The first question this month looks at Cantilever Racking and its inspection and the second considers what is involved in a standard Load notice.
Inspection of cantilever racking
Q: I am a health and safety inspector working for a local authority. I recently inspected a commercial warehouse which included installations of both static pallet and cantilever racking. The company is conducting racking inspections and has trained employees to carry this out. However when I asked whether this training had covered inspection of cantilever racking, as well as pallet racking, they were unsure (and the employee was not there to clarify).
Presumably the tolerances, etc. will vary considerably from that of pallet racking. However I am not aware of any published guidance or codes of practice relating to surveying of cantilever racking, or indeed of any training in how to carry out the survey, and I was therefore wondering if SEMA could confirm whether or not there are any, and if so, point me in the right direction.
A. The relevant SEMA training courses, which are the one-day ‘Rack Awareness’ course and the 4-day SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors course, both spend some time on Cantilever Racking as part of the syllabus though of course they are aimed specifically at Adjustable Pallet Racking. Inspectors are encouraged to adapt the advice provided for pallet racking to cantilever and to use judgement as to what is reasonable in the circumstances. As yet, SEMA have not produced a specific inspection standard for Cantilever or indeed for Drive-In racking or other types of specialist racking – they are all on our ‘to-do’ list and progress is being made on Cantilever.
The main problem is that some cantilever racks will be manufactured from hot rolled structural steel sections more normally used in the construction of buildings while other systems are manufactured from thin gauge folded sections more akin to pallet racking. Both of these types of racking are capable of carrying the loads imposed upon them – however they have different characteristics.
Interestingly both design types will have the same factor of safety against collapse so that the instinctive reaction of suggesting that the structural steel type will accommodate more abuse and should therefore have a higher allowable amount of damage may be a little counter intuitive. Research tests have been carried out on the damage levels specified for the Amber and Red categories for Pallet Racking which indicates a good correlation with what we are doing. However the same research is not available for cantilever racking so we have not been able to provide the same level of guidance at the present time.
Most experienced pallet Racking Inspectors will have carried out inspections on Cantilever from time to time and are able to cope with the guidance in the form we present it with very few problems reported back.
We accept that the guidance given could be improved. However there are other issues also needing attention and we are afraid that priorities have to be laid down in the face of finite resources.
What’s in a typical load notice?
Q: Could you please advise the required content of a typical load notice for Static Pallet Racking?
When was the requirement for stating the actual beam level heights introduced to the load notification?
We have installations showing the max bay loading and max UDL loading per level but no beam height level ref? Is this still acceptable?
A. The new style signs were introduced in 2004 however the changes are not retrospective. We would suggest you continue to use your current signs until it is necessary to change them due to a change of rack configuration or alternatively until the signs become so damaged such that they need changing anyway.
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 Tel: 0121 601 6350 www.sema.org.uk