One of the most critical components in your warehouse is your racking system. If designed and installed correctly it should support your business, improve processes and speed up orders. Above all else, keep everyone safe. It would be nice to think that once up, you take racking off your list of jobs. However, this is not the case. To keep your equipment in good working order you also need to continuously inspect racking. A process that extends over the lifetime of your structure. Follow the correct inspection steps and it will uphold safety levels, reduce maintenance costs and help warehouse owners to meet their responsibilities.
With over 35 years of experience in the storage industry, Teepee knows a thing or two about helping businesses keep their racking safe. In our blog, we look at what you need to consider and how often you should inspect your warehouse racking.
Finding the Right Guidance
Navigating the process can be challenging to get your head around. However, there is plenty of guidance available which, together with support from Teepee, will help you stay on top of your racking responsibilities.
The first place to look is the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA). They are a leading voice within the storage industry and are proactive in the development of standards in racking systems. They develop and influence both National and European Codes of Practice and guidelines for all types of storage equipment and in particular cover the inspection process.
Guidance is also available in HSG 76 Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety from the HSE. Although it is not a legal requirement to follow the advice, adhering to the guidance is usually enough to comply with legislation. Their advice aligns with guidance produced by SEMA and follows the lifetime of your racking from the design, supply and installation right through to maintenance and inspection processes.
Meet Your Racking Responsibilities
Owners of racking equipment need to be aware that storage equipment falls under the classification of work equipment. It is your responsibility to assess and maintain your racking in accordance with PUWER (Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998).
From the very start, you are responsible for ensuring the equipment is suitable for its intended use. It means checking the design of the racking works for intended loads and correct installation processes have been followed. In a market with very few barriers to entry, it is always advisable to work with a SEMA Distributor Company like Teepee. The accreditation provides reassurance the racking supplier has been through an independent assessment to prove their safety and quality credentials.
PUWER also expects you to provide adequate training for your employees and instruction on how to use the equipment. Moving forward you must then check it is safe to use, maintained in a safe condition and regularly inspected.
Inspect Racking – Step-By-Step Guide
When it comes to the inspection of your racking, SEMA advises adopting a three-tiered approach.
- Daily – as soon as your racking is in place, you need to keep an eye on it. Every day it will be receive numerous knocks and bumps which, if you don’t address, can quickly turn into big problems.The people best placed to regularly keep an eye on your racking are your employees After all, they are working around the equipment every day and can quickly spot if there is an issue. However, they can only do this with correct training and knowledge to know what a problem looks like. That’s why at Teepee we hold our Racking Inspection Training which instructs your staff on the safe operation of your racking system.
- Weekly –every week a nominated and trained member of your team must perform a more detailed inspection. This is a Person Responsible for Racking Safety otherwise known as PRRS. Their role is to check everyone is following correct usage, record damage levels and implement action on any points. A formal record of their inspection will be written for your records. Again, our Racking Inspection Training can prepare a member of your staff to take on this role.
- Expert – the final stage is the Expert inspection which you must undertake at least once a year. In accordance with HSE requirements, only a professional with the correct qualifications can undertake this type of inspection. They will conduct racking and storage assessments while also reporting and making recommendations to maintain the safety of your racking.
What to Expect from Your Inspection Report
Ideally, you want an approved racking inspector who uses a traffic light reporting system. Their report will indicate what damage is present and action requirements over what timescale.
A Red risk indicates serious damage which requires immediate offloading of the rack. At this stage, you must isolate the racking and not use it until the repair work is complete.
Amber shows where the damage is severe enough to require remedial work but does not require ‘immediate unloading of the rack’. However, as you empty pallet positions do not refill the area. If the repairs are not complete within a four-week timeframe the area automatically becomes a red risk,
Green areas indicate where damage falls within SEMA limits and is considered safe, serviceable and suitable for use. The area will be recorded for further consideration at the next inspection.
If you need an expert inspection, get in touch with Teepee and we can arrange for one of our fully qualified and insured racking inspectors to visit your site. They will produce an electronic report that adheres to SEMA inspection guidelines. The report will detail specifications, conditions, damage list by location and photographic evidence for remedial works by your approved supplier.
Need Racking Training for Your Employees?
When looking for a racking safety course, it’s worthwhile getting your training from experts who work within the industry. After all, the course should be worth paying for the time and money you are putting in. That’s why at Teepee, we make sure we put our experienced inspectors at the front of the class! Giving you and your employees the chance to draw on both their knowledge and experience.
We will deliver our interactive Racking Awareness, Safety & Inspection Course at your premises and prepare your employees for both the daily and the PRRS weekly inspections. The classroom-based element of the course will equip candidates with a level of competence that meets guidelines and legislation.
Once the classroom element is over, we move out onto the warehouse floor. This practical section gives your employees the chance to inspect your racking in familiar surroundings. They will work alongside the qualified inspector to ensure continuity of findings between the in-house and expert inspections.
Upon completion of the rack safety course, we issue a certificate. This details the date achieved, the expiry date and the name of the facility’s competent PRRS. The certification lasts for THREE years after which they will need to go on one of our refresher racking inspection courses.
Need to Inspect Racking? Teepee Can Help!
At Teepee, we’re more than just creating and delivering the perfect storage solution. Keeping on top of your inspections may seem like a complicated task, but work with us and we’ll make sure it’s something to take off your ‘to-do’ list.
Book an inspection with Teepee and we’ll make sure you never forget your next expert inspection and ensure you meet SEMA and HSE recommendations. Two to three months prior to your next inspection we’ll get in touch to discuss your equipment, help with any problems you may have and book one of our Approved Inspectors to pay a visit to your site. Tick all the boxes and get your employees booked onto our Rack Safety course.