Is Second-Hand Racking Safe? | Nene Warehouse Solutions
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Is Second-Hand Racking Safe?

There is a legitimate case in favour of second-hand racking. It is a cost-efficient and practical solution for businesses looking for storage equipment on a budget, temporary or seasonal warehousing, and racking hire. It comes with all the performance and flexibility of new pallet racking but without the long lead times and the current problematic price tag associated with new steel.

Current economic instability is only strengthening the case for used pallet racking. With inflation at its highest since the early 1980s and the UK amid fuel and energy crises, businesses have scarcely had more incentive to invest wisely in flexible warehousing and used or recycled assets.

However, the elephant in the room with used racking has always been its safety. Of course, there are risks associated with acquiring any used product, and racking is no different. When purchasing second-hand, you agree to accept responsibility for the item and its user history. But while the obscure origins of most pre-loved products are a non-issue – even desirable in some cases – obscurity in storage equipment is a serious gamble.

Well-travelled racking systems will have faced exposure to all kinds of environmental and structural pressures throughout their lifetime. As durable as heavy-duty racking is, years of operational stress, accumulative damage, or chronic misuse inevitably take a toll on its stability and can shorten the lifespan of critical components.

Similarly, with used cars: a deep clean and a fresh paint job will make even the most neglected vehicles look cherished, but without a trusted dealer or suitable background checks, you are oblivious as to how responsibly the previous owner(s) drove the car, the regularity of servicing, or what went on in the back seat ten years ago!

Know Who You Are Buying From

Purchasing used pallet racking from a trusted, SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) approved supplier is perhaps the most crucial step in the second-hand procurement process. As tempting as it may be to seek out cheap deals via online auction sites, the consistency and suitability of the product really cannot be guaranteed. A reputable, accredited supplier will give you the quality assurances and traceability needed to safeguard your business against the risks of substandard second-hand racking by ensuring each component is free of damage and degradation. 

Get Your Racking Inspected

Maintaining the health of your storage equipment is a continual task and best approached through a dual-process of regular, in-house inspections and annual, SEMA-approved racking inspections. The former is especially important with used racking; investing some time in general rack awareness and safety will go a long way toward ensuring the longevity of your used system. Bent frame braces, dents in the beams and frame uprights, missing or loose components, and signs of rust are all vulnerabilities that need addressing immediately.


SEMA-approved racking inspectors (SARI) will provide a more detailed analysis of your used storage equipment. They will ensure it is fit-for-purpose and fully compliant. Furthermore, a qualified inspector will identify any Green Risks or potential hazards within your warehouse, allowing you the opportunity to adjust and prevent damage in the future. SEMA recommend you have your racking inspected by a SARI annually, though many see the benefits of bi-annual inspections.

Aftercare Provisions

Every racking system looks healthy when newly installed – and then you introduce the stock, forklift trucks, and a busy schedule! The daily operations in any storage facility present numerous risks to your storage equipment. Though we can mitigate these risks through Rack Awareness Training and Rack Protection, damaged components are inescapable, and this is where things can get complicated with used racking. Frequently, spare parts for used pallet racking systems are either hard to obtain, expensive, or unavailable due to obsoleting. Be sure to discuss the cost and availability of spare components for your used racking system at the procurement stage. Having a well-thought-out aftercare plan in place from the outset will minimise operational downtime and protect your staff long-term.

Rack Protection

Protecting your racking from MHE (Material-Handling Equipment) impact is essential. As we have already touched on in this blog, damaged racking can lead to costly downtime and in extreme circumstances, cumulative damage or heavy collisions can result in potentially catastrophic racking collapses. Again, a suitable array of racking protection is not something you are likely to obtain via one-off deals and online auction sites. Discussing the appropriate type of rack protection with your supplier at the layout design stage will almost certainly pay off in the long run.

Speak To The Experts

So, is second-hand racking safe? In summary, yes, but with a clear caveat: when purchased and handled responsibly. Safe storage equipment is the foundation of a successful, enduring storage facility and an investment that you should not underestimate. Nene Warehouse Solutions champion safely and quality; our comprehensive stock of used pallet racking is thoroughly assessed and guaranteed to comply with the manufacturer’s specifications.

Contact our expert team to discuss your second-hand racking requirements today. Our team can offer the expert guidance, service, and provisions you need to invest in and successfully manage a used racking system.