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Inspection
Minimising the possibility of damage to pallet racking is one of the most important challenges facing the storage industry and Nolwazi is very active in promoting the safe use of storage equipment. One of the most relevant documents for the safe use of pallet racking is the ‘SEMA Code of Practice for the Use of Static Pallet Racking SEMA 2010.’ This document has various requirements which will minimise damage to your racking in the warehouse environment.
Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS)
The warehouse health and safety management team should nominate a competent person to be responsible for racking safety. The PRRS is responsible for ensuring that the racking is used, inspected and maintained in accordance with the appropriate regulations and guidelines.
Operator Training
It is also the warehouse health and safety management team’s responsibility to ensure that the operators are trained in the appropriate use and limitations of the storage equipment. It is the responsibility of the warehouse health and safety management to maintain the racking in reasonable condition. Comprehension and effective driver training will minimise the possibility of any accidents.
Rack Protection
End frame protectors are recommended in warehouses where reach trucks or forklifts are operating.  It is highly recommended that protectors for end frames between gangways (a raised platform or walkway, for pedestrians) aisle, and bridge bays are in place and maintained. Other racking protection requirements should be considered as identified by a risk assessment. The warehouse health and safety management team should be aware of the implications of retrofitting protection devices which reduce operating clearances and can, in some circumstances, lead to an increase in the amount of damage.
Inspection Requirements
Regular inspections of your pallet racking are required. The inspection should follow a hierarchical approach using three levels of inspection as follows;
  1. Damage inspection by warehouse operatives
  2. Weekly inspections as a visual check from ground level
  3. Monthly or annual inspection by a ‘technical competent’ person or company
Maintenance
Any damaged component, noted during inspection as requiring repair or replaced, should be taken out of use in accordance with SEMA guidelines and repaired or replaced by suitably trained personnel as required.

Typical racking protection requirements are shown in Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1. Plan view of racking showing typical protection requirements

Figure 1. Plan view of racking showing typical protection requirements

Figure 2. Elevation of racking showing typical protection requirements at a bridge bay

Figure 2. Elevation of racking showing typical protection requirements at a bridge bay

Racking Protection
Rack protectors should be regarded as a ‘last resort’ means of avoiding damage and other methods of damage prevention should be considered before taking the decision to use rack protectors. The protection of racking is not just dependant on physical rack protectors, but relies on many items including;
  1. The specification
  2. The design of the system
  3. The installation
  4. The defined responsibilities of the person responsible for racking safety
  5. The training of the operatives
  6. The inspection procedure
  7. The maintenance procedure
Items to be considered should include:
  1. The type of damage to be protected against
  2. Whether other methods of protection are more appropriate
  3. The type of protector required
  4. Whether the protector will reduce clearances, potentially leading to more damage
  5. Whether the protector may hide potentially serious damage
  6. Whether the protector may lead to less reporting of damage
  7. Whether the protector may result in operatives using the protector as a buffer
It is important to note that the use of rack protectors should be carefully considered to ensure that it is appropriate and is not just a quick fix which may lead to further safety issues.
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