sema-logoThis month we bring you enquiries and answers on how to obtain information on the Safe Working Load of older types of racking and who should reinstall existing racking.

Finding the swl of discontinued or obsolete racking

Q. What is the best way to find the SWL for some static racking of which there is no remaining documentation or advice available from the manufacturer due to the age of racking, and is there a recommended calculation of how to identify SWL or some guidance?

A. Generally the process to calculate a safe working load on racking of unknown manufacture is expensive as this involves practical testing followed by some fairly sophisticated calculation processes. This can be worth doing if there is a large quantity of racking involved however normally it is cheaper and more cost effective to replace the racking with something more up to date where current load tables are available.

Sometimes it is possible to identify the original manufacturer of the product and if this is the case there may be some specialists around who have original load tables for that product and who are prepared to provide load information for you. However if you do this please take steps to ensure the credibility of those third parties.

The first step down this road is to identify the manufacturer and while we note that you have no documentation SMEA can sometimes help in this. If you can send us a couple of digital photographs of the product – including close-ups of the beam to upright joint we may be able to help with the identification.

SEMA do not make a charge for this service so it is probably a sensible first step before deciding to commit you to other more expensive solutions.

Reinstalling of existing racking

Q. If we wish to move some fixed pallet racking and re-install it elsewhere on site, do we need this task to be completed by a specialist racking contractor?

Could you also let me know the law or a code of practice which covers your answer?

A. As far as we are aware it is only medicine and law which are protected professions in the UK and anything else can be carried out by someone who can adequately demonstrate their competence.

Often a specialised racking contractor would wish to demonstrate his competence by a qualification such as the SEIRS (Storage Equipment Installers Registrations Scheme) operated by SMEA. This would be seen as good practice and the scheme has been endorsed by the HSE howevere it is open to anyone to demonstrate competence by other means if they so wish.

It is open to any client to employ who they wish to build their racking. However they do have a general duty of care to their employees who will work in and around the racking to ensure that any alterations or movement of the racking is carried out by competent people who will leave a stable structure suitable for purpose after any alterations have taken place.

The SEIRS training courses are open to anyone, though the level of course would depend on the experience of the individual and if you would like more information on these please contact the SEMA office.

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 by fax or email 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 publishes a number of documents including Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Office. For further information on these documents 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. For further information contact SEMA.

Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association   Tel: 0121 601 6350

Comments are closed.

Get Warehouse & Logistics News delivered to your inbox for FREE
Join over 45k subscribers