Within the following article it is our aim to assist “users” of storage equipment to understand their duties and obligations under current health and safety laws and how to access the information and solutions available to assist with these requirements.
Simon Lee, Director of The Rack Group spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
WLN – What is pallet racking?
The Health and Safety Executives HSG76 Warehouse and Storage publication describes it as a “skeletal framework, of fixed or adjustable design, to support loads generally without the use of shelves”.
The European Standard document EN15635 Steel Static Storage Systems – Application and maintenance of storage equipment identifies pallet racking as a “steel work structure consisting of frames and beams which are adjustable in height, specifically designed to support load make up accessories and unit loads”.
In layman’s terms, pallet racking in its simplest form is work equipment which can vary in height, width, depth and load bearing capacity and is designed to carry pallets placed within its structure in many cases by means of a fork lift truck.
WLN – Which legislation covers the use of storage equipment?
Industrial storage equipment is classed as work equipment, and therefore pallet racking falls directly within the remit of The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 which places a duty on both the supplier and the users of the equipment to ensure it remains suitable for the purpose it is intended.
Regulation 5: Requires any work equipment to be properly and adequately maintained.
Regulation 6: Requires any work equipment to be inspected if the safe use of it can be affected through daily use and the findings of that inspection are recorded.
Regulation 7, 8 & 9: Concerns identified specific risks, information and instruction to employees and the training of employees.
The safe use of pallet racking is also covered by many other sets of legislation as well as the above, for example The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to name but a few. But the principal set of legislation is The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The European Standard document EN15635 Steel Static Storage Systems – Application and maintenance of storage equipment, has been published to assist users of pallet racking to conform within these requirements.
The Rack Group Ltd offer a cost effective and thorough inspection service which is based on EU standards. Carried out by a team of inspectors who all have accredited training specifically for racking inspections. For more information on our industry leading inspection service contact our inspection team on 01226 784 488 or email email@example.com
WLN – How frequently should storage equipment be inspected?
Document EN15635 Steel Static Storage Systems – Application and maintenance of storage equipment, states that the storage equipment “user” holds the responsibility for the safety of all persons working in the vicinity of the equipment and for the safe working condition of the equipment in use.
It also suggests that the safety in use of storage equipment serviced by fork lift trucks or other material handling equipment requires the application of risk analysis techniques.
Therefore, EN15635 recommends that the Person Responsible for Storage Equipment Safety (PRSES) shall carry out a visual inspection of the pallet racking on a weekly basis or other regular intervals based on the findings of the risk assessment.
All safety problems or damage observed by any person working with or around the storage equipment should also be reported immediately to the PRSES.
To assist the PRSES and to ensure safety standards are audited, EN15635 also recommends that a technically competent person shall also carry out an inspection of the storage equipment at intervals of no more than 12 months and a written report be submitted to the PRSES following this inspection which outlines any observations and proposals for any action necessary.
Rack Training Ltd offer a wide variety of approved and accredited courses which are aimed at those working in and around a warehouse environment, including our new online E-Learning courses which gives delegates knowledge of pallet racking systems and how to keep them safe. To find out more contact Rack Training Ltd on 01226 784 494 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
WLN?- Who is a Person Responsible for Storage Equipment Safety (PRSES)?
The pallet racking “users” warehouse management team shall appoint a person with responsibility for maintaining the safe operation of the warehouse storage equipment in use and the name of that person will be publicised to the warehouse staff.
The PRSES shall be aware of the nature of the operations carried out within the warehouse environment, and the associated dangers identified within the risk assessments, as well as the precautions that are taken to prevent or limit the dangers, by means of technology, protection, reinforcement, information, instruction, training and supervision.
The appointment of a PRSES also helps organisations meet the requirements of Regulation 7 of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, whereby it requires employers to appoint one or more `competent persons` to assist them in interpreting and complying with all health and safety requirements, where the employer does not have the necessary training, experience or knowledge to carry out this duty themselves.
If you or an employee are interested in becoming the PRSES for your site, Rack Training Ltd offer an in-depth PRSES specific training course which gives you the knowledge and experience to spot and prevent potential damage to your pallet racking, contact Rack Training Ltd on 01226 784 494 or email email@example.com to find out more.
WLN – Which type of pallet racking is best suited for use within a fork lift truck environment?
Extensive testing has shown that the use of light or medium duty pallet racking is not advisable within an area with fork lift truck or mechanical handling equipment operating. This is due to it being easily damaged and presents the “user” of the equipment with hazards which need to be managed on a daily basis and can be avoided completely if planned correctly.
Using the suggested impact loads recommended for pallet racking upright protectors i.e. 200Nm and 400Nm, testing has shown that an unprotected upright can sustain the following damage:
Based on the above table heavy duty racking is the best suited equipment to use in a fork lift truck or mechanical handling equipment environment, as it is more resilient to impact damage and therefore reduces the foreseeable risks associated with its use.
The Rack Group Ltd have developed a planned maintenance service which saves you time and money on racking repair costs, whether it be a proactive or reactive basis, we have a proven and effective solution. To find out more about our maintenance packages contact us on 01226 784 488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WLN – If storage equipment is so prone to fork lift truck impact damage is there anything that can be done to help reduce the severity of the impact damage?
At the planning stage of any storage equipment project, the PRSES and the “users” warehouse management team must consider and specify requirements for the inclusion of collision protection and resistance to impact components be included at the earliest stage possible, failure to include them only leaves the “user” exposed to preventable risk.
Collision protection would normally be in the shape of upright protection guards and end frame barriers.
Resistance to impact components would normally be in the shape of “front upright reinforcement” sections or sacrificial legs as more commonly known.
The installation of both types of protection can be installed to existing pallet racking systems if required at a later date by reputable suppliers who will work with the customer to ensure that the safe carrying capacity of the equipment is maintained. The installation of this type of equipment will also help prevent future impact damage from occurring, and in turn help prolong the life cycle of the equipment whilst reducing maintenance costs significantly in the process.
Proven to reduce pallet racking damage by as much as 80%, Rack Armour utilises a ballistics grade HDPE shell and a soft foam inner diffuser, deflecting direct impacts and diffusing impact energy to protect your pallet racking. To find out more about Rack Armour visit www.rackarmour.com or contact us at email@example.com for your free sample.
WLN – What are front upright reinforcement sections?
Front upright reinforcement sections have been available from suppliers of storage equipment for many years and were designed to present “users” of pallet racking with additional security in cases of upright damage.
The front upright reinforcement section was designed to have a 600mm bottom sacrificial section which can absorb the accidental impact force without compromising the safe load bearing capacity of the frame. However, the reinforcement section can be used with or without the sacrificial section if required and has been tested to withstand over 600Nm low level impact forces without compromising the load bearing capacity.
Used in either of these ways the reinforcement section can significantly reduce the risk of a racking collapse if the front upright is damaged in the lower 600mm area most prone to fork lift truck or mechanical handling equipment impact damage.
If the reinforcement section is installed with a 600mm sacrificial piece then usually once installed there is sufficient safe load capacity within the frame to allow for the replacement of the sacrificial piece without the need to unload the racking first.
The Rack Group Ltd have a broad range of Front Upright Reinforcement Sections which have been tested and proven to give cost reductions of 80% on installation alone. To find out more about The Rack Groups Front Upright Reinforcement Sections and how they can save you time and money, contact us today on 01226 784 488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WLN – Is there a legal requirement for upright protectors to be installed in areas where fork lift trucks operate?
The short answer to this question sadly is no there is not. However, The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 do place a duty on the designers of storage equipment, to ensure “so far as is reasonably practicable” that their designs avoid foreseeable health and safety risks to anyone who is using the equipment.
Also The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 require that the work equipment be suitable for purpose.
You could ask the question then, why is it not a legal requirement to supply pallet racking which is to be used in an MHE environment fitted with all of the protection and reinforcement sections available on the market to prevent impact damage? As it would be reasonable to say that the likelihood of impact damage occurring would be “reasonably practical” to assume?
The cost implications of a damaged upright are astronomical whilst comparing the price of installing a Rack Armour guard. To get your free sample of a Rack Armour guard please contact us on 01226 784 488 or email email@example.com.
WLN – From an employer’s point of view, what sort of information, instruction, training and supervision should be provided to operatives working with or around storage equipment?
Where the use of the equipment involves a specific risk to the health and safety of employees, the use of the equipment must be restricted to competent and specified workers.
Employees must be provided with information, instruction, training and supervision which cover the safe use of the equipment, any hazards identified within the risk assessment and the preventative and control measures in place to manage them. This can be covered in induction training sessions, tool box talks, in-house and external training programs or accredited NVQ/QCF qualifications.
Ultimately the PRSES will be the person who will monitor, develop and distribute the required information, instruction and training within the organisation. The PRSES will also work closely with the suppliers of the equipment, the specialised maintenance and inspection companies, trade associations and other governing bodies in order to gather the information and advice required.
Rack Training Ltd offers a wide variety of courses aimed at individuals and teams working in and around a warehouse environment. To find out more or to discuss a course in more detail please contact us on 01226 784 494 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WLN – What is the best way to reduce my pallet racking damage levels and increase general warehouse safety?
Combining the key areas of The Rack Group’s existing offering has allowed us to create a management system for our customers which not only reduces racking damage immediately, but also is proven to do so year on year. Unquestionably the most effective and thorough way to reduce your racking repair bills on the market today.
The Rack Aid management system utilises the following 5 keys areas to significantly reduce your racking damage and in turn your costly repair/replacement costs.
If you want to significantly reduce your racking damage and comply with the latest standards and regulations, then contact The Rack Group Ltd on 01226 784 488 or email email@example.com to schedule a free site visit.
The Rack Group
Tel: 01226 784 488