The first question this month asks about restrictions on Euro Pallets and our second enquires about Stacking Heights for Archive Storage.

Euro Pallet Restriction

Q. Do you know of any restrictions or legal implications when putting Euro pallets on to 1200mm wide racking? After speaking with the HSE and they have stated as far as they are concerned there are no restrictions.

A. Assuming you are using 800×1200 EURO pallets located with the 800mm face to the aisle then placing them in this orientation should present no problem as the bottom boards of the pallet span between the support beams and 3 pallets per 2700mm pallet support beam is quite a common application. Of course the beams must be designed for the weight of the pallets. If the pallets are located such that the 1200mm face is to the aisle then there is no bottom board spanning between the support beams and this is a problem.

The SEMA recommendations are that for a pallet supported in the 1200mm direction the pallet racking end frame should be 1100mm. This will allow a 50mm overhang of the pallet at front and back support beams. If you are using 1200mm frames to support 1200mm pallets then the operators will have to place the pallets flush with the front face of the rack to ensure that the pallet is located on the back beam. Pallets themselves have a manufacturing tolerance and there will inevitably be a placement tolerance so you could have a situation where the pallet is only supported on one or other beam by a few millimetres; which is not a lot if accidental impacts and movement are then considered.

If this is the case you would appear to have two options. The first would be to have the frame depth changed, which would involve stripping down the racking and substituting replacement frame bracing to give you a 1100mm frame as recommended by SEMA. The second option would be to provide pallet support bars or decking spanning between front and back beams. This would in effect prevent the pallet from falling off the rear beam and would have the advantage that stripping down the racking would not be necessary. Most racking suppliers will provide pallet support beams or decking as part of their standard range to allow varying sized pallets to be accommodated.

Stacking heights for archive storage

Q. We are looking for information regarding the height for stacking boxes in warehouse/storage facilities. The Health and Safety Executive state that the height needs to be ‘appropriate’. This, of course, is a relative term, and we need some guidance as to the criteria that would be used in assessing ‘appropriateness’ of stacking heights. Any information you can provide on this would be most welcome.

A. The issues involved are very specific to the individual situation and so it is difficult to offer general guidance.

The following publications are a good starting point;

Manual handling, solutions you can handle – ISBN 9780717606931

Manual handling at work – a brief guide INDG143

Manual handling, manual handling operations regulations 1992, Guidance on regulations – ISBN 9780717628230.

The latter two of these are available as free downloads on the HSE website and give recommended lifting limits for both male and female personnel and should be considered by anyone who is planning such a system. We understand you are currently storing your archives in cardboard boxes on a type of racking, so this is also a good start. The vertical pitch of the beams will define to some degree the number of boxes you can store in the height assuming of course that the boxes themselves are capable of being stacked on top of each other over a long period without collapsing and you are not overloading the support structure by loading in this way.

You will also need to assess the frequency with which you will need to access the archives as this will also govern if you can store boxes one behind the other as well as on top of each other. It is not uncommon for boxes to be stored two high and two deep. However, this is not by any means a universal rule and particular circumstances will always dictate special solutions.

SEMA Technical Enquiries

If you have a query send it to us by email to and we will do our best to have it answered.

SEMA Rack Safety Awareness Inspection Courses

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

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.

SEMA Publications

SEMA has 26 publications in stock – Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Offices.




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