Our first question this month asks about Pallet Restrictions and our second is enquiring about the Inspection of new racking.

Euro Pallet Restriction?

Q. Do you know of any restrictions or legal implications when putting Euro pallets on to 1200mm wide racking? We have spoken to HSE and they have stated as far as they are concerned there are no restrictions.

A. Assuming you are using standard 800 x 1200 euro pallets located with the 800 face to the aisle the SEMA recommendations are that for a pallet supported in the 1200 direction the pallet racking end frame should be 1100. This will allow a 50 overhang of the pallet at front and back support beams and should be sufficient for a trained operator to place the pallet successfully.

A standard 800 x 1200 euro pallet has bottom boards in the 1200 direction but not in the 800 direction. Presumably it is not relevant here as the frame width exceeds 800 but if the pallets are located such that the 1200 face is to the aisle then there is no bottom board spanning between the support beams and this is a problem.

If you are using 1200 frames to support 1200 pallets then the operators will have to place the pallets flush with the front face of the rack to ensure that the pallet is located on the back beam. Pallets themselves have a manufacturing tolerance so if the pallet is placed flush with the front beam but is undersize the bearing on the rear beam will be reduced. If the pallet overhangs the front beam by, say, 15 due to placement inaccuracy you could find the rear of the pallet is inadequately supported.

If this is the case you would appear to have three options. The first would be to have the frame depth changed which would involve stripping down the racking and substituting replacement frame bracing to give you a 1100 frame as recommended. The second option would be to provide pallet support bars spanning between front and back beams located under the bottom boards of each pallet. The third option would be to provide decking to the beams. Both options one and two would in effect prevent the pallet from falling off the rear beam and would have the advantage that stripping down the racking would not be necessary.

Most racking suppliers can provide suitable accessories as part of their standard range to allow varying sized pallets to be accommodated.

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. Racking should only be installed by competent people in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. A programme of installation training is run under SEMA’s Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme (SEIRS).

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 manufacturer’s 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 Racking 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 of 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 2019 SEMA Safety Conference has been scheduled for Thursday, 31 October; the venue will be the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull.

If you have a query send it to us and we will do our best to have it answered by one of our 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: This 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.

SEMA has 26 publications in stock – Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents. 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.