Our first query for this month is looking for the safe removal of pallets when there is damage to the upright. Then we look at the Inspections needed on new Pallet Racking.

Safe Removal of Pallets

Q. We had an incident on site before Christmas whereby some rear end swing from an FLT caused some significant damage to an upright. This brought to light that we didn’t have guidance on how best to remove pallets from locations in a safe manner to avoid the uprights collapsing.

A. The short answer is that SEMA do not publish any guidance along the lines that you request.

The problem here is the number of variations that can occur in damage levels following an accident. Providing guidance without seeing and assessing the situation is asking for problems. I am sure that you will be well aware that one man’s ‘minor knock’ to a racking upright is another’s ‘near death’ experience!

A common sense appraisal of the situation might in serious situations require a Chartered Structural Engineer specialising in in Racking Products to provide guidance but this is always on the basis of a site visit where the severity of the accident and risk to those involved in offloading can be considered as part of the risk assessment and method statement that would be drawn up following this inspection.

In other less serious circumstances there might be an obvious safe method of offloading. There are a whole variety of techniques that can be used to make the situation safe depending on circumstances.

I hope these comments help and if you do need to discuss matters further please do not hesitate to contact us and sorry we are not able to offer more general advice.

Inspection on New Racking

Q. We are looking at getting some new pallet racking which will be installed by a company and not ourselves. My question is once it is up I know we will have to do weekly checks on it but will an official check need to be done on it by somebody or is the installation enough?

A. Whether you require a third party sign-off depends on the hand-over certification and the competence of the installer of the racking.

If it is installed by a company who are competent to install the racking and they provide suitable documentation that confirms that the racking has been installed in accordance with SEMA and the racking manufactures requirements, then an additional official check may not be required.

Please note there are 3 types of inspection:

(a) Immediate Inspections Immediate reporting of all damage and areas of concern to a ‘Person Responsible for Rack Safety’ (PRRS). This should follow a documented procedure with records kept on the action taken as a result of such reports. All warehouse staff should be encouraged to report damage immediately.

(b) Regular Inspections The PRRS should ensure that documented inspections are made at weekly or other intervals based on a risk assessment on the operating conditions of the warehouse. The inspection should be carried out by a suitably trained individual. The SEMA one day rack safety awareness training course is considered appropriate training for the Regular Inspection.

(c) Expert (Annual) Inspection The third level of inspection is a yearly, or twice yearly inspection (period depending on the risk assessment) of the rack carried out by a qualified Rack Inspector. Such an inspection will result in a documented report which will identify damage and will also provide guidance and comment on other warehouse activities. The Expert inspection should be carried out by a technically competent person. It is recommended that this inspection is carried out by a SEMA Approved Rack Inspector (SARI). SEMA Annual Safety Conference 2017 – a date for your diary Scheduled for 2nd November; at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull.

SEMA Technical Enquiries

If you have a query send it to us and we will do our best to have it answered.

SEMA Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection Courses

Aimed at end users, giving an indepth look at the need for inspections, how to conduct an assessment and what actions to take when this is completed.

SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors Qualification

Aimed at professionals who conduct rack surveys as an integral part of their duties. CPD will be an important part of the qualification, demonstrating to end users that SEMA Approved Inspectors maintain a high professional standard.


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