A Guide to Warehouse Safety in Ireland

Costs of a Dangerous Warehouse

How can you ensure the safety of your staff and equipment in Ireland?

Warehouse safety should be a major concern, regardless of where your business operates. While Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) covers many aspects of workplace safety, it’s always best to take a holistic view. From manual handling to pallet racking inspections, here are a few important warehouse safety procedures that you should be following. For even more advice, take a look at our infographic below.

Warehouse safety in Ireland infographic

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Rack Safety Inspections in Ireland: What Does The Law Say?

warehouse racking with stock

We offer rack safety inspections to Irish businesses as well as British ones.

When it comes to health and safety, Irish law is made up of two parts: the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and EU health and safety law. It is these two bodies that decide the laws concerning rack safety inspections in Ireland.

What is the HSA?

The HSA is the governing body for all things health and safety in Ireland. In that sense, it is like OSHA in the United States of America or HSE in the United Kingdom. Relative to OSHA and HSE, however, it was formed quite recently. OSHA was formed first in 1970, HSE was formed a few years later in 1974, but it wasn’t until 1989 that the HSA was formed.

What this means is that many of the health and safety rules and regulations which affect Irish workplaces are new. This is also true for warehouse safety and rack safety inspections, specifically. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, which forms the basis for almost all Irish workplace safety law, was passed in 2005 and was updated as recently as July 2016.

The act is general. It refers to “inspectors” and “inspections” many times, but it does not use the word “warehouse” or “racking” once. The act is intended to apply to health and safety as a whole and outlines the legal responsibilities of different workplace roles. In this sense, it is like the UK’s CDM Regulations 2015. In fact, just as with the CDM Regulations, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act needs to be read with reference to other legislation to understand the law and government recommendations regarding rack safety inspections.

The HSA’s Relationship With the EU and HSE

EU health and safety law affects Irish health and safety law directly; many EU health and safety acts are referenced in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act. Added to this, there is the influence of HSE which, despite operating in the UK, is still referenced by HSA. In the HSA’s brief guide to warehouse safety, it refers to HSE’s Warehousing and storage: A guide to health and safety as a resource that Irish businesses should use.

Both HSE and the EU have recommendations and legislation regarding rack safety inspections. So, though HSA doesn’t have anything specific to say regarding rack inspections, it refers to two bodies (and has laws based on one of those bodies) that do have specific rack inspection recommendations.
In the HSE guide which HSA refers to, the advice is that all businesses should have a rack safety inspection from an “expert” at least once a year. It identifies SEMA approved racking inspectors by name as an example of a racking inspection expert. At Storage Equipment Experts, we offer rack safety inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

The same guide also recommends more regular inspections from “technically competent” staff. For this, we recommend our racking inspection training course, which is performed by a SEMA approved racking inspector.

The EU health and safety legislation which HSA refers to also has recommendations for racking inspections. It too states that racking inspections should be performed at least annually by an external expert, as well as by technically competent staff. As a member of the EU, this advice applies to Ireland. As a member of the EU at the time when this legislation was written, it also applies to the UK (and there is no real reason why this racking inspection legislation in the UK would change when it leaves the EU).

What Does All This Mean for Rack Safety Inspections in Ireland?

In short, all businesses in Ireland should have regular racking inspections. Businesses that don’t perform regular racking inspections are running contrary to the Irish government’s advice. Though HSA does not mention racking inspections themselves, it does mention the advice of both HSE and the EU: two bodies that do recommend racking inspections.

As a member of the EU, Ireland and its businesses are bound by the racking inspection legislation and the recommendations it makes. As a country which refers to HSE on matters of warehouse safety, Ireland and Irish businesses should heed HSE’s advice about annual inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

If you’re an Irish business looking for racking inspection training or racking inspection by a SEMA approved inspector, look no further than Storage Equipment Experts. Our services are recommended by big and small businesses from every imaginable industry.