Our first question this month is looking for guidance with relation to racking tunnels, then we have a question regarding the use of a cage with an FLT and work at height restrictions and finally how best to secure a three holed base plate with only one bolt?

A guide for racking tunnels

Q. Have you any guide lines for racking tunnels

A. As far as racking tunnels are concerned, it really comes down to your specific risk assessment. It might be good practice to fit under guarding to tunnel beams to prevent small objects falling from pallets into the tunnel area. In other situations the larger risk could be fork truck impact on the overhead beams, which may be caused by an incorrect driving technique, such as moving with the forks elevated. Despite the best training measures these things do occur from time to time. There is also an argument that says that preventative measures such as fitting suspended overhead bars prior to a tunnel can encourage bad driving practice. Unfortunately there is no single answer to your question and you will need to look closely at the particular circumstances in your warehouse, conduct your assessment and make any decisions accordingly.

Caged maintenance

Q. Can you still use a FLT with cage for routine maintenance (bearing in mind the current work at height regulations?)

A. Detail guidance on use of cages can be found in HSE document PM28 which is a free download from the HSE web site. HSE have confirmed to SEMA in discussions that cages on fork lift trucks can be used for rack maintenance purposes as this comes under the category of unplanned activities or non- scheduled maintenance as it is not known which upright, beam, etc., will be damaged and be in need of replacement. In some circumstances a cage on a fork lift truck would be the most appropriate and safest way of carrying out the work and HSE would not wish to prevent this. Again however if it was easier and safer to use other equipment such as a scissor lift then this should be used. It again comes down to the specific risk assessment.

We would add a word of caution on this one however relating to high performance trucks that can lift higher than ever before. Communication between driver on the ground and repair team aloft in the cage is critical for safe operation. This issue should be carefully considered as part of the risk assessment and for some of the higher racks we are seeing nowadays this technique may not be appropriate.

Three base plate holes, but only one bolt.

Q. Please advise how many bolts should be fitted into an upright base plate when the base plate has the facility of accommodating three floor fixing bolts.

Currently most of the racking is erected back to back, 4 bays high and 14 double pallet bays long with each upright having only one bolt holding them in place.

Also is there a recommended torque setting for the tightness of the base plate securing bolt(s).

A. Firstly check the front face of the upright and you may find the name of the racking supplier hard stamped into the metal at various locations between the shaped holes that take the beam connectors.

If the supplier recommends using only a single bolt as some do, the remaining holes would be there to provide you with further locations that can be tried in the event that you encounter a reinforcing bar when drilling into the floor, allowing you to secure the plate without having to incline the drill in order to miss the bar. There are also alternative heavy duty foot plates available from some manufacturers; some of these will have 3 holes on each side of the upright, with a recommendation that 2 bolts be fitted one to either side of the upright. The heavy duty, two fixing version gives slightly more carrying capacity to the upright and would be part of a rack designers toolkit available to allow him to produce the most economical design for the application.

As far as we know there is no general specific torque setting for use with these bolts as this would be likely to vary between bolt suppliers, and for the kind of rack you describe where heavy duty baseplates are being used we would recommend manufacturer’s recommendations are followed.

SEMA is delighted to be working with WLN on the storage Question and Answer Column which is published on a monthly basis.

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 interesting. If you have a query send it to us by 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.


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 more info, www.sema.org.uk

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