Our first question this month asks about adjustment of heights and the second asks for our thoughts on palletized goods above walkways.

Adjustment of Heights

Q. When a racking owner wants its employees (essentially warehouse storemen) to adjust the height of the shelves, my understanding is that this can impact on the safe load bearing capacity of the storage racks and that specialist training would be required for adjusting the racks, in addition to assessing what the new safe load capacity of the adjusted shelving would be. On this basis I have some questions that I hope you could answer

1. If the owner wanted the shelving adjustments to be done ‘in-house’, do SEMA offer training to employees to carry this out in a safe manner?

2. If SEMA do not recommend this to owners, who do SEMA recommend to carry out this work, other than seeking advice from the manufacturers of the racking?

A. SEMA are currently modifying the Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme (SEIRS) which will take ‘novices’ and equip them via a three-day training course to carry our such work. The entry requirement will be either possession of an in date IPAF 3a/3b card or a CITB Health and Safety Environment Test. This training should be available from the start of 2022.

This training does not address the issue of changes to the safe load carrying capacity of the racking frames. It is essential that beam levels are not adjusted without professional competent advice as the load carrying capacity of the bay depends upon the position of the beams.

The revised load carrying capacity is normally obtained by referral to the original manufacturer or, where that company no longer exists, a structural engineer with suitable knowledge of the product. This service may be chargeable.

Most SEMA manufacturers (Full members) and SEMA Distributor group companies (SDG members) have the necessary expertise to carry out the re-location of the beams although not all will be able to re-calculate and fit new load notices for every system. That will largely depend on the original manufacturer of the racking and on the level of technical structural expertise within the business.

Palletized Goods Above Walkways

Q. I would like to ask your thoughts on the practice of storing palletized goods above walkways in an warehouse environment. Do you have any examples/pictures of this?

A. Paletized goods are sometime stored above walkways and truck access routes to take advantage of what would otherwise be wasted space, however, this does bring with it some hazards.

If pallet beams are located above truck access routes then there is always the possibility that the truck will pass along the access route with the mast raised and hit the beam. Attempts have been made to warn the truck driver of the obstruction e.g. “clatter boards” near to the obstruction, but these are not always successful.

There are also examples where pallet beams are located above pedestrian access routes, although this does tend to mean that the pedestrian route discharges into an area with forklift truck traffic, which is not ideal. Another potential hazard with such a solution is that goods can fall from the pallets onto the pedestrians below. In order to try and prevent this some sort of overhead guarding is often specified. This guarding is normally a steel mesh or netting of some sort that is fitted above the pedestrian route to catch, or divert, any falling goods. Of course, the mesh/net must be of suitable size and strength and be positioned appropriately.

SEMA’s general advice on this subject is that each particular case should be subject to a risk assessment and any action taken in response to that assessment.

SEMA Annual Safety Conference 2022

The 2022 SEMA Safety Conference has been scheduled for Thursday, 3 November; 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 by email to tq@sema.org.uk 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 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

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.


w: www.sema.org.uk




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