Our first question this month asks about Sacrificial Legs whilst our second is enquiring on Horizontal Beam distances.

Sacrificial Legs

Q. I have been asked whether it is possible to retro-fit sacrificial legs to existing uprights in order to replace damaged sections near the feet. The existing uprights do not currently have sacrificial legs – in short, can we cut-off the “bad” section and replace this with a sacrificial section?

A. It can be done with great care, and even then there is often something that goes wrong in the process! It also depends on your rack type, whether you are using the official ‘sacrificial leg,’ or merely a low level ‘splice’ that some use for economy. Usually the cheaper the solution the more difficult the task!

If you purchase a replacement upright with sacrificial leg already fitted then it is a much simpler operation to replace the damaged sacrificial length in the event of subsequent damage.

Either way we would recommend you seek advice from your rack supplier whom you will need to approach for components, and then follow their advice to the letter!

Horizontal Beam Distance

Q. Is there a standard practise/distance required for the levels of horizontal beams used on pallet racking? Or can these be in situ at varying heights down to the user’s digression? (Provided they are inspected etc.)

A. Adjustable pallet racking is just that, very adjustable, like big boys Meccano; however in each different configuration it will have a different carrying capacity! It is not possible therefore to place beams at the users’ whim without consulting either the original supplier or a specialist rack inspector who might be able to calculate a new carrying capacity after adjustments to suite site requirements have been made. Some time ago the military tried to try to simplify matters by declaring a 1 tonne capacity per pair of beams for instance; however this is not strictly accurate as this capacity can change depending if it is used with a heavy duty upright or a light duty one! Each case has to be considered individually depending on the duty of the upright and the distance from the floor to the beam. Crudely if you lift a beam further up the upright and leave a more slender upright section then the capacity of the upright will likely fall and if you lower the beam the capacity will likely increase slightly.

It is very complex and there is no simple way that the new capacity can be calculated on site. We recommend you contact your supplier giving details of the required new profile of the rack and they will calculate a new load capacity for you and probably offer you a revised load notice to attach to the rack accordingly.

Unfortunately they normally charge for this service.

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. It involves delegates in undertaking an indepth SEMA Course, together with an examination and practical assessment. CPD will be an important part of the qualification, demonstrating to end users that SEMA Approved Inspectors maintain a high professional standard.


SEMA runs a USERS Club designed to be of benefit to purchasers and users of storage equipment. Members receive newsletters, access to specialised events and discounted rates on publications and codes of practice.