Our first question this month asks for advice on Drive in Racking and our second asks about Storing Boxes at Height.

Drive in Racking

Q. I wish to clarify what is the advice or law with regards driving beneath loads in drive in racking. Our Fork lift Trucks drive in beneath loads stacked in racks above and it doesn’t look particularly safe?

A. Firstly there is not as far as we are aware any ‘law’ that states you should not drive underneath loads in drive in racking though it is not a good idea and is potentially dangerous!!

All the SEMA guidance ‘recommends’ operating procedures that should not make this necessary. In placing pallets it is normal to place the first pallet in a lane on the floor at the back, second one goes on the runners immediately above the first one and so on until the height of the system is filled. The next pallet is located in front of the first pallet and then filled with others on top of it and so one down the lane.

In taking pallets out of the system remove the top pallet in a vertical stack first followed by the next one from the top and so on. If this is followed it should never be necessary to drive under a pallet which we like you would consider to be potentially dangerous.

Storing Boxes at Height

Q. I have been asked for information with reference to storing boxes at height and if there are any guidelines to the weight of a carton in relation to how high it is stored. Please would you be able to recommend legislation or guidelines that I could access for this information?

A. Not sure if you are referring to cardboard boxes stacked on each other or to the physical task of lifting things to a height. Sorry, however as far as we are aware there are no formal guidelines on the former subject and while there are guidelines on height and weight of lifts published by HSE it depends on the person’s height and physique. Repetitive lifting is not advisable and wherever possible lifting aids should be used to minimise the possibility of injury.

Coming back stacking cartons on each other, there are some guidelines about the height of on metal stillages stacked on each other, however with cardboard it depends on the strength of the cardboard, dampness, the weight in each box and whether the lowest box will also carry the weight of those stacked above without collapsing and destroying product in the carton.

Usually a trial and error investigation in this regard with some photographic evidence of what works and what does not work with a reasonable margin of safety between.

SEMA Annual Safety Conference 2019 – a date for your diary

The 2019 SEMA Safety Conference has been scheduled for Thursday, 31 October; the venue will be the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull.

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 and we will do our best to have it answered.

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 indepth 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

This qualification is aimed at professionals who conduct rack surveys as an integral and significant part of their duties. It involves delegates undertaking an in-depth SEMA Course, together with an exam and 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.


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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