Our first question this month enquires if it is possible to stack two pallets in one location and the second asks if you need extra floor fixing if the uprights are twisting.

2 Pallets Stacked in One Location

Q. Is it an acceptable code of practice to have 2 pallets stacked & wrapped on top of one another and placed in one pallet location on the top shelf of racking? Our racking is about 18ft tall, the weight of the combined load is not a problem (800kg), it is within the racking’s load capacity.

Both loads are packed and weigh the same. Or is it recommended that only one pallet should be used per pallet space? We’ve only considered this due to a lack of pallet storage from time to time.

A. We think you have pretty much answered your own question in that the weight of the two pallets is acceptable and also, they are stacked and wrapped on top of each other so stability should not be a problem either.

We would add into that mixture ‘operator familiarisation with what is going on’ lest anyone is tempted to insert forks into the top pallet and lift it off the bottom one when only a single pallet is required for picking. The lower pallet might also be lifted in this situation due to the wrapping!

Operators should understand that removing the pair in order to separate them on the floor is safer than trying to split two pallets at a height. If a formal risk assessment and method statement is prepared this should be clear, however it is human nature to try to find an easier faster way which might turn out to not be the safest!

There is no strict rule about double pallet stacking which usually depends on the strength of the load on the bottom pallet being sufficient to carry the pallet above without damaging the goods concerned. Again it all boils down to your risk assessment and method statement.

Twisting of Uprights

Q. We have a number of twisted Redirack uprights with two holes in the Base plates, which are currently only secured using one fixing. The twist in the uprights is only slighty less than 10%.

As a precaution would it be wise to fix the other side on the Base plate to avoid a further twisting of uprights?

Is there any literature regarding floor fixings and how many to use for any future installations please?

A. First of all, I doubt you will get any meaningful information regarding Redirack as they went into liquidation some years ago and any information on ‘old’ product is unlikely to be warranted by the present owners of that product name. Any information could be very misleading.

The number of floor fixings required depends on the designer, who can design his uprights as having a pinned base (single fixing) or can take some advantage of base fixity which two or more fixings gives. Without reverse engineering the complete design it is impossible to state what has been done here and this would be very expensive.

Adding an extra fixing to your single fixed uprights is unlikely to be detrimental to your rack’s carrying capacity and as a bonus it will prevent the twisting problem you describe. Be aware however that the force that caused the twisting in the first place will not go away and as the upright will not twist away from the force it might show itself in a different manner (green risk or worse damage to the upright perhaps).

We would suggest trying it on a limited number of uprights and monitoring them for a period to see how things work out.

The 2018 SEMA Annual Safety Conference has been scheduled for Thursday, 1 November; the venue will be the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull. For details email: enquiry@sema.org.uk

SEMA Technical Enquiries: If you have a query send it to us and we will do our best to have it answered by one of our technical experts.

SEMA runs a one-day safety course on Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection. These courses are 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 is aimed at professionals who conduct rack surveys as an integral and significant part of their duties. It involves delegates in undertaking an in-depth 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 has 26 publications in stock – Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Offices. For further information on these documents contact SEMA or visit our website, www.sema.org.uk. and click on ‘Codes of Practice’.

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.