Are pallet racking inspections a legal requirement?


Understanding HSE Pallet Racking Inspection Requirements

Although HSE guidance doesn’t explicitly state laws, it advises on best practices for the health and safety of all employers within the facility. Warehouse owners bear legal responsibility for the safety of individuals working or entering the space, albeit within reasonable bounds.

Warehouse owners aren’t obligated to ensure absolute safety for everyone in the warehouse, regardless of cost. For instance, dismantling pallet racking systems and evacuating everyone would guarantee safety but render business operations impossible. While it eliminates all risks, it can’t be justified as a racking inspection requirement.

Practically, adopting a common-sense approach and taking reasonable measures for everyone’s safety is advisable. HSE offers specific advice on pallet racking inspection requirements in their HSG76 document.

Understanding Pallet Racking Safety Requirements in the HSG76 Document

Upon closer examination of the document, it recommends SEMA-approved racking inspections occur at least annually. Additionally, weekly inspections should be conducted by “technically competent” staff.

The question arises regarding the legal requirement of these recommendations. You’re not legally mandated to adhere to these guidelines. HSE affirms your freedom to take alternative actions if necessary, though following this guidance should suffice for legal compliance.

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations also confirm that warehouse owners bear sole responsibility for their employees’ safety, whereas previously it was shared with HSE.

Is Legal Certification Required for Pallet Racking?

Choosing not to certify the safety of pallet racking contradicts HSE advice. In the event of a pallet racking-related accident, the warehouse owner would be legally accountable. Neglecting annual SEMA-approved inspections could reasonably suggest inadequate measures for ensuring the injured person’s safety.

Moreover, although no specific law pertains to racking inspections, you’re legally obliged to conduct a risk assessment to identify dangers to staff and visitors. This necessitates implementing a plan to mitigate and manage risks wherever feasible.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 affirm that staff must access safe working equipment and be safeguarded from harm due to inadequate control measures. This constitutes a legal obligation that must be fulfilled at all times.


You only have to look at the videos of pallet racking collapsing to understand why it is so important to inspect racking.

Understanding Pallet Racking Inspections

During an inspection, all records must be meticulously documented in a logbook. SEMA employs a color-coded system to denote the level of risk associated with the condition:

Green risk:

This denotes acceptable damage within SEMA limits. No immediate action is necessitated, but ongoing monitoring of racking condition is advised to prevent deterioration. Identifying patterns of damage under the green risk helps pinpoint causes and implement preventive measures.

Amber risk:

Damage falling into the amber risk zone exceeds allowable limits, requiring repair or replacement. Although not immediately critical, affected areas should be offloaded promptly and not reused until adequately repaired. Failure to act within a month automatically escalates the status to Red, necessitating immediate removal.

Red risk:

Significant damage, well beyond allowable limits, constitutes a red risk necessitating immediate action. Inspection reports may identify either newly identified risks or amber risks dormant for a month and now escalated to red.

Pallet Racking Inspection Checklist

  • The following checklist aids in maintaining warehouse safety. Adherence to the latest health and safety regulations is imperative and serves as an ideal starting point.
  • Inspect your racking system annually by an NVQ qualified industrial storage equipment inspector.
  • Conduct regular inspections throughout the year, preferably weekly.
  • Promptly report any defects or damage observed.
  • Keep damaged or unused racking out of the system until repaired.
  • Purchase racking systems from suppliers adhering to SEMA guidelines.
  • Ensure staff are trained in using the racking system.
  • Designate a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS) within the business.
  • Maintain a secure logbook documenting all inspections and damage.
  • Assess factors influencing the frequency of racking inspections.
  • Enroll in a racking safety inspection course and encourage staff to do the same.
  • Utilize mechanical handling devices for stock retrieval from the racking system.

Contact our team at 01937 585057 to schedule your racking inspection.


Pallet Racking Inspection Checklist


Why is it so important to inspect your warehouse racking