Your Ultimate Guide To Warehouse Rack Safety

There is no way to avoid the fact that racking is an expensive purchase. Get it right and it can make a huge difference to the profitability of your business but get it wrong and it can impact on . To maximise your Return On Investment (ROI), it makes sense to adopt a joined-up approach to warehouse rack safety that continues over the lifetime of your equipment.  

Quality in Storage Equipment 

warehouse rack safety - SEMA members
Image courtesy Raxel

Getting the most out of your warehouse racking starts at the very beginning with its design and manufacture. In an industry that is largely unregulated, knowing which pallet-racking suppliers are reputable can be difficult to navigate.

It was for this reason that SEMA was established and, for over 50 years, we have been working with our members to achieve the highest standards of quality. This isn’t something we just say either. We independently assess each member to prove their credentials so that warehouse owners can be confident their suppliers are making warehouse rack safety and quality a priority. 

Through their membership, Manufacturing Members, SEMA Distributor Companies (SDC) and SEMA Approved Installation Companies (SAIC) are kept up-to-date on the latest industry regulations and standards. Their racking designs meet either SEMA Design Codes or the European Code EN 15512. Both are acceptable standards in the UK and instruct on the structural analysis of racking, the types of loads to consider and the safety factors used in design. 

Warehouse Rack Safety - Design 

Of course, racking is not only about meeting the regulations. Each space and business is unique in terms of characteristics and needs. It is essential to tailor the racking design to create a bespoke installation that is specific to the situation while at the same time keeping warehouse rack safety and efficiency at the forefront. 

Work with storage equipment experts who will visit your site to understand your business, the type of stock you hold and how to make your warehouse run more efficiently and safely. Their design must also enable future expansion and changing stock profiles.  

Run Out of Warehouse Space?  

As your business grows and develops, you may find you run out of storage space. It may surprise you that moving is not always the answer. There are numerous ways to increase space, including adding height to your storage, adding a mezzanine floor or even reducing the aisle widths to add more racking.  

Warehouse Rack Safety - Design Standards
Image courtesy Total Interiors

Be aware that dovetailing in additional storage equipment is a skilled job. We always recommend working with experienced companies such as our SDCs. They have the technical knowledge to undertake the modifications, even if they didn’t originally supply the racking.  

The advantage of working with SEMA Members is the protection it provides your business. If your equipment was supplied by a SEMA manufacturer, our SDCs and SAICS are qualified to conduct racking repairs on their behalf.  

Warehouse Rack Safety During Installation 

Once the design is ready, the next step is the installation. This largely forgotten area is critical to the safety of your equipment. Especially when you realise that the smallest deviation from the design intent can significantly affect the racking's structural integrity. It may surprise you to learn that most installers learn ‘on the job’ and over time it is very easy to pick up bad habits or even worse, not learn the correct methods in the first place.  

That is why SEMA established their training program SEIRS, which instructs installers on correct installation methods that follow SEMA standards. Following feedback from industry experts and to increase standards further, last year we launched a new Diploma training programme. The new course challenges installers further. It provides a clear benchmark that any SEIRS-qualified installer has been assessed to the highest industry standards. 

Look After Your Equipment 

Once installed, you need to keep working on your ROI. Keep your racking correctly maintained and you can easily meet or even exceed the design life of your equipment.  

Staff need to be ‘warehouse rack safety aware' and report any problems immediately. A nominated member of staff should also undertake weekly inspections. They will ensure that everyone is using the racking correctly, following load notice guidance and identify any missing or faulty components.

To equip them with the skills they need, we recommend sending employees on one of our Rack Safety Awareness courses which explain how to conduct in-house rack inspections as well as safely use the equipment. 

Warehouse Rack Safety - Inspections
Image courtesy Filstorage

The HSE also recommends an annual expert inspection undertaken by a technically competent person who has sufficient training and knowledge. To support this, we operate our SEMA Approved Rack Inspector (SARI) initiative which consists of highly qualified professionals. To qualify they must successfully pass an intensive three-day training course, written exam, and practical assessment to achieve their qualification.  

If you’d like to find out more about working with a SEMA member, head to our contact page and fill in the form.