This month we bring you two questions, the first looks at the rules regarding splicing and the second discusses the various fixings used in securing base plates.

Correct Splicing Procedure

Q: Having recently attended the Rack Safety Awareness Course, I am currently carrying out an inspection of our racking. Several of the uprights have been spliced and I would welcome some guidance relating to this topic e.g.:

Are there rules relating to splicing? Should the splice be at the top or bottom of the upright or does it not matter?

A. Manufacturers of pallet racking all have specific splice requirements based on the actual design and structural performance of their splice and the upright. There are no industry rules on the number of bolts or any other specific design requirements; there are only general requirements that the splice must be structurally acceptable.

If the splice design relies on end bearing between the upper and lower uprights (which mostly it does) then there will be a requirement for the quality and location of the end cut to be of a suitable standard to ensure that the uprights transfer load in bearing as designed.

You should contact the manufacturer of your racking, or their agent, and ensure that the appropriate splicing procedure is carried out.

The Fixing of Base plates

Q: Our uprights have base plates that have holes on either side of the upright, having fixings for either side.

We are aware that sometimes it is acceptable to have a bolt on just one side even though this does have a negative effect on the capacity of the rack. If just one bolt is required, is it better to have the bolt applied on a specific side?

Is it acceptable not to have any bolts to fix the racking to the floor? If so, what effect does this have on rack capacity? If this is not acceptable should the racking be classed as fit for use?

Is it not best practice to have bolts on either side?

Lastly, are there any requirements for the people fixing the bolts to have any specific training/qualifications with regard to rack awareness?

A. There are base plates on the market with two or more holes that can be used for holding down bolts. In some instances when using these base plates only one holding down bolt is structurally required. Often the extra holes are included to allow some flexibility if a reinforcing bar is discovered in the floor when attempting to drill the holes.

There is no specific side for the bolt to be connected. Sometimes, when there are a number of holes, the manufacturer will specify the preferred holes to be used. This is more likely to be a function of the distance from the hole to the upright than a particular side.

All racking serviced by mechanical handling equipment must at least have the perimeter uprights fixed to the floor.

The fixing recommendations are split into three categories:

Height to Width Ration not greater than 6 to 1

– Single Entry Racks – all uprights must be fixed down

– Double Entry Racks – all perimeter uprights must be fixed

Height to Width Ratio greater than 6 to 1, less than 10 to 1

– Single Entry Racks – all uprights must be fixed down

– Double Entry Racks – all uprights must be fixed down

Height to Width Ratio greater than 10 to 1, less than 20 to 1

– Single Entry Racks – all uprights must be fixed down. Additionally all single entry frames must be connected to an adjacent double entry rack with top ties.

– Double Entry Racks – all uprights must be fixed down

Single entry frame with a height to width ratio greater than 20 to 1 must be specially designed by the manufacturer as must double entry frames with a height to width ratio greater than 10 to 1.

A rack height to width ratio is defined as:

Single Entry Racks – the height to the top beam level divided by the frame width, i.e. overall height 6980mm and a frame width of 1200mm, gives a height to width ratio of 5.82.

Double Entry Racks – with Frame Spacers fitted as required, the height to the top beam level and the width is two frames plus the space between them, i.e. height to top beam 11830mm, frame width 800mm and space 250mm, gives a height to width ratio of 6.39.

If the racking is serviced by mechanical handling equipment and is not fixed to the floor it is unlikely to be fit for use.

One bolt or two bolt base plate fixings are both acceptable depending on the design and neither can be considered as best practice compared to the other. Some Users of racking actually prefer the one bolt base plate fixing due to the added twisting flexibility of the upright.

In answer to your final question – Yes, it is important the people fixing the bolts are competent to carry out the task, i.e. it is important they are aware of the importance of cleaning the drilled hole, etc. It is believed the fixing manufacturers can give more precise details of the training required to be competent to install their fixings. Sometimes this can be provided ‘on site.’

Sema   Tel: 0121 601 6350

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