Which Racking Inspection Courses Do I Need?

Man with helmet and blue overalls in a warehouse with pallet racking system

Racking inspection courses come in all shapes and sizes, but which one is right for you and which one do you need?

Depending on what you plan on doing in the world of warehouse safety, you may need to a racking inspection course. Of course, in some cases, it might be highly recommended and, in other cases, it might simply be a good thing to have. We’re going to break down who needs racking inspection courses (and, if so, which ones) and who racking inspection courses are recommended for (and, if so, which ones).

What Kind of Racking Inspection Courses Are There?

Broadly speaking, there are three kinds:

  1. The SEMA Approved Inspector Qualification, which is a course run by SEMA. This course is specifically designed to train and authorise SEMA approved racking inspectors (SARIs).
  2. Private racking inspection courses run by SEMA approved racking inspectors (SARIs) themselves. These courses tend to be designed for warehouse owners and their employees.
  3. Private racking inspection courses run by self-appointed “experts”. We would not recommend these courses to anyone.

Ignoring the third kind of racking inspection course out of hand, the first and second kind of courses are the ones that most people mean when they refer to racking inspection courses.

The first kind of course is needed by people who want to become SEMA approved racking inspectors. Being a SEMA approved racking inspector is a full-time job and requires a lot of hard work. However, if you want to become one, this is the racking inspection course you will need.

The second kind of course is for owners and users of pallet racking systems and provides training to ensure that the racking is maintained safely. This is why we and HSE both highly recommend it.

HSE & Racking Inspection Courses Run By SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors

In HSE’s HSG76, it recommends inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector at least once a year. It also recommends that businesses perform regular, staff-led inspections. In HSE’s eyes, these staff-led inspections are best performed by the business’ PRRS (person responsible for racking safety). HSE doesn’t define “technically competent” — that is the responsibility of the warehouse owner — but they do identify SEMA approved racking inspectors as “experts”.

It is our belief that a racking inspection course from an expert (a SEMA approved racking inspector) would be enough to make someone technically competent enough to carry out regular racking inspections. What is more, we believe that — for consistency’s sake — it’s best if the technically competent staff member performing these regular inspections is trained by the same SEMA approved racking inspector who performs the business’ yearly inspections.

This is evidently the belief of many other businesses, too, which is why so many SEMA approved racking inspectors offer racking inspection courses. However, there are many reasons why the racking inspection course from Storage Equipment Experts is by far the best.

Businesses Across The UK & Ireland Should Take Storage Equipment Experts’ Racking Inspection Course

  1. It’s run by one of the only SEMA approved racking inspectors to have also passed the SEMA cantilever racking inspection course. This means our SARI is an expert in pallet racking safety and cantilever racking safety.
  2. It’s highly recommended.
  3. We cover the whole of the UK and Ireland.
  4. Our SEMA approved racking inspector is an all-round health and safety expert who has written for a wide variety of publications.
  5. We are based near London and, as a result, our office is extremely easy to access from anywhere in the UK or Ireland.
  6. We have performed racking inspections and have taught racking inspection courses to Pinewood Studios, the Tate Modern, Smiffy’s, Hayden’s Bakery and Dunlop among many, many others.
  7. We specialise in inspecting a wide variety of racking inspection brands, such as PSS, Link 51, Dexion, Schaefer and plenty more.
  8. We provide a free racking inspection safety checklist.

Now you know why we’re the best, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for racking inspection courses and racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

Rack Inspection Training and Mechanical Handling

Forklift lifting a box inside a warehouse full of racks with boxes

Warehouse safety is a complete system which requires pallet racking safety as well as mechanical handling safety in order to function.

A safe warehouse is like a well-oiled machine. This means that every part needs to work safely and efficiently with every other part. You cannot ignore other elements of warehouse safety and you cannot view one aspect of warehouse safety in isolation. It’s for this reason that it is vital to know about how pallet racking safety interacts with mechanical handling safety.

However, before that happens, it’s important to define terms.

What Is Pallet Racking Safety?

Pallet racking safety consists of all the procedures, whether those are legal requirements from HSE or recommendations from SEMA, which are concerned with making pallet racking safer.

These procedures include proper installation, proper use, regular inspections from an outside expert, regular inspections from staff members, and rack inspection training to make sure that staff members can perform these internal inspections. As well as all that, warehouse owners are required to repair and/or replace a racking system when necessary.

What Is Mechanical Handling Safety?

Industrial trucks, tractors, forklifts, conveyors; mechanical handling refers to moving anything around a warehouse using any of these pieces of technology. Mechanical handling safety refers to all the procedures outlined by HSE, both in HSG76 and in LOLER 1998, which are concerned with making mechanical handling safer.

These procedures vary depending on the type of mechanical handling equipment you’re referring to. As with racking, most equipment requires inspection and users should never exceed the recommended guidelines. What’s more, it’s vital to make sure that you are using equipment which is cleared for usage in the EU. This is true of health and safety in general. However, with mechanical equipment being used in a confined space in combination with other mechanical equipment, it’s especially important.

When Should You Consider Mechanical Handling Safety & Racking Safety Together?

Ideally, you should consider the two kinds of safety together at all times. However, because the two disciplines are often separated by different professions (a SEMA approved racking inspector, for example, is not qualified to inspect a forklift truck) it can be difficult to think of the two safety protocols alongside each other. Still, don’t feel too bad; a lot of research suggests that all humans are terrible at multitasking.

Yet, with our handy ‘cheat sheet’, you won’t need to multitask. You can focus on one table to know exactly what HSE recommends you do when these two different safety disciplines interact:

#SituationRacking Safety ConsiderationsMechanical Handling Safety Considerations
1Driving an industrial truck, lift truck, or tow tractor in bad light.You might crash or bump into your storage system, damaging your racking. If so, your system would require an immediate inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector and be immediately offloaded.Be sure to add lights to your truck or tractor as a precaution for if you ever happen to be driving it in bad light. Better yet, improve the overall lighting of the warehouse.  
2Driving an industrial truck, lift truck, or tow tractor through an aisle with racking systems either side.The narrow space could damage your racking systems. However, the issues to consider here are likely to be unique to your warehouse. As such, HSE recommends “site-specific control measures” which, in turn, means a risk assessment. The narrow space could damage your vehicle. Once again, you will need “site-specific control measures” to tackle this particular issue.
3Driving an industrial truck, lift truck, or tow tractor over an uneven floor.An uneven floor could cause you to temporarily lose control and crash or bump into your storage system. If that does happen, the same advice from #1 follows.Never use a vehicle if the unevenness of the floor exceeds the recommendations of the manufacturer. Perform regular checks of the floor for unevenness.
4Using a truck to lift storage onto a racking system.As before, there are the usual concerns with damaging the racking system, but it’s also important the racking system isn’t overloaded. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in this case.Be sure to lower the load onto the racking system as soon as the load is clear of the racking. Don’t create unnecessary risk by lifting the load higher than needed.
Also, be sure to make sure that anyone operating the truck keeps constant, two-handed control of the vehicle to prevent any possibility that they might get trapped in between the vehicle and the storage system.

Rack Inspection Training: You Can Never Be Too Safe

Our rack inspection training course covers the many, many aspects of racking inspection safety and how they interact with the rest of the warehouse. A racking inspection training course is a great way for staff members to learn about warehouse safety as a whole discipline, rather than simply one particular aspect of it.

A rack inspection training course from Storage Equipment Experts is the perfect way to piece together all of the individual parts safely into one complex discipline.

Pallet Racking Inspection Training and Work At Height

a man looking up at a tall warehouse racking

Pallet racking inspection training is one of the many safety procedures warehouse owners should follow. Working at height safety is another.

When working at height, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and the potential dangers around you. One such danger might be that you ignore racking safety, so it’s important to consider the two safety disciplines together.

In order to do that, though, the definition of terms is vital.

Pallet Racking Safety Is…

Pallet racking safety refers to any kind of procedure designed to make pallet racking — and its use — safer. In the UK, the official safety procedures most relevant to pallet racking come from HSE and SEMA. These safety procedures include pallet racking inspection training, among other things. Pallet racking inspection training and pallet racking inspections in Ireland are not directly recommended by HSA, but there is an informal recommendation.

Work At Height Safety Is…

According to HSE’s HSG76, “work in any place, including above or below ground level, where someone could fall and injure themselves” counts as work at height. In the UK, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 outlines in full an employer’s legal responsibility when asking their staff to work at height. This includes, for example, making sure that people using a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) are either trained themselves or are supervised by a trained person.

Considering Pallet Racking Safety & Work at Height Safety Together

Pallet racking inspection training covers a whole range of procedures for ensuring pallet racking safety through inspections. However, inevitably, the course cannot cover everything. If it did, then HSE would not also recommend annual racking inspections from an expert (such as a SEMA approved racking inspector).

While you should always bear the whole warehouse in mind when thinking about safety, it’s often difficult to consider pallet racking safety and work at height safety at the same time. There are only a handful of specific situations when the two kinds of safety do need to be considered together, though it’s still important to be prepared for said situations.

It’s because of all of this that we have prepared a cheat sheet for the situations when racking safety and work at height safety should be considered together and what you should do in those situations.

#SituationRacking Safety ConsiderationsWork At Height Safety Considerations
1Items falling from rackingItems should be stored properly. While this often means not overloading a racking system, it also means making sure that things are stacked properly and are placed securely. To make sure this happens, always follow the manufacturer’s advice and follow the guidelines for storage set out in the Storage systems chapter of HSG76.The Work at Height Regulations 2005 spells this out as law:

Every employer shall, where necessary to prevent injury to any person, take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the fall of any material or object.”
This section of the law goes on to explain what employers are legally obliged to do to prevent injury from falling objects.
2Climbing on racking which is not designed for climbingIn short, don’t do it.

However, if someone does climb on it (even though they definitely shouldn’t have) the person responsible for racking safety (PRRS) should immediately check for damage.

If there is any visible damage, immediately offload the system and book a racking inspection from a SEMA approved inspector.
Once again, don’t do it.
3Climbing on racking which is designed for climbingUnless it is specifically designed for the purpose of being climbed on, you shouldn’t climb on racking. Even if the racking system is designed to be climbed on, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instruction and don’t add too much weight to the system.
If the system appears damaged after it’s been used, immediately offload the system and book a racking inspection from a SEMA approved inspector.
If racking is designed for climbing, follow the same advice for working on a ladder. Keep three points of contact, don’t overstretch, etc.
Even if racking is specifically designed for the express purpose of being climbed on, do not climb from an elevated working platform into a racking system.

If you want a better understanding of rack safety, Storage Equipment Experts’ pallet racking inspection training course will outline all the information and procedures that HSE recommends.