Why is it so important to inspect your warehouse racking

Ensuring your warehouse has a regular pallet racking inspection is paramount. The fact is that the warehouse was an accident waiting to happen. For such a tragedy to occur the fault can only lie with the company running the warehouse which had not installed the storage system correctly, or conducted any subsequent inspections. Had there been sufficient safety barriers this accident wouldn’t and couldn’t have happened.  Below we cover some of the basic elements you must cover by law to ensure your warehouse meets the required health and safety standards.

Racking legislation

Are pallet racking inspections a legal requirement? The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 state that all pallet racking and shelving must meet the standards it sets out. This also includes carrying out regular inspections to ensure the safety of the people working in the facility.

The latest Health and Safety guide HSG76 also confirms that inspections must be carried out frequently, ensuring the system is being properly maintained and repaired where needed.

SEMA guidelines

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines recommend that you use a racking supplier who is either a Storage Equipment Manufacturing Association (SEMA) member, or one that rigidly follows their guidance. They regularly update their guidelines every year, so ensure you keep up-to-date with the latest practices as they change.

HSE Racking Inspection

While there is no fixed schedule for warehouse racking inspections, each warehouse should assess their requirements based on the following:

  • The dimensions of the racking system being used and the size of the warehouse.
  • How much activity occurs on a daily basis in the storage area.
  • The type of operational equipment being used in the warehouse (forklifts etc.).
  • What sort of ambient conditions are present in the facility.
  • The skill level of the staff employed to work there.

A Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS) should be nominated within every warehouse. Their responsibility will be to look at the above factors and then determine how frequently the racking inspections should occur.

At least one racking inspection should take place every 12 months, according to the law. This will require a report to be completed and handed to the PRRS to allow them to address any concerns. While this is the minimum requirement, regular checks should be conducted throughout the course of the year.

Levels of inspection

The HSE racking inspection document lays out a number of different levels of inspection as follows:

Level 1: Immediate reporting

Report any damaged or defective racking through an established procedure, and ensure that staff are informed of any changes to safety procedures for correct and safe usage of the storage systems.

Level 2: Visual inspections

HSE guidelines recommend that racking is inspected weekly, or at regular intervals by the PRRS. After a risk assessment for the site has been completed then an inspection schedule can be organised.

Level 3: Expert inspections

A SEMA Approved Rack Inspector (SARI) must carry out this level of inspection at least once a year. A report must then be passed onto the PRRS and any issue discussed and addressed.

Damage Categories

If any damage is discovered during the inspection these are placed into three different categories:

Green Level: The system is safe and in good condition. The load capacity can remain and no immediate repairs are required.

Amber Level: Part of the installation has been damaged and will require attention immediately. Only the damaged section has to be removed and repaired.

Red Risk: Serious damage has occurred which requires immediate action. All racking in the immediate area must be removed. While repairs are ongoing, the racking and affected area must be kept off limits to staff members.

Racking Collapse Videos

The videos below show why is it so important to inspect your warehouse racking!


HSE Racking Inspection Legislation

Pallet racking inspection requirements may not always appear to be so clear to anyone new to warehouse management. A technically competent person needs to carry out inspections. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) offers help in this area, providing advisory guidance to ensure you remain compliant with legal requirements. We are often asked if pallet racking inspections are a legal requirement

Warehouse managers must navigate the somewhat ambiguous requirements for pallet racking inspections. While Health & Safety Executive (HSE) offers advisory guidance, it emphasizes the responsibility of warehouse owners for ensuring safety within the facility. HSE recommends, though not legally mandates, a SEMA-approved racking inspection annually, with weekly inspections overseen by “technically competent” staff. While not legally required, adhering to HSE guidance is advised for legal compliance.

Pallet racking certification, while not a legal obligation, is strongly recommended by HSE. The absence of annual SEMA-approved inspections could potentially hold the warehouse owner legally responsible in the event of a pallet racking-related accident. Although no specific law addresses racking inspections, legal obligations include conducting risk assessments and implementing action plans to mitigate risks, ensuring staff access to safe equipment as per the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998.

During inspections, records must be meticulously logged, utilizing SEMA’s color-coded system to identify risk levels. Green signifies acceptable damage, requiring monitoring but no immediate action. Amber indicates damage exceeding allowable limits, necessitating repair or replacement. If unaddressed within a month, amber risks automatically escalate to red, requiring immediate removal. The checklist emphasizes regular inspections, reporting of defects, keeping damaged or out-of-use racking offline until fixed, purchasing from SEMA-compliant suppliers, staff training, appointing a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS), and maintaining a comprehensive log of inspections and damages.

Contact 2hssl

Contact our team to book your racking inspection on 01937 585057.