SEMA, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association has raised serious concerns over a method of rack repairs that straightens damaged uprights using a jig and a hydraulic ram without offloading pallets before undertaking the repair.

matt-grierson-nov2014

SEMA’s technical committee believes that this method of repairing adjustable pallet racking could be extremely dangerous and flies in the face of health and safety best practice enshrined in the HSE’s guideline on Warehousing and Storage, HSG 76.

The association states that any racking modified in this manner and its safety will no longer be underwritten by any SEMA rack manufacturer whose products are modified in this manner.

Racking structures manufactured by SEMA members in the UK come with the manufacturer’s warranty that is based on independent verification of the quality of the product via the SEMA QAS 2000 quality system. Part of this process is the independent testing of the manufacturer’s products in line with BS EN 15512 and SEMA Code requirements which ensure that products supplied are fit for purpose. After being straightened, the properties of the racking are altered from the known state on which the original approval testing was carried out.

The manufacturer’s warranty and guaranteed carrying capacity (as displayed on the load notice) becomes null and void once any third party has carried out a repair in this manner. A third party carrying out such work will therefore become liable not only for the workmanship of what has been modified but also for the structural integrity of the racking structure. BS EN 15635 clearly states that the safest way to repair damaged rack components is by replacement with like for like components.

BS EN 15635 also notes that “damaged components should be replaced rather than repaired as effective quality control is difficult on cold formed materials”. This process will ensure the integrity of the racking remains intact and normally can be warranted again by the original manufacturer.

HSG 76, states categorically in clause 633 that “all racking systems should be of good mechanical construction, of sound material, adequate strength and installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.”

SEMA’s newly appointed president, Matt Grierson commented: “SEMA’s opinion is that this method is a high-risk procedure and storage industry repairer claims run counter to HSG 76 recommendations. Clause 652 states that where damage is identified that affects the safety of the racking system, the racking should be offloaded and controls introduced to prevent it being used until remedial work has been carried out.

“SEMA can appreciate the commercial merits of the straightening of bent uprights in, what has to be said, is an expedient manner, but these benefits would be very short term should an accident occur. In our belief, there is a strong risk of metal fatigue occurring which will reduce the load carrying capacity of the racking. In law, every repairer company or end user organisation has a duty of care to its employees and users of racking facilities. The adage “Let the buyer beware or Caveat Emptor most definitely applies here.”

SEMA has launched a multi-channel campaign to alert potential buyers to the risks of this method of rack repair.

A copy of SEMA Technical Bulletin No.4: Rack Repairs by Straightening Damaged Uprights is downloadable at http://bit.ly/SEMATechnicalBulletin4

SEMA is the British Trade Association of the Storage Equipment Industry. It is committed to promoting and extending the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by its members.

Tel: 0121 601 6359

www.sema.org.uk