Two questions this month, the first on the best way to dismantle and erect racking, the second looks at the difference between racking and shelving

The correct procedure when dismantling and erecting racking

Q. We wish to move some racking from one warehouse to another and intend to manage this ourselves. Can you please give us some guidance on the regulations relating to this task?

A. The major factor relating to your intention to dismantle, move and re-erect this racking is whether or not your manpower has the technical competence to carry out the task.

The safe dismantling and installing of racking requires a certain knowledge and skill. SEMA run a number of courses for this type of work as part of the SEIRS initiative. SEIRS is the Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme and is primarily intended to instruct installers in the safe installation of racking etc. Whilst the SEIRS scheme is aimed at companies and personnel who install storage equipment as part or all of their business it could be used to demonstrate competence in the techniques involved in dismantling and installing racking.

You should also be aware that the load carrying capacity of your racking is affected by (amongst other things):

The installation tolerances achieved

The configuration

Any damage to the racking components.

SEMA produce a number of guides and these give information with respect to the above subjects. The SEMA Users Code and Guideline number 2 (erection tolerances) will provide some useful information. Once you have correctly installed the racking you should fit load notices to it. Amongst other things these provide information of the safe load carrying capacity of the racking. This information is particular to the type (manufacturer) of racking and the configuration. In order to ascertain the correct loads you may have to approach the original manufacturer or use the services of a specialist who will provide this information to you.

You should also be aware that dismantling and re-erecting the racking could be covered by the requirements of the Construction, Design and Management Regulations. If so you will need to appoint the various duty holders and carry out the actions required by these regulations. In this regard you should seek the advice of a Health and Safety professional.

The difference between shelving and racking

Q. How do you identify what storage systems should be classed as ‘racking’ and what should be classed as ‘shelving’?

A. The main difference between racking and shelving is that with shelving the placement of goods into the system and the retrieval from the system is generally by hand, while with racking the placement and retrieval generally relates to unit loads and is carried out by the use of mechanical equipment.

For this reason racking is usually constructed from much more substantial sections than shelving as it has to support more substantial loading and also might be expected to be subject to minor accidental impact damage by aisle equipment from time to time.

Having said the above there are grey areas between the two types with various designs of long span shelving that try to bridge the gap between the two requirements. Indeed there are instances where pallet racking components are used for shelving applications, but it is not normal for this to occur the other way round.

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 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.


Tel: 0121 601 6350

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