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How To Maintain Your Racking Between Racking Inspections

If you’ve had your racking for a while, you will be well versed in the importance of SEMA racking inspections. Carried out annually at a minimum, formal inspections are a legal requirement and critical for safety, productivity, and so you know the condition of your equipment – replacements, recommendations and so on.

Employers are subject to various legislation, (including The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974/1999 and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) and there are moral and financial obligations to uphold, too, causing no harm to others and avoiding economic suffering due to a major incident (phew!).  

So rather than seeing it as an annual nail-biter, there are measures you can take throughout the year not only to see you through an inspection but keep your workers safe, your equipment in top condition, and your stock protected.

The importance of racking safety

It seems obvious, but racking safety is THE most critical factor to consider when designing, building and maintaining your racking equipment. As demand for online shopping with stringently tight turnarounds and ever more complex supply chains emerge, workers are increasingly at the mercy of proper, maintained equipment and effective warehouse and workflow design. Warehouse operations don’t need to be dangerous work with the right processes and procedures in place, and high-quality racking from reputable manufacturers and installed by professionals. All of our teams at Nene Warehouse Solutions have safety and quality top of mind for all our clients – the result of not doing so can be catastrophic.

With 441,000 non-fatal injuries and 142 fatal accidents reported by the HSE 2020/2021, there is still an opportunity within the workplace to cause harm. So, where we can prevent it through quality products, training and services, the industry and Nene Warehouse Solutions are making a conscious effort not to be part of the problem.

For more information, view HSE Workplace Injury Statistics 2019/2020.

Find out more about Nene Warehouse Solutions’ Racking Inspection Training.

In-house racking inspections

So, what can you do? Well, regular inspections in-house will keep you on top of what’s going on and, most importantly, your workers safe. And we don’t mean a quick once over. Get processes in place to carry out routine spot checks and reviews of your equipment regularly between SEMA inspections. Allocate the responsibility by appointing a person to manage the process (the PRRS), and document the process, so you don’t miss anything. 

Nene Warehouse Solutions provides Racking Inspection Training, enabling your appointed person to confidently and correctly carry out interval inspections and spot checks. They will learn how to plan reviews by understanding how your warehouse works (busy, heavy forklift use, high footfall etc.), scheduled and spot-checks, document findings, and how to work with SEMA and prepare for a successful inspection. 

What to look for when inspecting pallet racking in-house

Our training will give a thorough understanding of what you need to look for in your inspections.
The main culprits of safety concerns (and failed inspections!) are:

Damage caused by forklifts

Even the smallest prang with a forklift can knock out the integrity of your racking and pose a silent threat to safety. Check solidity and structural integrity regularly, especially after contact with other machinery.

Dislodged beams

The human body is less strong and wonky at best when alignment is out, and racking structures are much the same. Even a few millimetres off, dislodged beams can cause issues from the foundations up, meaning products are not secure in storage, and workers are at risk of falling goods and even racking collapse.

Safety clips missing

It speaks for itself, but safety clips missing is obviously dangerous. The odd clip here and there is most often down to human error or degradation of the clip, so counting up regularly and making sure there are enough clips in the right places is essential and replacing where necessary.

Damage at base of the upright and twisted upright

Base damage is only ever going to cause problems further up, and with weakened uprights, it only takes a shunt of a forklift to cause you more than a major headache. As with any structure, racking must be strong enough to withstand its own design and the volume placed upon it from the ground up.

Signs of corrosion

Older equipment is especially susceptible, as is outdoor and racking used in extreme temperatures. We use only galvanised steel racking at Nene Warehouse Solutions, which withstands the elements and corrosion infinitely better than industrial steel alone, but nothing is entirely void of corrosion at some point. Pay particular attention to fixtures and fittings, as a rusty screw might not seem like much, but consider what it’s holding together.

Overloaded racking

Our design and product teams work closely with our clients to ensure they know how to use the racking properly. We know that designing the proper racking for your product use is crucial to safe operations for workers and your products. We do this to ensure that you know not to overload your racking and use it most effectively and efficiently.

Bent racking

A bend anywhere in your racking is going to cause you problems. Picking, restocking, cleaning and stock-taking can all be affected by wonky frameworks and bends in your bases and beams will weaken your structure, as we’ve mentioned before. Therefore, checking alignment is essential to safe and inspection ready racking in your facility.

View our Racking Inspection Checklist for more information.

Enforcing warehouse safety to reduce damage

As much as physical checks are crucial, training and rules around safety in the warehouse and racking use are imperative. Working these into your warehouse’s design will help workers naturally take on board regulations and considerations for their own safety and those around them. Workflows with appropriate signage, one-way systems, first aid, floor markings, and speed limits, to name a few, are just some of the ways to integrate a code of safe conduct into your teams on the ground. And you can implement new workflows and updated safety measures with existing racking; it’s not just for the newly fitted, and we can help you with this.

Find out more about the importance of racking signs.

Racking protection products

While you’re looking out for your racking, you can physically protect your racking too. We offer a range of racking protection products, such as:

Our products prevent and minimise damage, and our maintenance services can help you keep on top of things. View our range of racking protection products.

There is no need to dread your SEMA inspection. It is your racking MOT. Your opportunity to get a professional sign off that your racking investment is working properly and that your workers are safe and have the right tools to carry out their job effectively. 

The result is a productive workforce, no downtime due to poor maintenance, and equipment that works for you. By carrying out inspections and spot-checks between SEMA’s, you are contributing to the success of your business and the safety of your teams, which are the most essential factors for any employer. If you need help levelling up your inspections, get in touch with the team today.