Racking Inspections FAQ
A racking inspection is exactly as it sounds. An adequately trained inspector should regularly check all racking within your warehouse for any sign of damage, stress or defect, no matter how small and inconsequential it may seem. It is a vital part of the process of ensuring safe working conditions.
Why are racking inspections required?
Even if you are fully confident in the structural integrity of your racking, slight knocks, overloading and general wear and tear can compromise the safety of your facility. Many of these flaws can be easily overlooked during busy, day-to-day operation, so taking the time to properly inspect for potentially hazardous areas is vital.
Is there a legal requirement for racking inspections?
According to the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), employers hold responsibility for ensuring safe working conditions for all employees, and will be held liable should they demonstrate a failure to do so. For warehouse facilities, regular racking inspections are mandatory under PUWER, as even the slightest incident can affect the structural integrity of your racking.
How often is a racking inspection required?
This depends very much on how your facility operates. According to PUWER regulations, inspections must be undertaken on a ‘regular’ basis by a competent person. These rather vague guidelines essentially mean that warehouse operators must decide for themselves how often they require an inspection. Smaller, low-traffic facilities may only require a routine annual survey performed by a qualified inspector; others will be best suited to a formal inspection every six months. Particularly fast moving or busy warehouses will need a weekly, or possibly daily, inspection by suitably trained individuals. Over time, you should see patterns develop that should help you to decide how often inspections should be performed in your particular case.
Who should conduct a racking inspection?
If you are regularly engaging in periodic racking inspections (weekly/daily), these can be performed by trained specialists within your organisation. Where more rigorous testing is required, such as for your annual inspection (the absolute minimum you should be doing), this should be performed by either a trained specialist via your rack supplier or an independent rack inspector with full SEMA qualifications.
Does a racking inspector require any particular qualifications?
It is highly recommended, however, that your annual inspection is carried out by a SEMA Approved Rack Inspector (SARI), and insurance companies may insist on inspections being carried out by a SEMA qualified inspector.
Having said that, there are no legally required qualifications as such, anyone performing a racking inspection should be adequately trained and familiar with all forms of racking and warehouse operations, making use of original, manufacturer-supplied design manuals and loading charts.
What happens if we fail our racking inspection?
Any areas of your warehouse that fail to meet adequate standards will be immediately flagged by the racking inspector. When the inspection concludes you will be presented with a checklist of any and all faults or defects that need correcting. Your racking inspector should give recommendations as to how to go about resolving the issue.
Faults will be categorised according to the action required.
- Red areas are those with a high level of damage, requiring the offending racking to be immediately emptied, isolated and repaired or replaced;
- Amber areas will require remedial attention but are not considered urgent enough for immediate action, although they should be resolved before reloading once that rack empties;
- Green areas are those that while damaged, do not present any cause for concern and can continue as normal with no action required.
We’ve missed racking inspections for a couple of years. Does that matter?
While obviously not ideal, there is little that can be done to correct this issue after the fact. It is highly recommended at this point, however, that you contact a fully qualified, independent and, if possible, SEMA-approved inspector as soon as possible to ensure your facility is safe to operate. Any issues found should be corrected immediately and you should proceed with regular inspections from that point on.
Is it possible to do repairs at the same time?
It would be recommended that you complete the full inspection before commencing any remedial work, as efforts carried out in one area may have an effect on the integrity of others.
However some companies that offer racking inspections can also carry out repairs, often straight after your inspection takes place.
It can be more cost effective to use a ‘inspect and repair’ company, especially because if multiple areas have similar faults money can be saved by correcting them at the same time.
What happens after my successful racking inspection?
Upon completion of your inspection you will be presented with a complete checklist of areas inspected and any faults. Simply resolve any issues that require attention, keep all inspection checklists, damage reports and repair logs on file, then proceed with normal operations.
Is the racking inspection all that’s needed for warehouse health and safety?
No, racking is only one component of your facility, and you need to ensure that all aspects of the working environment are safe for your employees. Standard Health & Safety legislation still applies; employees must be properly trained to safely perform their roles and all equipment must be safety tested and operated in a proper manner. For a full list of health and safety legislation you are advised to consult HSE.gov.uk.
What does a racking inspection cost?
This may vary depending on the size of your facility, the quantity and layout of racking systems and the suppliers used to attain said racking. Multiple suppliers can dramatically increase the time required to perform the inspection, as can many other factors, which will of course drive up the cost.
Whatever it is, it will be a cost well worth paying as it could save you from a costly lawsuit or loss of stock down the line.
Do I need to make any preparations for our racking inspection?
Prior to your racking inspection please ensure that all racking is easily accessible. You are not required to unload the racking, but clear access is required to all upright supports, footplates and floor fixings. Any inaccessible areas may be excluded from the inspection and could result in issues at a later date. Beyond that, we simply require a responsible contact to consult with post-inspection.
What happens if I don’t have regular racking inspections?
If you fail to schedule and perform regular inspections you are leaving yourself open to massive risk. Not only are you risking financial troubles such as severe loss of stock, loss of productivity and legal expenses, you are also risking the health of your employees. Any injuries or health issues caused by neglecting to ensure safely installed and maintained racking will be regarded as a fault on the part of the company, and you will be held liable.
How can Acorn Warehouse Solutions help me with my racking inspection?
When it comes to racking inspections, Acorn Warehouse Solutions provide the highest standard available. Our inspectors are fully SEMA approved, allowing us to guarantee that high standard to all our customers as SEMA approval requires an intensive educational course along with written and practical assessment. Qualified inspectors ensure they remain current and up-to-date by accumulating additional points on an on-going, yearly basis. We are also fully capable of performing any required repairs and corrections, cutting down on disruption by handling the whole process together.
Contact Acorn Warehouse Solutions on 01799 532024.