08 Mar How Safe is Your Pallet Racking?
Any employer will be very keen to ensure that their storage racking is safe, to prevent any potential risk to their personnel. Collapsed racking also causes damage to goods, creating down time and disruption. It is vital to be sure that the pallet racking in your warehouse is safe.
Do you know what weight your racking can take?
A glance at your storage racking should immediately reveal conspicuous notices stating the weight limit that it can take, and any necessary information about weight distribution. If you cannot see these notices clearly displayed then your racking is UNSAFE. Your personnel should be aware at all times how much load each area of racking can take (and then these levels must be carefully adhered to, making sure that weight is evenly distributed along the racks.)
Who Installed your Storage Racking?
The storage racking should have been installed by accredited racking installers, in compliance with the original manufacturer’s instructions. If the racking was not installed by experts, then it may not have been installed correctly and should be immediately inspected. Small changes from the manufacturer’s installation procedure and design can make a big difference to the structural integrity of the racking.
When Was your Last Inspection?
Each site should have a nominated Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS), who ensures that racking is well maintained and regularly inspected. All employees should be aware of what to look out for in terms of damage, and be aware of the procedure for reporting any collisions or damage. Any collisions must be immediately inspected for damage by the PRRS or another qualified individual. Visual inspections should take place very regularly. Any issues such as rust or bent components must be reported and assessed immediately to ensure that your racking remains safe. More in depth inspections, carried out by trained experts should be observed at least annually.
Has Anything Been Changed Since your Last Inspection?
Changing beam levels must be done with reference to the original manufacturers, or an experienced designer with knowledge of the system and access to the loading charts and other details; as the smallest adjustment can change the weight bearing capacity of the racking as a whole.
Removing or adding components must not be done without specialist advice, as this can make the racking unsafe.
Racking should be protected wherever there is potential for collision. Racking protection should be in bright colours, so that forklift truck operators can see them clearly. Also, make sure that there is sufficient width of aisles for there to be space to move without collision. Take into account turning circles, and personnel passing one another in the aisles. Any collisions (and they are likely to happen from time to time) must be immediately reported.
What is Your Emergency Procedure?
You should have risk assessments in place and an emergency procedure which all personnel should be aware of. Be aware of any additional legislation that your industry or warehouse needs to take into account.
Do you use Faulty Pallets?
It is not only the pallet racking that needs regular inspection; the pallets themselves also need to be looked at often to ensure that they are not breaking or splintering. Damaged pallets can collapse, shedding their loads and resulting in significant danger to warehouse staff. They can also cause damage to the racking, potentially weakening the structure and making it unsafe; so ensure that your pallets are recycled or properly repaired as soon as they show signs of wear or damage.
For a qualified inspection of your pallet racking, or any other pallet racking needs, call WSL today on 0113 204 5350.
This article has been largely informed by Health and Safety Executive. (2007). Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety. Available: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg76.pdf. Pages 110 – 117.