sema-logoThis month we bring you two enquiries, the first regarding the inspection of High Bay Racking and secondly a question on the correct loading of racking.

A Question about Racking Inspection

Q. Should Racking be inspected on an annual basis. The racking we have was installed by the company’s own employees and has been in place for many years and not been inspected.

Could you please offer guidance? The racking is 10 metres high, is loaded by forklift truck and there are some signs of damage to the racking.

A. Your racking is considered to be work equipment under PUWER and as such it has to be examined regularly and maintained in good working order so that it is not a danger to those of your staff who are obliged to work with and around it.

If this racking has been installed by your own employees then you need to consider first of all if it has been installed correctly and then secondly if there has been any damage to the structure caused perhaps by accidental impact from fork lift trucks. If the racking has been there for some time it is hoped your employees were trained in this work and that installation has been done correctly however we wonder if there are any safe warning load notices on the racking and if so whether they relate to this present installation or perhaps the racking in a previous configuration.

SEMA recommend that inspections are carried out on the ‘onion skin’ principal with several levels of inspection. The first level should be an inspection by the operative in the warehouse who should be encouraged to report damage on a daily basis either caused by, or as observed during work. This has to be handled carefully as, if disciplinary action is taken as a result, nothing will ever be reported. Also if nothing is done as a result of such reporting then nothing will be reported either.

The second level of inspection is a weekly check carried out as part of a supervisor’s patrol inspection of the warehouse. This should be documented and actions identified as necessary should be carried out. The final level of check is the ‘Competent-Person’ inspection which might be carried out at 6 monthly or yearly intervals depending upon the level of activity and damage occurring in the warehouse.

This inspection should be carried out by the ‘competent-person’ who has a need to demonstrate by means of his training and experience that he has the skill and knowledge to carry out this work. A SEMA SARI racking inspector has undergone substantial training and passed very challenging theoretical examinations and practical tests so are able to demonstrate competence in this manner.  People are allowed to demonstrate their competence in other ways however and there is no monopoly on having SARI qualifications though the SARI scheme is seen as a relevant high level qualification.

Finally if your racking has not been inspected for many years we would suggest that an urgent competent person inspection is in order. You will find a variety of names and companies of SARI Inspectors on the SEMA web site so you should be able to find a suitable one fairly local to your organisation.

Loading of Racking

Q. Could you give me some advice on the loading of racking? Am I correct in saying that the design of the racking is to fit with the design of pallets, to enable the pallet blocks to take the weight against the racking beams and not the pallet struts taking the weight on the racking beams.

A. Yes, you are correct that the pallet blocks should be supported by the pallet racking beams and it is not acceptable to have the load supported by the bottom boards of the pallet.

Appendix II of the SEMA Code of Practice for the Use of Static Pallet Racking gives some industry guidance on recommended frame dimensions required for particular pallet sizes.

For instance with a four way entry 1200 x 1000 pallet being stored with its 1200 side facing the aisle and the 1000 face spanning the beams of the racking this would require a 900 end frame to support it. This would in effect mean that it was designed to have 50mm overhang over the front and back beams in its optimum position and ensure that all corner blocks were supported adequately. If the pallet is accidentally placed such that the front face of the pallet is flush with the front beam (which is probably the worst positioning that can normally be achieved) then this will mean that there is a 100mm overhang at the rear though the corner block with most reputable pallets will be large enough that this will still be supported on the racking beam.

We hope that this advice is of help and if you need further information we would commend the SEMA Code of Practice on the Use of Pallet Racking as a very useful document.

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.

storage equipment manufacturers’ association   Tel: 0121 601 6350


  1. Jason Warren

    Can you please advise. We have a variety of racking on site that has no max loads displayed on it. The racks appear to be in good condition. Is there a simple but recognised way to establish the loadings of racking or does it require professional advise. I was wondering if there was a website listing different styles of rack with recommended loadings

  2. sean cooley

    is there a course on how to errect cantilever racking,

  3. Lee Chrisp

    Can you please advise . We perform monthly in house rack inspections and have yearly verticality inspections on our standard static warehouse racking (Dexion) can you tell me what the Sema out of plumb tolerence is.
    In house we have a 1/240 calculation depending on height so my racks are 7500mm / 240 = tolerence of 31.25mm , is this anywhere near the sema regs or are we at risk ?

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