work as well as the disruption to your operation and potential reputational damage

Warehouse Storage

Is it a Legal Requirement?

There is no legal requirement to have your pallet racking inspected, however it is considered good practice by the Health and Safety Executive and, should there be an accident, will cover you legally in most cases. See HSE guide HSG76 for more information on the legislation around pallet racking.

What are the benefits of an inspection?

By carrying out regular pallet racking assessments will ensure any problems are dealt with quickly and the risk of an accident is minimised. You will also be complying with health and safety legislation, prevent pallet racking incidents, lower maintenance costs and promote health and safety in the workplace.

What are the HSE Guidelines For Pallet Racking Safety

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) produces guidance documents on occupational safety. While they are not law, following them will usually be enough to ensure you comply with the law.

HSE’s reference guides are easy to understand, and for the purpose of preparing for a pallet racking inspection, you should refer to HSG76 Warehouse and storage: A guide to health and safety.

The guide outlines your responsibilities and suggests that:

  • You should have a regular and thorough pallet racking inspection at least once per year, covering your racking system and mezzanine floors.
  • You should be vigilant about third-party work in your warehouse, and it is recommended that inspections are carried out by contractors that are SEMA approved. Installation, maintenance, and repair work should also be conducted by a SEMA approved expert.
  • It is recommended that you use a warehouse planning expert with relevant SEMA training, ensuring your layout is efficient and safe.
  • If you intend to have an internal inspector, they should undergo SEMA approved inspection training.

The laws that apply to warehouse environments include the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998.

What are the racking inspection regulations?

Racking inspection guidelines are laid out in the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974, The Management of Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and the Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), it is stated that:

‘All adjustable pallet racking fall under the category of work equipment, which must be maintained and inspected on a regular basis’.

The extracts below are a summary of the racking inspection regulations:

Inspect racking regularly to make sure it is repaired and maintained properly and is safe. You should use three types of inspection:

  • Immediate reporting of damage and defects.
  • Visual inspections at regular intervals; and
  • ‘Expert’ inspections carried out at intervals by a competent person.

Where you find damage that affects the safety of the racking system, offload the racking and introduce controls to prevent it being used until remedial work has been carried out. Keep a record of pallet racking inspections, damage, and repairs, e.g., in a logbook.

Who Can Carry Out An Inspection?

The main inspection of the racking should be carried out by a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector (SIFA). SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) are a UK based governing body who specialise in the design, supply and installation of all adjustable pallet racking systems. As a SEMA distributor, you can be assured that all systems supplied by Pallet Racking Systems Limited are compliant to all the highest safety standards.

What happens at the inspection?

The inspection is a systematic visual warehouse pallet racking inspection made by a qualified inspector. These are usually conducted at ground level, with the option of high-level inspections with the aid of a scissor lift. The inspector will assess your racking components, including beams and uprights, on each aisle. The inspector will look for damage or weaknesses such as bends, buckles, and dents. They will also look for other risks, such as floor debris and incorrectly stored pallets. After the checks are completed, they will provide you with a full report detailing non-critical and critical risks. Your business should schedule your pallet racking inspection in advance so that it does not disrupt your operation.

How Frequently Do I Need To Carry Out An Inspection?

Any visible damage should be reported in writing immediately to the person responsible for racking safety. SEMA require regular inspections which should follow a “hierarchical approach using 3 levels of inspection”.

Damage inspection by warehouse operatives

This is an ongoing, less rigorous, inspection by workers in the warehouse which may involve looking out for obvious damage to the racking. Operators of racking should be trained “in the appropriate use and limitations of the storage equipment”

Weekly inspections as a visual check from ground level

A once a week visual inspection. This could be carried out by the person responsible for racking safety (PRRS).

Annual or biannual inspection by a ‘technically competent’ person

A rigorous inspection carried our every 6 or 12 months, taking into account all aspects of rack safety. At least once a year this must be done by a SEMA qualified inspector who will likely be from outside your business. A ‘technically competent’ person could be from your equipment supplier or the manufacturer.

Should a Member of Staff be a Qualified Inspector?

The SEMA inspectors’ qualification (to become a SIFA) is a lengthy process and requires an inspector to inspect a certain number of racking systems per year as well as to attend conferences and seminars to keep their knowledge up to date. Because of this, becoming a SIFA is a full-time job in itself and so would only be done by an employee wishing to change their career. A weekly inspection should be carried out by a technically competent person who has received training on racking inspection. SEMA themselves offer a three-day course to train staff to visually inspect racking safely.

How Much do Pallet Racking Inspections Cost?

The cost of a SEMA improved inspection can vary depending on several things:

  • Quantity of racking – more racking means an inspection will take longer and therefore cost more.
  • Racking location – racking in more than one room or area of a warehouse will require more time to inspect.
  • Is there any specialist racking? – racking in temperature-controlled rooms or similar are more complicated to inspect which will increase the price of the inspection.

All pallet racking whether new or used should be inspected on a regular basis to maintain a safe and productive working environment. See Pallet Racking Systems range of second hand racking to suit any size or type of business today.

Pallet Racking Systems Limited

We thoroughly inspect all our systems prior to sale. For us, safety is paramount. We have over 45 year of experience and specialise in the sale of good condition used systems. We ensure that all the systems we sell meet all current health and safety regulations and conform to the latest FEM10-2-02 and SEMA design codes of practice. Our expert installation team ensure every one of our systems is installed correctly, meaning you make the best start with a pallet racking system for your business. Find out more about our used pallet racking systems or call Pallet Racking Systems Limited on 0800 085 8117.

About Pallet Racking Systems

As a well-established pallet racking company with four decades of experience, we are seasoned experts in warehouse racking solutions. Located in Willenhall, we take pride in sourcing and delivering pallet racking throughout the West Midlands and neighboring areas.

If you’re searching for top-tier shelving and racking suppliers, we invite you to visit our facility. Come see how we can help you efficiently tackle your logistical challenges with precision and expertise