Racking in warehouses is often made from fairly lightweight materials; therefore, it can only stand up to so much wear and tear. The care and skill of forklift and other drivers has a great effect on the amount of damage inflicted on the racking.
Damage to the racking matters – the more damage to the racking, the less strong it is and therefore the more its capacity to carry loads is diminished. The HSE’s publication on warehousing and racking systems discusses these issues, including maintenance and inspection, in detail.
Nominated individual in charge of racking safety
Due to the possibly dangerous effects of damage, both new and used pallet racking must be inspected regularly. There should be a person on site who has been nominated as the individual responsible for the safety of the racking and it is their responsibility to decide how often the racking should be inspected, given the way in which the warehouse operates. Other factors to be taken into consideration will be the size of the warehouse, the employees involved and the equipment being used, since these could contribute to damaged racking.
Any new damage or any safety problem that has been noticed by an employee should be reported immediately to the person with responsibility for racking safety. As employees have this responsibility to report, it is essential that they are trained and given information on how the racking system can be operated safely, particularly since this affects not only their own safety but also the safety of their fellow employees.
Types of inspection
There are several different types of racking inspection and it is important that a written record of the inspection is kept. The frequency of inspections varies; however, the racking must be subject to an expert inspection – one carried out by a technically-competent person – at least annually. They must submit a report to the on-site person with responsibility for racking safety.
A technically-competent person could be someone within the organisation who has received specialist training, an expert from a racking supplier such as www.rackzone.ie/pallet-racking, or a qualified, independent racking inspector.
Rack inspections are normally carried out from the ground; however, if there appear to be any problems higher up that need investigating, an above-ground inspection will take place.