Our first question this month asks about Added Weight and our second is about Brace Replacement.

Added Weight

Q. At present we are re-designing the layout of our Racking system, and we interested in manufacturing some skid channels to support our metal pallets. Do we need to have these weight tested and certificated and could you recommend a company that could do this?

A. Racking is considered to be work equipment and, therefore, parts of it such as skid channels etc. are covered by the general requirements of the Provisions of Work Equipment Regulations as we understand it. If you were selling these items you would have a responsibility as a supplier to tell the user how to use them safely which means that, amongst other things, you would have to declare a safe working load (SWL) with an adequate factor of safety. If you were using these internally then the need to formally test and declare a SWL does not exist in the same way; however, you still have a duty of care to your own personnel, so asking your personnel to work with equipment where the safe carrying capacity is not known is unacceptable.

There are some organisations who will undertake tests to destruction and, similarly, there are some organisations that may be able to provide structural design services to determine the capacity of the skid channels. You can, if you wish, find some names of companies who will carry out this work on the SEMA website www.sema.org.uk.

Brace replacement

Q. Is it a safe and acceptable procedure to change the bottom horizontal brace on a rack (6 levels high) whilst the rack is loaded?

A. There is no definitive reply that can be given to your question regarding bracing replacement as the answer depends on a number of factors which are specific to the racking manufacturer, the installation, the actual frame and the reason for changing the bracing member.

A risk assessment by a competent person is required to determine whether the bracing member can be changed safely without unloading a rack. This assessment should take into account all the hazards present which may include, but are not limited to, the following:

– is the bracing bolted or welded to the upright?

– are the base plates bolted to the floor slab?

– is there a possibility of any loads falling from above the working area?

– is there a possibility, due to the damage to the bracing or the loading on the frame, of any movement of the uprights when the horizontal is removed?

– could the ongoing operations in the warehouse have any effect on the racking and loads in the vicinity of the maintenance work?

– is it possible to fit the new brace whilst the rack is loaded?

– is there a possibility of any sort of structural instability happening as a result of removing the brace?

The risk assessment should be specific to the circumstances of the particular location and should include the particular maintenance requirements of the manufacturer which may prohibit the maintenance of the loaded racking.

SEMA Annual Safety Conference 2019 – a date for your diary

The 2019 SEMA Safety Conference has been scheduled for Thursday, 31 October; the venue will be the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull. For full details and a booking form contact SEMA at enquiry@sema.org.uk

SEMA Technical Enquiries

We hope you find the above articles, and those in previous editions, interesting. 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 Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection Courses

SEMA runs a one-day safety course on Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection. These courses are aimed at end users, giving an in-depth look at the need for inspections, how to conduct an assessment and what actions to take when this is completed. These courses are normally held at the SEMA headquarters but arrangements can be made to hold them at the delegates’ premises.

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. CPD will be an important part of the qualification, demonstrating to end users that SEMA Approved Inspectors maintain a high professional standard.

SEMA Publications

SEMA has 26 publications in stock – Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Offices. For further information contact SEMA or visit our website. 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.


w: www.sema.org.uk