Our first question this month asks about Reconditioned Racking and our second is looking for help with the legal requirements for inspections within a retail environment.

Reconditioned Racking

Q. We are looking to purchase some reconditioned racking that apparently comes certified, our current supplier of new racking has told us that unfortunately reconditioned racking cannot be certified, is this true and are we able to use second hand or reconditioned racking.

A. Unfortunately you are in a rather murky area with reconditioned product!

You note that it is certified though you do not say by whom is it certified and what it is certified to do. Generally SEMA members will not approve the re-use of their product unless they understand exactly where the previous use was, what that use was, and can track the rack from initial supply as new, to the present usage and can confirm that storage is has been in a dry internal environment throughout, etc., etc.

Sorry, however this is a very complex matter with the safety of warehouse operatives at risk if anything goes wrong and is a subject on which books could be written! Some used equipment is very good value for money, however not all of it is, and identifying which is which is not easy. We can only recommend if you go this route that you ensure that your supplier has adequate technical resources to design it properly, and adequate financial resources to sort out any problems that might arise, as the original SEMA manufacturer is most unlikely to be prepared to be involved.

Racking Installation Query

Q. We are planning in install garden centre racking within a number of our stores. Whilst I am aware of the requirements to inspect pallet racking in a warehouse environment, would the legal requirement extend to a garden centre?

I have formed the opinion that it should be inspected, as it carries a load, albeit not that heavy. In the event of an incident you could demonstrate that due care was taken to reduce risk to staff and members of the public.

A. We would agree that Garden Centre Racking requires inspection in the same way as industrial racking and shelving and indeed there may be some additional issues that need thinking about given the vagaries of the public walking around such areas.

We would imagine that you would complete a risk assessment which for instance might conclude that there was more than a possibility that a small child might think that your shelving made a good climbing frame and parents might not be paying sufficient attention to prevent a child getting into danger. This could be addressed by fixing the shelving to the floor such that it could not be pulled over rather than having free standing shelving which is of course much more flexible to variable sales demand at different times of the year.

While you note that the loads are ‘not that heavy’ you do need load carrying capacity information so that your operatives can use the shelving system safely without overloading it which will include an understanding of the weight of product. For instance bags of compost can be heavy, particularly if allowed to get wet. If these are never to be placed on the shelving then this needs to be documented in every employee’s training.

Changing shelf heights can have an effect on upright carrying capacities and given that most systems are capable of adjustment you will need to have a process to establish new carrying capacities when adjustments are made and to ensure that appropriate revisions to load carrying capacity notices are made where necessary.

Your inspections should be a final check to make sure that the basic safety issues and methods we have outlined above are being followed at all times. It is easy to become so engrossed in the detail that the big picture is missed.

We hope we have not put you off with the above comments and wish you well with this project. The 2018 SEMA Safety Conference is scheduled for 1st November; at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull.

SEMA Technical Enquiries If you have a query send it to and we will do our best to have it answered by one of our technical experts.

SEMA Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection 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.

SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors 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.

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.


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