Pallet Packing: Inspection & Maintenance

Why do I Need a Pallet Racking Inspection

Regular inspection of pallet racking ensure HSE compliance, lower maintenance costs and help to prevent accidents and injury for all staff and visitors.

The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) states:

‘All adjustable pallet racking falls under the category of work equipment, which must be maintained and inspected on a regular basis’

Health and Safety Executive guidelines state that employers must ensure equipment is:

suitable for use, and for the purpose and conditions in which it is to be used;

maintained in a safe condition for use so that people’s health and safety is not at risk; and

inspected, in certain circumstances, to ensure that it is and continues to be safe for use.

Regular Formal Inspections

Undertaken by warehouse supervisors or a member of staff who has completed a SEMA rack awareness course.

Carried out at weekly and monthly intervals.

Used to identify and act upon any damage not yet reported.

Typically include removal of product from random bays to provide more detailed inspection access.

Annual or half Annual Formal Inspections

Carried out by a technically competent individual (preferably SARI registered).

Inspector should be fully experienced in the identification and categorisation of racking damage.

Inspector can be a fully trained member of the management, a rack manufacturer’s technical expert or an independent consultant.

Inspection Frequency

Must be adjusted in relation to the throughput of the warehouse.

High usage stores require a more regular inspection.

Cold store conditions are more arduous for materials and staff and must be taken into account in determining the necessary frequency of inspection and the skill level of the inspector.

For further information and advice see SEMA Guideline 6 Guide to the Conduct of Pallet Racking and Shelving Surveys.

All inspections must be documented in the maintenance log, in a systematic and clear manner. The inspection will identify and classify any damage according to severity and required action.

In general there are three levels of damage:

RED
– Items which are severely damaged well beyond the limitations of the SEMA code.
– The racking should be immediately off-loaded and isolated from future use until repair work is carried out.
– Repair work would normally be the replacement of the damaged item.
– A written procedure must be adopted by the Inspection Engineer in order to inform the user of the seriousness of the situation.

ORANGE
– Items that are damaged beyond the limitations of the SEMA code.
– Not sufficiently serious to warrant immediate off-loading of the rack.
– A procedure should be in place to ensure that once the rack is offloaded it is not used until repairs have been carried out.
– If the location remains occupied 4 weeks after initial identification, the rack should be offloaded for repair immediately.

GREEN
– Items which are damaged but are within the limitation of the SEMA code.
– Recorded as being suitable for use but be identified for future reference and monitoring.

Damage Requiring Replacement

Anything which significantly changes the original cross section profile

Anything which deforms the straightness of any load bearing member

Anything which significantly weakens jointed members due to failed welds or loose bolts

Damage to Racking

Any damage to a rack upright will reduce its load carrying capacity.

The greater the damage the greater will be the reduction in its strength until the upright collapses at its normal working load.

Damage to bracing sections will reduce the capacity of racking frames to withstand accidental frontal impacts and may also reduce the axial load carrying capability of frame uprights.

Assessment of Damage to Beams

Beams will naturally deflect under normal loading conditions to a maximum permissible of span/200.

This deflection should disappear when beams are unloaded and should not be confused with permanent deformation caused by overloading or impact damage.

Damage should be measured against the following criteria:

Beam and connectors which show any clearly visible deformation should be unloaded and expert advice sought from the equipment supplier.

Welded connections between beam section and end connector should show no signs of cracking.

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