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This month we look at moving racking to a new location and what you need to take into consideration when doing this. Our second query asks about the merits of an inspection test after a pallet racking install.

Moving Racking, What to look out for

Q. I am looking to have some 5.5mt x 1100mm racking moved. Could you please tell me if there is a minimum distance from the roof, lighting or walls.

A. You should always have sufficient clear distance between the pallets being placed on the racking and any obstructions such as walls, roof or lighting and there should be a defined minimum clearance for the safe operation of the storage system.

This defined minimum clearance depends on the specific method of operation in the warehouse and it is also important that an allowance is made for the location and movement of the obstruction or load including:-

• The build tolerance and possible movement of the racking system under load

• The tolerance in the placement location of the load on the racking and while being deposited or retrieved.

• The tolerance of the size of the loads being placed and any possible movement of the load when stored.

• The tolerance of the location of the obstruction and possible movement of the obstruction

• Often during repositioning of racking the opportunity of reconfiguration of beam levels is also taken. If this is the case then revised carrying capacities will likely be generated and new load signs need to be available to tell operators how to use the repositioned racking safely

Companies have a general duty of care to their employees who will work in and around the racking and should ensure that any alterations or movement of the racking is considered and carried out by competent people who will leave a stable structure suitable for purpose after any alterations have taken place.

SEMA would recommend that the work was carried out by suitably trained installers as errors in the installation can lead to a dangerous racking.

Often a specialised racking contractor would wish to demonstrate his competence by a qualification such as the SEIRS (Storage Equipment Installers Registrations Scheme) operated by SEMA. This would be seen as good practice and the scheme is supported by the HSE. However, it is open to anyone to demonstrate competence by other means if they so wish.

Pallet racking post erection testing

Q. I am looking for information regarding the erection of pallet racking, specifically as to the requirements to load test the racking after erection.

A. It is not normal to load test pallet racking following installation on safety grounds. If a rack failed under test then the load it was carrying would be released and this could be very dangerous to anyone in the vicinity as well as potentially being very costly in terms of damage to any equipment in the immediate area.

Normally skilled installers (SEIRS qualified), would be used to build the racking to SEMA standards and the supplier would calculate a load carrying capacity based on manufacturer’s load tables which he would then underwrite. This safe load information would be presented in a standard SEMA format as a notice that would be attached to the end of the run of racking. The provider of the rack has a responsibility to provide sufficient information to allow the operatives to use the rack safely and provision of a load sign is one of the easiest ways of achieving this requirement.

Load tests are only used if there are problems in perhaps identifying the original manufacturer of the racking and therefore load table are not available. They are usually expensive to carry out due to the risks mentioned above and in such circumstances testing of rack components in a laboratory is a more normal approach followed by mathematical modelling of the rack to arrive at a safe carrying capacity. This is also expensive though it cuts out the risks on site.

SEMA is delighted to be working with WLN on the storage Question and Answer Column which is published in WLN on a monthly basis. On the WLN website is a list of previously published columns which we hope you find useful.

Please note that SEMA Users Club members also have access to a comprehensive range of additional storage related questions and answers.

SEMA Annual Safety Conference 2012 – a date for your diary

The 2012 SEMA Safety Conference has been scheduled for Thursday,1 November, the venue will be the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull.

For full details and a booking form contact SEMA on enquiry@sema.org.uk

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 has 26 publications in stock – Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Offices. For further information on these documents contact SEMA or visit our website, www.sema.org.uk. and click on ‘Codes of Practice’.

SEMA USERS Club

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.

For more info, www.sema.org.uk

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