Warehouse racking repairs, we hate to say it, are inevitable. In the busy day-to-day environment that is your warehouse, it’s natural for your storage equipment to be at risk of knocks and bumps. No matter what racking you have, eventually all that wear and tear is going to need some repair work. To keep your warehouse running smoothly and your workforce safe, ensuring it’s in the best condition is extremely important.
In this blog, we look at how you can minimise accidental damage and reduce ongoing repair costs. We’ll also look at what you can do to minimise maintenance costs and the best approaches to address racking repairs.
Racking Safety Regulations
When addressing warehouse racking repairs, the first place to start looking at the relevant safety regulations. Under the PUWER (Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) you, as the warehouse manager must ensure that any work equipment is in good working order. What you may not be aware of is the fact that your racking is classified as work equipment.
PUWER requires you to check whether any equipment is:
- Suitable for the intended use
- Safe to use
- Maintained in a safe condition
Failing to correctly do so can result in serious consequences. If an investigation by the HSE discovers you have failed in due diligence it can result in hefty fines. This doesn’t even take into account the potential impact on lives after a serious accident.
Inspections and Warehouse Racking Repairs
To meet PUWER it is recommended that you inspect your storage equipment. The design of your racking does allow for some wear and tear but there is a limit to what it can take. Even minor damage can limit the load-carrying capacity of the structure and quickly develop into a serious issue if not addressed.
A rigorous inspection regime will address any damage before it becomes serious. For industry guidance on inspections, there are two places to go. The HSE has produced ‘HSG76 Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety’ or you can head to the website of SEMA who are the leading voice on safety in the storage equipment industry. Both recommend following a three-tiered process for inspecting warehouse racking.
How Often Should You Inspect Racking?
- Every day your staff should be aware of any damage on the racking. Provide training for your employees, like our Rack Inspection Training course, and it will give them the tools they need to understand what classifies as racking damage. It is far more cost-effective to catch damage early before it develops into a more serious problem.This training also has the benefit of guiding them through safe working practices. Damaged racking can cause downtime for your business. Minimise unnecessary costs by making sure your employees know how to correctly work around the racking. Not only will it keep them safe but it should also reduce accidental damage to the structure.
- At least once a week, a member of your staff must undertake a more thorough inspection. This includes checking the loading is correct for the load notice and if there are any components that are missing or damaged. It will also check that everyone is using the equipment correctly. Again, our Rack Inspection Training course will guide them through the process.
- Finally, at least once a year, you must have an Expert Inspection by a qualified approved racking inspector. Their detailed inspection report will cover the suitability and compatibility of your equipment, and rack configuration type and classify any damage using a traffic light system to indicate actions required and the recommended timescale to address them.
If you’re overdue for your inspection or have not had one before, why not give us a call and we can arrange for one of our experienced racking inspectors to visit your site.
How do I know if I need warehouse racking repairs?
You know you have damage to your racking but does it need repairing every time? The first thing to understand is the level of the damage. If your racking inspection uses the traffic light system, it should be very easy to understand.
A ‘Green Risk’ shows that there is damage, but it falls well below SEMA allowances. This will be recorded for follow-up at the next inspection.
Next, is the ‘Amber Risk’. This is damage which requires repair work but not at a level that requires immediate offloading. However, you should be aware that as you empty the bays, they should not be refilled. This does not mean you can leave the repair work. SEMA advises that if you don’t get the ‘Amber Risk’ areas fixed within four weeks it will immediately become a ‘Red Risk’.
Now on to the worst type of damage ‘Red Risk’. This is an area with a high level of damage and must be immediately offloaded and isolated. You may only use the racking again once it has been repaired.
Protect your racking investment
Before you jump online and book a company to come out and repair your racking, take caution! Not all repair work is valid. SEMA has produced guidance on what repair work they recommend and what should be avoided.
For example, your racking company should never undertake welding to the structure because there is no way to test the result of the weld and guarantee strength. If there is damage to an upright, you should never bend it back into shape – it’s far safe to cut out the affected area and splice in a new section. If you need to replace non-structural elements you should only use the correct manufacturer’s part according to their specification. Always check they are replacing the part with the correct one!!
Finally, check with the racking manufacturer on whether the repair work will affect your warranty. Any warehouse racking repairs using third-party materials or unqualified installers could alter the original specification and verification of the product and impact its integrity. The company undertaking the work must provide a warranty to confirm that the repairs are covered by the manufacturer.
How to choose a company to conduct your warehouse racking repairs
If you’re looking to protect your investment, you need to work with a company that is approved by the manufacturer of your equipment. However, knowing which companies to trust can be a time-consuming process.
One solution is to work with a SEMA Distributor Company like Teepee. As a member of SEMA, we work closely with the manufacturing members and can access their documentation to conduct repair work. Any warehouse racking repairs will be approved by the manufacturer and protect your warranty.
To become a SEMA Distributor Company, we have been able to successfully demonstrate a high level of commitment to adhere to over 40 regulations, industry standards, Codes of Practice, and legislative requirements. We also have to submit to a three-yearly audit process which checks that we have technical sign-off and traceability for any racking repair work or modification. It will save you a lot of leg work and reassure you.
Need repairs to your racking?
As a member of SEMA, we are also committed to using SEIRS-trained racking installers. The programme run by SEMA ensures that all SEIRS installers have been through their rigorous two-stage training programme and instructs on the correct and safe industry practices for working on racking equipment.