This month we bring you two enquiries, the first concerning what should be included in Rack inspections and then a question regarding Certification after a completed inspection.

What should be included in a Rack Inspection?

Q I am familiarising myself with racking/shelving regulations. After reading the HSE Warehouse and Storage booklet, I would welcome your assistance in clarifying the following.  Could you possibly let me have some idea what you would expect to be recorded on a racking inspection document? The HSE document refers to a “person responsible for racking safety”, who would carry out these inspections and keep records. Do you have an example that I could look at?

A. The publications that will do most to help you are the SEMA Guide to the Conduct of Pallet Racking and Shelving Surveys together with the SEMA Code of Practice for the Use of Static Pallet Racking. However while these have some of the information you require it is spread about a bit.

We would suggest the best way of familiarising yourself with the requirements would be to attend one of the SEMA one day courses on ‘Rack Safety Awareness’ which pulls all this together from the point of view of someone who has to carry out regular internal racking inspections. This covers what to look for, how to classify it into red amber or green categories and how to record it. As an individual you can attend one of these courses which are held at the SEMA HQ or alternatively SEMA can bring the course to you at your premises. The latter may be preferable if you have 6 or more people who would benefit from this training and it can then be held on a day that suits your organisation together with a practical session in looking at your own stores and ensuring that the items talked about are being correctly interpreted by those attending.

Certification of Warehouse Racking

Q. Is warehouse racking required to have an inspection certificate? I understand it should be checked under PUWER & H&S, but is there an actual certificate stating it has been checked with the next inspection due, or is proof of inspection by a competent person enough.

A. There is not as far as we are aware any requirement to provide a certificate of inspection on the racking and we confirm that this is generally not done in the industry. We have noted that a number of companies have adapted the ‘tag’ system sometimes used on scaffolds for a racking application and we would guess that it might be this product that has been perhaps rather too enthusiastically marketed.

Rack inspection itself is good practice and we would refer you to the Health and Safety Executive publication HSG76 (Warehousing and Storage – a guide to health and safety) for current thinking on good practice. This document is available as a free download from the HSE web site or can be bought from HSE books in Sudbury in Suffolk. The information given in this reflects the SEMA more detailed recommendations and nowhere is there a requirement to place a certificate of inspection on the racking though of course there is such a requirement for scaffolding.

We agree with you that proof of an inspection by a competent person should be enough to satisfy requirements of good practice, however any company is free to do more than this if it wishes to do so and if a particular company wishes to adopt a certificate format with a date on it for re-inspection then there is nothing preventing them from doing this.

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.

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