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What are the HSE Guidelines for Racking Safety?

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To some, the HSE guidelines and HSE racking regulations might seem complex, but they are logical and easy to understand when you are armed with a bit of knowledge.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the branch of the British government that is responsible for all things to do with health and safety. What does it have to say about warehouses? What are the HSE guidelines for racking safety? Well, here’s a brief look at their general thoughts on the topic.

Has Your Contractor Attended a SEMA Course?

Lazy assumptions are enemies of safety — and HSE knows that this is definitely the case when it comes to racking safety. If there is third-party racking maintenance, or any third party work in your warehouse, the HSE guidelines for warehouse safety state that “it is not sufficient to assume that they are competent and working safely”. Rather, you should be vigilant and rigorous in this respect.

According to HSE guidelines, it is recommended that your contractor is a SEMA approved racking inspector if they are performing a third party racking inspection. Furthermore, this person should be some other kind of SEMA approved expert if they are installing, repairing, or working on your racking system in any way.

In 2015, the HSE CDM regulations made a warehouse owner’s duty to ensure that people working in their warehouse are “competent” a legal one. In other words, if you have reason to believe that the person working in your warehouse in not “competent” and you do nothing about it, then you are breaking the law.

Are the techniques that your contractor is using safe? Are they SEMA approved? Am I following HSE’s advice with regards to the definition of “competent”? Your role and your legal responsibility is to make sure that you are absolutely confident that you know the answers to those questions.

Installing Warehouse Racking Requires Careful Planning

Plan, plan, and then plan some more is what the HSE guidelines have to say about racking system installations. At best, failure to do this will lead to an inefficient workspace. At worst, it will lead to a dangerous one. The layout of your racking system and the layout of your warehouse are two things that need to be planned together.

Business writer Stefan Topfer argues that “planning is one of the most important parts of running a business” and this advice applies to your warehouse, too. Your newest marketing campaign won’t be worth anything if your warehouse cannot store enough of your product due to uneven surfaces, badly spaced aisles, or bad manoeuvrability within the warehouse. Even business giants such as Anheuser-Busch have made huge mistakes because they didn’t pay attention to warehouse safety.

To make sure that your racking is installed properly and that the layout is planned effectively, HSE guidelines recommend that warehouse owners use people who have undergone the relevant SEMA training.

Follow HSE Guidelines with Regular Expert Racking Inspections

Once your racking has been installed, it needs to be maintained. One way of doing this is through proper use: racking should be highly visible, protected physically, never climbed on and never overloaded. However, beyond that, HSE recommends having a racking inspection by a SEMA approved racking inspector (a SARI) at least once a year.

This advice is echoed by law in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, in which section six highlights the importance of regular and thorough inspections for work equipment. All racking systems, including mezzanine floors, qualify as work equipment, so they are subject to this legislation.

Consider Racking Inspection Training for Regular Internal Racking Inspections

HSE guidelines also advise that racking inspections are done regularly by employees within the business itself. Here at Storage Equipment Experts, we provide racking inspection training delivered by SEMA approved racking inspectors so that your business can take racking safety into its own hands as well.

Is your warehouse due a SEMA approved racking inspection? Follow HSE’s sound advice and contact Storage Equipment Experts today for a quote on a SEMA approved racking inspection.

A SEMA approved racking inspector (SARI), Justin is one of less than forty SARIs to be approved by SEMA to inspect both pallet racking and cantilever racking systems. As the owner of Storage Equipment Experts, Justin delivers rack safety inspections and rack safety inspection training to businesses across the UK. Justin has also written for a variety of publications (including EHS Today, OHS Online, Supply Chain Brain, Small Business, and E27) on a variety of health and safety related topics.Justin remains committed to delivering racking inspection services to businesses across the country. So, whether your business is based in Cardiff or Carlisle, Derry or Derby, Ipswich or Inverness, Storage Equipment Experts will be there. Contact SEE today for racking inspection training from the best in the business.
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