What Are Warehouse Storage Solutions, and What Are the Different Types?

Warehouse Storage Solutions

Within the warehousing and distribution industry, we often talk about ‘warehouse storage solutions’ (or just ‘storage solutions’) – but what does this actually mean?

If you’re new to the warehouse world, or if you need a refresher on the key terms, then SEE Racking Inspections is here to help with our comprehensive blog.

What are Warehouse Storage Solutions?

Warehouses are, at their core, expansive storage and distribution areas. Whatever type or types of goods are being handled are typically stored en masse, ready for sending out to the next stop on the journey to the end-user/consumer.

This requires not just storage but also ease of access. It’s got to be easy and quick for warehouse workers to find exactly what they need, in the quantities they need it, and to ensure that stock is rotated as necessary. Warehouse storage solutions are used to ensure that this aspect of the operations is as seamless and efficient as possible.

Understanding Warehouse Storage Solutions

More often than not, equipment like forklift trucks, pallet trucks, trolleys and wheeled cages are used to help with the picking and movement of goods. That means any type of storage solution for the warehouse has to be designed for robust, frequent use.

As these storage solutions often hold particularly heavy weights, can be knocked into or jarred multiple times a day, and are in areas with high volumes of other stock, expensive equipment, and personnel, safety is an absolute priority. Not just any rack of shelving unit is appropriate, it needs to be designed, manufactured, and installed with the expectation that it’s going to be treated roughly. Just one shelving unit collapsing or falling over into another can cause a host of issues – the least of all is interrupted operations and moving through stock loss to equipment damage and, ultimately, injury to staff.

Types of Warehouse Storage Solutions

‘Warehouse storage solutions’ is something of a catch-all term, describing a variety of systems designed to efficiently store goods, materials, and products. These solutions range from pallet racking systems, which are ideal for handling large, bulky items, to automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) that offer precision and speed in managing inventory.

Each solution is designed to cater to different types of goods, whether bulky items, perishable products, or small, lightweight goods. Understanding the available storage options is key to tailoring the warehouse setup to accommodate specific inventory types and operational demands.

  • Pallet Racking Systems: These warehouse storage racks include selective racking for easy access to a wide variety of goods, drive-in racking for dense storage of similar products, and cantilever racking, ideal for long, bulky items.

  • Shelving Systems: Shelving units are suited for smaller items, offering versatile design options and applications distinct from pallet racking, facilitating organized storage and accessibility.

  • Automated Warehouse Systems: Advanced options like AS/RS and carousel storage systems significantly enhance efficiency and space utilization, automating inventory management and retrieval processes.

  • Specialty Storage: For industry-specific needs, specialised solutions are available, including storage for hazardous materials or temperature-controlled units for perishable goods.

Factors Influencing the Choice of Storage Solutions

Which storage solution you choose will come down to a few different factors:

  1. Space Availability: The warehouse’s physical layout and space constraints will impact which type of solution you can have.

  2. Type of Inventory: The nature of the items stored, including their size, weight, and turnover rate, is another important consideration.

  3. Accessibility Requirements: How frequently items need to be accessed should also affect your choice of storage system, as you will want to balance efficiency with operational demands.

Benefits of Optimised Warehouse Storage Solutions

Optimising your warehouse storage solutions should bring a number of advantages – by implementing the right systems, you can significantly streamline operations which leads to a reduction in time and resources spent on inventory management. This optimisation results in a smoother workflow and quicker response times to market demands.

Enhanced efficiency is just one piece of the puzzle; as mentioned, improved safety is another critical benefit. Proper storage solutions minimise the risks associated with manual handling and the storage of goods, contributing to a safer work environment for employees.

Adopting innovative storage options also maximises the use of available space, letting you accommodate a larger inventory. This increase in storage capacity supports scalability, allowing businesses to expand operations without the immediate need for physical expansion.

In essence, carefully chosen storage solutions provide a solid foundation for operational excellence, employee safety, and business growth.

Challenges in Implementing Storage Solutions

Implementing new warehouse storage solutions presents a set of challenges, with budget typically at the top of the list. These storage solution systems are rarely inexpensive, but it’s important to assess the return on investment before ruling anything in or out.

Something else to consider is integration with existing systems, as new solutions must seamlessly work with current operations without disrupting workflow or the ROI will once again be affected.

These challenges (and any others that are more unique to you and your site) will require planning and a strategic approach. Engaging with experienced storage solution providers can offer valuable insights into selecting the most compatible systems. Additionally, phased implementation strategies and pilot programs can help in mitigating risks, ensuring a smoother transition to new storage solutions.

Conclusion

Throughout this guide, we’ve explored the significance of selecting and implementing the right storage systems to enhance warehouse efficiency, improve safety, and maximize storage capacity. It should be clear now that warehouse storage solutions are perhaps the biggest driver when it comes to optimising warehouse operations and fueling business growth – however, fully optimising the warehouse requires strategic planning, careful selection of storage solutions, and an awareness of the latest trends and challenges in the industry.

Check out the SEE Racking Inspections blog for more news and insights, and reach out to one of our expert team-members to discuss your racking safety needs.

Racking Inspection Training Beyond Basics: Advanced Strategies for Risk Mitigation

Racking Inspection Training

Warehouse safety is the most important aspect of warehouse management, with the integrity of racking systems playing a key role. Advanced training in racking inspection is an absolutely critical factor in pinpointing and mitigating potential hazards, thus safeguarding both personnel and inventory.

In this blog, we’ll shift the spotlight from elementary principles to more advanced strategies in racking inspection training, illustrating the importance of progressing from basic understanding to expert-level risk mitigation tactics.

The Bedrock of Racking Inspection Training

A robust grasp of racking inspection basics sets the stage for enhanced warehouse safety protocols. Initial training sessions arm inspectors with insights into typical vulnerabilities alongside skills for conducting comprehensive assessments.

Topics covered include:

  • Structural components of racking systems
  • Spotting wear or damage
  • Adhering to regulatory compliance standards

This foundational knowledge is crucial for adopting more sophisticated inspection techniques – you can’t learn the advanced techniques without first learning the basics, after all.

Uncovering Hidden Risks

Advanced training should show you how to identify concealed hazards. Inspectors learn to:

Recognize Subtle Risk Factors

Advanced racking inspection training equips inspectors with the skills to detect risk factors that might not be immediately evident. These subtle indicators of potential problems can include slight deformations in racking components, irregularities in floor anchoring, or early signs of corrosion that, if left unchecked, could compromise the structural integrity of the entire system.

Inspectors are taught to pay attention to:

  • Minor shifts in the alignment of racks that could indicate foundation issues or uneven load distribution.
  • Small cracks or bending in beam connectors which could lead to catastrophic failures under stress.
  • Signs of wear in protective coatings which could expose the material to accelerated corrosion.

This more nuanced observation capability is critical for early intervention, preventing minor issues from escalating into significant hazards.

Understand Operational Impacts on System Integrity

The day-to-day operations within a warehouse can exert various stresses on racking systems. Advanced training from a SEMA-approved racking inspector (or a member of staff who has been trained by one) goes into more detail on how different operational practices, such as the frequency and method of loading and unloading, can affect the durability and safety of these structures. For example, repeated impact from forklifts, overloading, or improper loading techniques can all gradually weaken the racking system.

Inspectors learn to:

  1. Assess the impact of operational workflows on racking stability and safety.
  2. Identify operational practices that may contribute to accelerated wear or potential system failure.
  3. Recommend adjustments in warehouse operations to mitigate these risks, ensuring the long-term integrity of the racking system.

Employ a Detailed Approach to Risk Detection

A detailed approach to risk detection involves a comprehensive examination of the racking system beyond what is visible at a glance. This thorough analysis includes checking for hidden defects that could undermine the racking’s performance or safety.

Advanced training emphasizes:

  • Technology, such as drones or sensors, should be used to inspect hard-to-reach areas or to conduct stress tests on the racking structure.
  • Systematic documentation of all findings for a historical record of the racking system’s condition which can be crucial for identifying patterns of wear or stress over time.
  • A regular schedule of detailed inspections that covers every component of the racking system, from the floor anchors to the load beams, ensuring that no part of the system is overlooked.

Through these expanded skills and knowledge, inspectors are better equipped to identify and address risks, contributing significantly to the safety and efficiency of warehouse operations.

Structural Analysis of Racking Systems

Here, we introduce methods for an in-depth structural analysis of racking systems, crucial for foreseeing and circumventing possible failures. The training focuses on:

  1. Assessing load distribution and structural integrity
  2. Evaluating environmental impacts on racking systems
  3. Anticipating issues to bolster safety

Harnessing Technology for Inspections

Incorporating technology significantly enhances inspection precision and efficiency. Training includes implementing and correctly using:

  1. Software tools
  2. Drones
  3. Sensors

These technological aids, combined with traditional methods, provide the most thorough appraisal of overall racking health.

Drafting Proactive Inspection Schedules

Switching to proactive inspection planning provides large reductions in system failure risks.

Discussion points include:

  • Strategies for preemptive risk management
  • Timely issue identification and resolution

Mastering Emergency Response

Even the most detailed and advanced racking inspections may not be enough – sometimes, issues are simply unavoidable. Advanced racking inspection training extends to emergency preparedness, highlighting rapid response and recovery techniques.

Key areas include:

  • Minimizing damage
  • Speeding up the recovery process

Building a Safety-First Culture

Advanced training underscores the importance of promoting a workplace ethos centred on safety and ongoing improvement.

Suggestions for cultivating this environment involve:

  1. Encouraging continuous education
  2. Engaging all staff in safety practices

Implementing Advanced Strategies

Adopting advanced risk mitigation strategies requires methodical planning. This guide outlines steps for transitioning to more sophisticated practices, ensuring a completely holistic approach to warehouse racking safety.

Advancing racking inspection training is vital for comprehensive risk mitigation and enhancing warehouse safety. Organizations can protect their workforce and assets by encouraging continuous learning and adopting more in-depth strategies, making advanced training an indispensable element in warehouse safety excellence.

For more insight into racking training or to arrange your own on-site training session, check out SEE Racking Inspections today.

How the SEMA Codes of Practice Ensure Warehouse Safety?

SEMA Codes of Practice Ensure Warehouse Safety

The Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association, commonly known as SEMA, is the de facto leader when it comes to safety standards in the warehousing sector. Founded to consolidate the collective expertise of storage equipment professionals, SEMA has been key in framing and promoting best practices within the industry.

Let’s take a look at SEMA’s work and why ALL warehouse managers and operators should adhere to the codes of practice…

The Need for Standardised Warehouse Safety Standards

The warehousing sector is diverse in terms of operations – from handling delicate electronics to bulky machinery, each facility demands unique storage solutions. In fact, the one thing that all warehouses have in common is the fact that safety should be a priority.

Without standardised safety protocols, the intricacies of individual operations could inadvertently breed inefficiencies or, worse, hazards. Storage equipment carries inherent risks – incorrect loading, wear and tear, or even a simple misalignment can result in catastrophic failures. Imagine a heavily loaded pallet rack collapsing due to a weakened joint or an aisle blocked because of a misjudged placement, posing threats not just to merchandise but also to human lives.

These common risks underline the pressing necessity for uniform safety guidelines, ensuring that irrespective of the warehouse’s operational nature, safety remains uncompromised.

Overview of the SEMA Codes of Practice

SEMA traces its origins back to an era when warehousing and storage industries were recognizing the escalating need for standardized guidelines. Over the years, as complexities grew and technologies evolved, there was a clear requirement for a unified approach to safety and efficiency in warehouse operations – which is why SEMA introduced its Codes of Practice.

The adoption of these codes wasn’t just a formality. It was a collective acknowledgement by industry stakeholders of the high importance of safety. These codes, over time, have cemented their position as the definitive guide for best practices in the storage equipment sector.

Central to SEMA’s Codes of Practice is a twofold objective:

  • To establish a clear and comprehensive guideline that ensures the design, installation, and use of storage equipment prioritizes human safety above all else.
  • To optimize warehouse operations, ensuring that the utilization of space and resources occurs efficiently without compromising on safety.

These objectives, at their core, are a testament to SEMA’s commitment to marrying efficiency with safety, guiding the industry towards a future where warehouses are not just productive but also inherently secure environments.

Key Provisions in SEMA’s Codes

Rack Design and Specifications

SEMA’s codes place a significant emphasis on the design principles of storage racks. This isn’t about aesthetics or space optimization – it’s primarily focused on ensuring these structures are robust and resilient. The codes specify materials, design standards, and engineering principles that need to be adhered to, ensuring that the racks can withstand not just the weight they bear but also external factors like seismic activities or accidental impacts.

Load Notices and Weight Limitations

SEMA’s codes come with clear directives about displaying load notices conspicuously – these notices are essential as they inform workers about the maximum permissible load, helping prevent overburdening that can lead to catastrophic failures.

Inspection Protocols

The codes prescribe periodic checks, both routine and in-depth, to ensure that every component of the storage equipment is in top shape. This provision also lays down guidelines on what constitutes a thorough inspection and how issues should be addressed.

Training Requirements for Rack Safety Awareness

Recognizing that the best safety equipment is only as good as the people using it, SEMA’s codes highlight the importance of training. The emphasis is on creating a workforce that’s well-versed in best practices and equipped to handle emergencies.

The Importance of Regular SEMA Racking Inspections

The day-to-day operations of a warehouse centre on the usability and reliability of the storage systems – which is why regular racking inspections are a core part of the codes of practice. SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors are professionals trained explicitly under the rigorous standards set by SEMA, committed to ensuring that racking systems remain free from potential hazards.

These inspectors have the expertise to ensure that every inch of a storage system, from bolts to beams, is scrutinized for safety compliance.

SEMA’s guidelines also lay down a clear inspection hierarchy – while routine checks by warehouse staff are encouraged daily or weekly, SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors are recommended for comprehensive annual assessments.

This tiered approach to inspections, coupled with their frequency, ensures that potential issues are nipped in the bud.

Warehouse Safety Training and Certification Under SEMA

SEMA has instituted robust training programs aimed at equipping individuals with the necessary skills to uphold and enforce safety standards. Central to these initiatives is the rack safety awareness program, a comprehensive course that educates participants about potential hazards, safety protocols, and best practices in storage equipment management.

Beyond mere awareness, SEMA raises the bar with its certification for rack inspectors. Those pursuing this accreditation are rigorously trained, undergoing a series of tests to validate their competence – once certified, they carry the distinction of being recognized experts in storage equipment safety.

However, the learning curve doesn’t stop at certification. SEMA ensures that its professionals remain abreast of industry evolutions and safety updates – showing once again the commitment to continuous learning and unyielding safety standards.

SEMA’s Influence in Driving Industry-wide Safety

SEMA’s dedication to ensuring the utmost safety in storage solutions has led to marked improvements in industry-wide practices. Collaborations with various organizations, from equipment manufacturers to regulatory bodies, have amplified their voice and reach – this cooperative approach nurtures a cohesive understanding of safety measures, driving the overall ethos of precaution and prevention.

Additionally, SEMA has been instrumental in advocating for stricter adherence to safety protocols. Through seminars, workshops, publications and other approaches, they consistently emphasize the non-negotiable nature of safety. Their influence is palpable – many warehouses and storage facilities now prioritize SEMA’s guidelines, ensuring their operations align with the best and safest practices.

In essence, SEMA’s unwavering commitment has been a catalyst, inspiring a pervasive culture of safety across the storage equipment landscape.

Continuous Evolution of SEMA’s Codes

When it comes to safety, static guidelines can quickly become obsolete. Recognizing this, SEMA has consistently prioritized the evolution of its codes of practice. One of the association’s core strengths lies in its adaptability to technological advancements – as new storage equipment and technologies emerge, SEMA revises its guidelines, ensuring they remain both relevant and rigorous.

Another critical factor driving the refinement of SEMA’s codes is its engagement with industry stakeholders. SEMA ensures its codes address real-world challenges and needs by maintaining a consistent feedback loop with warehouse operators, equipment manufacturers, and safety experts.

What Next for your Warehouse Safety?

The SEMA Codes of Practice are a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association to elevate safety standards across the warehousing sector. In an era where operational efficiency often takes precedence, it’s vital to remember that true efficiency can only be achieved in an environment where safety is taken as seriously as it should be.

Warehouse managers and operators are strongly urged to adopt and adhere to SEMA’s comprehensive guidelines. If you need further information or would like to schedule a SEMA-approved racking inspection, then get in touch with the team at SEE Racking Inspections today.

Top 10 Strategies for Enhancing Pallet Racking Safety in Your Warehouse

Pallet Racking Safety in Warehouse

Anyone who has ever been involved in warehouse operations in any capacity knows the overwhelming importance of safety. A safe warehouse not only reduces operational hiccups and financial losses but, more importantly, protects the lives and well-being of the staff.

At the heart of warehouse safety lies the pallet racking systems. These structures, often towering and laden with goods, represent a significant safety hazard if they are not looked after correctly – ensuring their stability and safe usage is absolutely central to the broader health and safety plans of your site.

Here are our top 10 strategies for enhancing the safety of the pallet racking in your warehouse.

1. Regular Pallet Racking Inspections

Consistent safety audits play a critical role in identifying vulnerabilities before they escalate into genuine hazards. Warehouse managers and safety personnel can proactively address concerns by detecting damage or misalignment early, thereby fortifying their operations against potential disasters. A SEMA-approved racking inspector will bring invaluable expertise to the table – a meticulous approach to racking inspections ensures a thorough evaluation, ensuring that your racking systems are not just compliant but optimized for long-term safe usage.

2. Proper Training for Staff

The foundation of any safe and efficient warehouse lies in the hands of its staff. Proper training for those using racking systems is of the highest importance, not just for the sake of productivity but also for safety. Operational training ensures that employees understand the nuances of loading, unloading, and organizing items, reducing the risk of overloading or mismanagement. Safety training, on the other hand, equips them with knowledge about emergency procedures and preventive measures.

Together, these facets of training empower staff to maintain the integrity of the racking system, contributing significantly to the overall safety of the warehouse environment.

3. Ensuring Proper Load Distribution

Uneven weight distribution on warehouse pallet racking systems poses a significant risk, not only to the integrity of the racking structure but also to the safety of warehouse staff. Improperly balanced loads can lead to rack collapses – causing injuries and damaging goods, as well as disrupting operations. To ensure even loading, it’s essential to regularly rotate stock (this helps in preventing long-term, uneven stress on certain rack sections) and spread the weight as evenly as possible.

4. Adherence to Pallet Racking Weight Limits

Overloading racks can compromise their structural integrity, leading to potential failures or collapses, which in turn, poses serious risks to personnel, goods, and equipment in the vicinity. Consistently exceeding weight limits can also shorten the lifespan of the racking system, resulting in costly replacements and downtime.

Ignoring these weight specifications not only endangers the safety of the warehouse environment but can also lead to significant financial implications from damaged goods and potential liability. Prioritizing this fundamental safety principle is vital for smooth and hazard-free warehouse operations. Always be sure to use load signs that clearly display weight limits at prominent places to remind staff, and adhere to the manufacturer guidelines for the weight limits specified for each shelf and the entire racking unit.

5. Installing Safety Equipment on Pallet Racking Systems

Equipping your pallet racking systems with the right safety equipment is an excellent strategy when it comes to minimizing warehouse accidents. Racking safety equipment includes:

  • Racking safety pins that secure beams in place and prevent unintentional dislodging.
  • Locks that ensure that only authorized personnel can make adjustments, minimizing the risks of improper alterations.
  • Pallet rack guards will provide a barrier against potential impacts from forklifts or other machinery, protecting the structural integrity of the racks.
  • Post protectors and frame guards can also work to mitigate the damage from potential impacts.

Each of these components plays a vital role in the overall safety strategy, acting as the first line of defense against unforeseen incidents and human errors. Investing in and maintaining these safety tools is a hallmark of a safety-conscious warehouse.

6. Maintaining Clear Aisles and Work Areas

A cluttered environment not only impedes the smooth operation of machinery like forklifts but also poses trip and fall hazards for staff. Keeping pathways clear, especially around pallet racking systems, is essential to ensure that loaded or unloaded items don’t inadvertently impact the racking. Spacious and clear aisles also provide quicker access during emergencies or evacuations – and proper organization and an emphasis on regularly scheduled clean-ups can dramatically reduce the chances of accidents.

Remember, a tidy warehouse is not just aesthetically pleasing – it’s a safer, more efficient workspace.

7. Prompt Damage Reporting and Repair

A proactive approach to warehouse safety involves not only spotting issues but addressing them promptly – any damage or signs of wear and tear on pallet racking systems should be reported immediately. Overlooking minor damages or postponing repairs will inevitably lead to more significant issues over time, compromising the entire racking system’s stability. Fostering a culture where employees feel responsible and are encouraged to report issues without fear of repercussions is vital.

Timely interventions, even for minor damages, can significantly prolong the life of your racking systems and ensure a safer working environment.

8. Utilizing Proper Shelving and Storage Techniques

Make sure that all of your staff are using the correct shelving and storage techniques – implementing the right methods not only maximizes storage space but significantly enhances safety. Using correctly sized pallets tailored to your racking system prevents overhanging items, reducing risks of falls or collisions, and equally vital is the practice of correct stacking, ensuring items are securely placed which will minimize wobbling or the potential for toppled goods.

Warehouse operators can ensure the longevity of their racking systems and provide a safer environment for their staff by taking the time to train staff in proper shelving techniques.

9. Effective Warehouse Layout Design

An intelligently designed warehouse layout is key – not just for the smooth flow of operations but also for enhancing safety. Optimizing the layout ensures that there’s a dedicated space for each function, reducing the chances of congestion and operational bottlenecks. Make use of clear pathways, designated loading and unloading zones, and strategic positioning of high-turnover items, and you will drastically reduce potential accidents.

You do not have to take on this burden yourself – leveraging the expertise of professional warehouse layout design experts can result in a layout that complements your specific operational needs while maintaining an unwavering focus on safety.

10. Emergency Protocols and Evacuation Plans

Every warehouse should prioritize having a clear and actionable emergency response plan. In the face of unforeseen events, such as racking collapses or other potential hazards (fires, gas leaks, etc.), an established protocol can significantly reduce risks and save lives. This goes beyond just having emergency exits – it’s about planning out routes, specifying assembly points, and marking safe zones. Of course, just having a plan isn’t enough – regular training sessions must be conducted to ensure all staff members are well-versed in how to react swiftly and efficiently during emergencies.

What Next?

Pallet racking safety isn’t just a regulatory requisite – it’s an essential element that underpins the functionality and longevity of a warehouse operation. Each strategy highlighted not only mitigates risks but also optimizes your workflow, ensuring both safety and efficiency go hand in hand.

Remember, proactive measures today can prevent significant disruptions and dangers tomorrow. If it’s been a while since your last safety check or you’re unsure about your warehouse’s current safety status, there’s no time like the present to act. Reach out to SEE Racking Inspections for a comprehensive safety assessment and gain peace of mind about your facility’s security and compliance.

Safety Guidelines for Warehouse Racking: Ensuring a Secure Work Environment

Warehouse Racking Safety Guidelines

When it comes to warehouse safety, no detail should be overlooked. Proper warehouse racking safety isn’t just about meeting regulations. It’s about ensuring a secure and productive work environment for everyone involved, that is what we are all about at SEE Racking Inspections. We are passionate about empowering warehouse managers and staff with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate warehouse operations safely and efficiently.

The Importance of Warehouse Racking Safety

Warehouse racking systems form the backbone of the logistics industry. These steel giants, such as warehouse pallet racking, rise high to accommodate an ever-increasing demand for goods. As a result, they’re often laden with weight and bustling with activity – a recipe for disaster if not carefully monitored and maintained. In fact, the HSE reported that in 2021/22, there were 16 fatal industries in the transport and storage sector, alongside a whopping 31,000 non-fatal injuries.

Accidents involving warehouse racking can be catastrophic, leading not only to potential injuries but also significant financial losses due to damaged stock and operational downtime. Consider the worst-case scenario, in which a member of staff is fatally injured in the warehouse, and the incident also included massive stock losses and equipment damage (for example, a forklift driver knocks over racking). This type of accident will cause tens of thousands of pounds of losses to the organisation, in addition to the irreplaceable loss of life – which will inevitably also have an immeasurable impact on general productivity and reputation.

If the warehouse management or safety is found to be responsible for the accident (due to lack of training or insufficient safety procedures and maintenance, for example), then there will also be hefty regulatory fines and possibly legal bills to contend with.

The good news? Most of these accidents are preventable with the proper safety guidelines in place and regular warehouse racking inspections. Understanding the potential risks is the first step towards creating a safer warehouse environment.

Common Risks Associated with Warehouse Racking Systems

Warehouse racking systems come with their own unique set of hazards. Knowing what these are can help you establish more robust safety procedures:

  • Improper Load Distribution: An unevenly distributed load can destabilise the racking system, leading to a potential collapse.
  • Exceeding Load Capacity: Overloading racking beyond its designed capacity puts undue stress on the structure, significantly increasing the risk of failure.
  • Damage from Handling Equipment: Forklifts and other heavy machinery can cause structural damage to the racking during loading and unloading.
  • Inadequate Training: Without proper training, employees may not understand the safe operation of equipment or how to properly load and unload items, resulting in unnecessary risk.

At SEE Racking Inspections, we’re committed to helping you mitigate these risks with our team of SEMA approved racking inspectors who can provide professional, knowledgeable advice and thorough racking inspections. We’re experts in the field, and we want to help you ensure your warehouse is as safe as it can be.

Safety Guidelines for Warehouse Racking Systems

Ensuring warehouse safety isn’t a one-time affair – it is an ongoing commitment that involves continuous assessment, training, and adherence to safety protocols. Here are a few key safety guidelines:

Regular Inspections

Schedule frequent warehouse racking inspections. On page 115 of the HSE document called HSG76, it is stated as follows ‘A technically competent person should carry out inspections at intervals of not more than 12 months.’

The team of SEMA approved racking inspectors at SEE Racking Inspections provide a comprehensive racking inspection service to help you identify potential risks and implement effective preventive measures.

View the HSG76 document on this link: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg76.pdf

Proper Training

Make sure all warehouse staff receive thorough training on warehouse safety guidelines, including the safe use of equipment and best practices for loading and unloading racking systems.

SEE Ltd provide one day training courses which can be held at your companies premises for your warehouse team. Alternatively, you can visit one of our training centres or attend a rack safety awareness course online.

Find more information on our training courses by clicking this link: https://seerackinginspections.co.uk/racking-inspection-courses/

Clear Markings

Ensure all racking systems are clearly marked with their maximum load capacity. This information should be prominently displayed and easy for all staff to understand. Find more information on this link: https://seerackinginspections.co.uk/load-signs/

Correct Use of Equipment

Ensure that all warehouse machinery and equipment are used correctly, adhering to safety procedures at all times.

Proper Maintenance

Regularly maintain your racking systems and replace damaged components as soon as they are identified.

Safety Equipment

Consider implementing additional safety equipment, such as anti-collapse mesh screens or upright protectors, to further enhance safety.

Let SEE Racking Inspections Help You

At SEE Racking Inspections, we know that every warehouse is unique, with its own set of challenges and risks. That is why we offer bespoke safety solutions tailored to your specific needs. Our team of SEMA approved racking inspectors can carry out a comprehensive warehouse racking inspection, provide safety training, and offer knowledgeable advice to help ensure you’re meeting all necessary safety guidelines.

We also understand that taking action on warehouse safety isn’t just about compliance; it’s about creating a work environment that values the well-being of its workers. It’s about showing your employees, stakeholders, and customers that you’re committed to operating responsibly and safely.

Remember, the costs of not investing in warehouse safety can be far greater than the costs of implementing a robust safety program – so don’t wait for an accident to happen: get ahead of the curve and make safety a priority today.

To find out how we can help you create a safer warehouse environment, fill in the form on our website to request a quotation for warehouse racking inspections. We look forward to working with you and contributing to a safer future for the logistics industry!

How to Improve Safety Awareness in the Workplace?

safety awareness

Workplace safety should be a top priority for any business, and knowing how to improve safety awareness is one of the most effective ways to ensure the well being of your employees.

No matter what industry you’re part of, health and safety is very much a primary concern of the modern business world. Every workplace has the potential for accidents to happen, but failing to improve awareness of safety risks will only increase the chance of an employee sustaining an injury or worse.

In this post, we’ll highlight a few of the ways you can make the workplace environment safer by improving the awareness of employees.

Invest Time and Effort into Training Employees

Improving the knowledge and training of employees is something that business owners should always be looking to do, especially when it concerns health and safety. This will not only give staff a more in-depth knowledge of the types of risks they could be exposed to, but it will also provide them with the necessary know-how to react accordingly if the worst should occur.

Training is especially vital in workplaces such as warehouses, where large, heavy objects are store and machinery. At Storage Equipment Experts, our
SEMA approved inspectors can provide racking inspection training that helps to improve the overall safety of the workplace, as well as teach employees how to carry out a risk assessment.

Proper Signage

Signs play a significant role in increasing awareness, maintaining safety and creating a sense of order. When it comes to workplace safety, one of the most simple and efficient methods of raising awareness is implementing the correct signage. Whether it’s a cone for a wet floor, a sign to highlight trip hazards or a sign to warn employees about forklifts being used in the area, increasing awareness will decrease the likelihood of accidents happening, because employees will be more aware of their surroundings.

Another disadvantage of failing to implement proper signage is that it makes you liable if an employee is injure and takes legal action. If the proper warnings aren’t in place to raise awareness of the potential risks, you are putting your employees in danger and could suffer the consequences.

Declutter and Clean

A messy workplace doesn’t just look unprofessional — it could also prove to be dangerous for your employees. Cleaning up after yourself is something that most people will have been taught as a child, but it can be easy for clutter and general untidiness to build up at work, especially in hectic environments.

Fortunately, this is an issue that doesn’t require a great deal of time and effort to fix. Getting into the habit of regularly tidying the workplace and paying close attention to areas where there is more potential for accidents (walkways, shelves, areas with machinery, etc.) will get your employees into a routine and decrease the risk of injury.

Risk Assessments and Inspections

The best way to increase safety awareness and efficiency is by carrying out a risk assessment and inspection. These can be perform by our SEMA-approved inspectors, who will assess the environment and ensure that your workplace health and safety complies with HSE standards. We also offer one-day racking inspection training courses that provide you and your employees with essential warehouse safety knowledge and advice, so that you can keep your workplace safe.

Both risk assessments and inspections are highly beneficial for raising awareness, because they highlight the areas of your workplace that are causing issues and could potentially be dangerous. The keen eye of an expert and the knowledge they possess will massively improve workplace safety — even more so when combined with regular internal safety inspections.

Are you looking to improve safety awareness in the workplace? We can help! At Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved inspectors help business owners enhance workplace safety with thorough racking inspections and employee training courses. Get in touch today to find out how we can improve your workplace safety.

What Are the Repercussions of Ignoring Warehouse Risks?

Warehouse Risks

If you discover that your warehouse safety isn’t up to scratch or that there are certain risks you could handle better, choosing to ignore them could have serious and potentially fatal repercussions.

Every business and workplace is different and, therefore, some are more dangerous than others. A warehouse is a place that demands awareness, training and risk assessments to ensure that everyone remains safe. With so many warehouse risks to consider, some business owners may opt to ignore them in an attempt to save time and money.

In this post, we’ll highlight a few of the ways ignoring warehouse risks could prove to be catastrophic and what you should be doing to tackle these risks.

Injuries and Fatalities

In the UK, hundreds of thousands of people injure themselves at work every year. In the warehousing sector, the most common injuries to be slips and trips, falls from a height, manual handling and struck by objects. As a business owner, you have a duty of care to anyone who sets foot in your warehouse. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of an accident occurring, you’ll be failing your employees if you choose to ignore warehouse risks.

If an accident happens, the worst case scenario is the death of an employee. This is not only devastating on a personal level, but, if it occurs because of negligent behaviour, it will bring your company into disrepute and you’ll likely face legal action.

At
Industrial Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved inspectors ensure that your workplace complies with health and safety requirements by carrying out thorough racking inspections. This will point out any current or potential warehouse risks and advise you on the best course of action to fix the problem.

You Could Face Legal Action

When it comes to risks and the potential for accidents, the warehousing sector is more vulnerable than most. It’s for this reason that you should do everything in your power to ensure that your employees are as safe as possible at all times. If an employee or anyone else is injure in your warehouse, they would be well within their rights to take you to court.

If it comes to light that you were aware of warehouse risks and chose to ignore them, didn’t provide employees with the necessary training or failed to carry out inspections or risk assessments, it’s safe to say you and your business could be in hot water. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may have to pay a substantial amount of compensation — this is especially the case if an employee is killed and their family believes you are responsible.

It Sends the Wrong Message to Employees

Deciding to ignore correct warehouse safety procedures is reckless, irresponsible and a sign of extremely poor leadership. It not only relays the message that ignoring health hazards is acceptable, but it also shows that you aren’t concerned about the wellbeing of your employees.

As a business owner and leader, you should ensure that your workplace is as safe as it can be. In a warehouse, there are risks — due to the storage of heavy objects and machinery, such as forklifts, being used — but with the correct precautions, such as inspections and training, you can create a much safer environment. Employees who feel safe and have faith in their leader will be much more comfortable and happy at work, and improved morale is a fantastic way to boost productivity and success.

Warehouse Safety Training and Inspections Are Vital

A vital aspect of any business is safety and, no matter if you work in a warehouse or an office, it’s something that should be a top priority. Here at Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved inspectors have an abundance of knowledge and experience that ensures that your warehouse’s safety isn’t undone by the risks presented by damaged or unsafe racking.

We also provide essential training to employees, which teaches the importance of professional racking inspections and how to perform a risk assessment. Our one-day course can be complet
e at one of our training centres or your workplace. Upon completion, you and your employees will have an enhanced awareness of warehouse safety and the knowledge to carry out internal racking inspections.

Warehouse risks pose a serious threat and are not something to be ignore. At Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved racking inspectors can ensure that your warehouse meets HSE standards. Get in touch today to find out how we can support your safety needs and concerns.

Why Warehouse Safety Is Essential for Small Businesses?

Warehouse Safety

 Good warehouse safety practices are vital for any company, but small businesses are particularly vulnerable if accident or injury should occur.

Thanks to advances in modern technology, most notable of which is the internet, businesses and organisations large and small now occupy a level playing field. While this makes it easier for companies to market themselves and make more sales through eCommerce, businesses are still vulnerable if they experience problems of a financial or legal nature — issues that could easily occur if proper warehouse safety isn’t maintained.

In this post, we’ll highlight why warehouse safety practices are essential for small businesses.

Poor Warehouse Safety Can Lead to Accidents

As a business owner, you should do everything in your power to ensure that your employees are safe at work. This can prove to be difficult in an environment such as a warehouse, but by implementing thorough inspections and training, you can massively decrease the likelihood of accidents happening.

Between 2016 and 2017, over 600,000 people were injured at work in the UK, 39,000 of whom worked in the transportation and storage sector. Accidents including slips and trips, manual handling incidents, and falling from a height are among the most common. These all have the potential to cause serious harm and even death. A death in the workplace is damaging for a company of any size, but, for small businesses especially, the impact it will have on your finances and reputation can be difficult to recover from.

At Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved inspectors carry out professional racking inspections to make sure your workplace complies with health and safety requirements and regulations. We also run one-day training courses that provide business owners and employees with vital warehouse safety knowledge and advice on keeping the workplace safe.

Damage to Products and Equipment is Costly

Small businesses who use warehouses to store their products could run into serious financial problems if they fail to maintain proper warehouse safety. For example, if your storage system fails or an employee accident causes damage to products because they aren’t properly store, they could prove expensive to replace. This is a notable risk for small businesses, which tend to work with much lower budgets, leaving little to no room for error.

Likewise, if damage to products means that you have to delay or cancel orders, it will have a negative impact on your company’s reputation. In the business world, and especially for local businesses, reputation is everything. If customers lose faith in your brand, they won’t hesitate to purchase what they need from your rivals.

Legal Problems Can Spell the End for a Company

When a large organisation appears in the media because an employee has been injure at work, it will leave them with a red face for a while and will make a nice dent in their finances — due to compensation payouts — but, ultimately, you’ll find in time that they recover. An example of this is Amazon, which faced $28,000 fines at the end of last year, due to two employees being kill in its warehouses in the space of two months.

While industry-leading companies may be able to endure legal issues and fines, these types of problems could spell the end for a small business. If an employee slips, trips, falls from a height or has an accident while using machinery (such as a forklift) in your warehouse, the legal fallout could prove to be costly. A small business works on a tight budget and relies heavily on its reputation and taking note of warehouse risks could be a killing blow for what is otherwise a successful company.

Are you a small business owner with concerns about warehouse safety? Here at Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved racking inspectors will ensure that your warehouse equipment meets HSE standards. Get in touch today to find out how we can support your safety needs.

Warehouse Safety Ideas: 5 Steps to Reduce Risk

Warehouse Safety Ideas

Discover simple yet effective methods of reducing the risk to employees working in your warehouse safety, creating a more secure working environment.

A safe warehouse environment is paramount to your business’s survival. If proper safety procedures aren’t in place, accidents can become commonplace in the warehouse environment. The scale of the workforce involved, the machinery used, the extensive use of racking systems and the size of the structure, along with the often heavy items contained within it, all add up to a workplace that is inherently hazardous.

Health and safety problems that result in worker injury or death can destroy a business.

Across the globe, forklift operation regularly ends in injury or fatality — in America alone, 20,000 people are injured by the vehicles each year. Here in the UK, each of the top five most common causes of workplace fatalities has the potential to be caused by the warehouse environment. These are falling from a height, being struck by a moving object, getting hit by a moving vehicle, being trapped under collapsed equipment (such as racking) and death by workplace machinery.

Unfortunately, accidents are sometimes unavoidable. However, there are plenty of steps businesses can take to avoid health and safety breaches that result in legal liability, and live up to ethical codes that mean their workers are secure in their environment.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we are specialists in warehouse safety. We’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country and seen every kind of setup there is. With that knowledge in mind, here are our top five warehouse safety ideas to reduce the risk of accident or injury:

1. Create a Clear Movement System

Warehouses are notorious for containing big pieces of machinery, large crates, and rows and rows of shelving and racking. Navigating this environment can be tricky, especially without a clear line of sight. Such obstacles greatly increase the risk of collision between workers.

This kind of problem can be negated by creating a movement plan. Similar to a road or car park, create a structure of mobility that means you can only move in certain directions through certain areas of the warehouse. These could be one-way passages or the creation of lanes.

By creating a clear path of movement, you reduce the chance of collision by making sure everyone is moving in the same direction. Sign post this warehouse safety idea clearly. Make sure the layout is not only intuitive and easy to follow, but that there is always visible information available about what the flow of traffic is for those who aren’t familiar.

2. Racking Inspections by SEMA Approved inspectors

Racking fills warehouses. Sometimes it can cover near every inch of available space.

Racking houses all your goods and is an essential piece of equipment workers will regularly come into contact with. It is also made of heavy materials and holds heavy objects, some of which can be found at great height.

Unstable or damaged racking has the potential to cause serious injury or worse. The HSE — the British governing body of health and safety enforcement — recommends that qualified inspectors carry out racking reviews at least once a year. We are also strong advocates of this advice.

Ensuring your racking is secure can avoid a lot of preventable problems. Wear and tear, damage and poor initial construction can lead to weaknesses in racking, which in turn can lead to falls, collapse and instability, putting workers at risk.

Hire a SEMA approved racking inspector, such as us at Storage Equipment Experts, to make sure your warehouse racking is safe to use.

3. Eliminate All Clutter

Any unnecessary clutter has the potential to be a trip hazard, cause entanglement, result in somebody becoming trapped or cause injury due to falling objects. These are dangers that can easily be avoid by presenting workers with a strict policy on maintaining a clean and clear working environment.

Line of sight is essential to avoiding many warehouse problems, as is organisation. Create a strategy that ensures everything has an assign place to be stored and that storage is done properly without creating a jumbled mess. A mountain of misaligned crates is a disaster waiting to happen. If there is no place for appropriate storage, allocate areas of the warehouse for objects to be place — out of the way of usual activity — until a secure, permanent home can be found.

4. Employ Automation and Smart Tech

According to HSE, falls from height are the second highest cause of death in the workplace. This isn’t particularly surprising, since working from a height carries great risk. However, there are ways you can reduce the need for employees to carry out work at a height, and this starts with smart technology.

Drones are slowly being introduce to warehousing as automated tools for stock checking. The technology is program to check for items, locate packages and even transport them, if possible. This means your workers don’t have to reach high places to identify or move stock.

There are other ways you can utilise smart tech for warehouse safety. Amazon recently patented a device which tracks hand movements and directs employees to the right place, helping them to avoid moving the wrong items or items they don’t have the equipment to hold. Tracking movements also allows you to monitor employees and ensure they are following safety regulations properly.

5. Educate Everyone on Warehouse Safety Ideas and Rules Regularly

Things change, workplaces evolve, new people arrive and people get complacent. Due to the adaptive nature of work and warehousing, a one-off training process in safety is not sufficient. Reminders and updates are require to keep workers on their toes and ensure they are following the correct procedure. Provide regular training sessions that refresh key skills and safety information. If new systems do come into place, make sure everyone is aware and up-to-date.

Time to up your warehouse safety? Contact Storage Equipment Experts today to discuss how we can support your safety needs. Our SEMA approved racking inspectors ensure your warehouse equipment meets the standards defined by HSE.

Basic Warehouse Safety Rules: How to Ensure Employee Compliance?

Warehouse Safety Rules

Are your employees ignoring basic warehouse safety rules? Follow our expert advice to ensure staff remain compliant at all times.

The term ‘health and safety’ has developed a bit of a stigma in recent years. Overcomplicated rules and regulations, seemingly inane workplace policies and other practices have led many to see the HSE — the UK’s governing body of health and safety management — as a bloated creation of unnecessary safety enforcement.

The result is that many people ignore the health and safety rules their workplaces have put in place. It is not uncommon to find employees disregarding company policy because they don’t respect the significance of the health and safety measures established.

Of course, there is no smoke without fire. Health and safety rules have taken some steps in the wrong direction in the past. A 2011 study outlined a number of ‘pointless’ EU laws that forced British businesses into costly and unnecessary risk avoidance strategies.

However, overzealous laws do not mean health and safety is completely without merit. Workplaces like warehouses carry a risk of injury and even death. Proper and appropriate health and safety is critical to avoiding such risks, which means employees must comply with company policy.

But in a world where health and safety is known for being mostly superfluous, how do you achieve this?

Encourage High-Priority Safety Culture

What does encouraging a safety culture mean? It means getting your employees to understand the importance of basic warehouse safety rules and why they are in place. Stressing the significance of your health and safety rules is imperative to workers actually understanding why they exist.

A strong way to do this is to show examples of potential injuries that can occur should health and safety rules not be followed. If you can find real-life circumstances and examples that illustrate your point, use them.

The aim is to cultivate a safety-conscious culture within your warehouse, where your staff not only respect the policies in place, but actively work to ensure they are followed. Encouraging employees to report breaches is another tactic you can employ. This means that not only will you find out if people are ignoring rules, but that workers will be more likely to follow them as there are more eyes observing their actions.

Avoid Unnecessary Safety Regulations

Part of making sure people respect and understand the importance of your basic warehouse safety rules is ensuring you’re not implementing unnecessary or pointless policies.

You must follow HSE law and duty of care when constructing workplace regulations. However, if you overstep the mark and go beyond what you have to do, you may find employees become less concerned with following certain rules.

If some rules are broken because they are deemed ridiculous, all rules are at risk of being ignored.

Create a dialogue with your staff about health and safety rules. Find out what they think about the regulations in place and work together to create policies that meet legal requirements, while also establishing regulations that employees feel are acceptable and legitimate. Involving your staff helps them engage more with the rules and ensures they place more significance on following them.

Conduct Regular Training

Part of compliance is knowing what you actually have to do, yet confusion at work is not uncommon. In fact, 50% of workers aren’t entirely sure of all their responsibilities. If employees aren’t even clear on what their job is, how can they be clear on all elements of health and safety?

Regular training works to accomplish two things:

  1. It refreshes workers on basic warehouse safety rules and ensures they are aware of exactly what is expected of them;
  2. It ensures they are aware of any new additions to your warehouse’s health and safety policy, such as changes in how to perform certain tasks.

Training means that all your workers know how to be compliant. If they know how to comply, they can’t break the rules by mistake.

Carry Out Spot-Checks

Training is important for compliance, but it’s important to know if your education platform is working.

Conduct spot-checks to find out. This involves not only randomly monitoring employees in the normal work environment, but also testing them. Ask your staff questions about how they would complete certain tasks that require basic warehouse safety rules to be followed.

Random spot-checks can lead to resentment if done improperly, so be sure to take an unbiased approach. This means monitoring and testing all individuals in the same way, no matter what position of authority they hold.

Ensure Consequence for Non-Compliance

Unless there is a health and safety breach as a result of negligence or non-compliance, there is no legal requirement that somebody face punishment as a consequence for ignoring health and safety.

That responsibility falls to the business.

Instigating a clear policy for non-compliance is an unfortunate but necessary task when it comes to combating disregard for health and safety rules. If your employees see no consequence for breaking rules, other than a slap on the wrist, then they’ll continue to do so. In continuing with such behaviour, they put others and themselves at serious risk.

Employees who do not comply with your basic warehouse safety rules must be disciplined accordingly, with punishments appropriate to the severity of the misconduct.

Reward Those Who Follow Basic Warehouse Safety Rules

Those who break the rules should be punished, but those who follow them shouldn’t be forgotten. Reward and incentive schemes are powerful tools for compliance and improving overall productivity. Staff who receive rewards for their efforts are, on average, 50% more engaged with their workplace than those who don’t, and are more motivated, too.

Engagement with basic warehouse safety rules is crucial to guaranteeing compliance. Having people motivated to comply is just a bonus. But how do you reward an employee for following the rules?

Every workplace will have their own unique reward system, as only you will know how to best incentivise your staff. However, here are a few tips. Reward those who:

  • Regularly pass spot-checks
  • Report safety issues without prompting
  • Are observed carrying out appropriate safety processes
  • Are reported to be following regulations properly by floor managers.

Warehouse staff need education in all types of safety procedures, including the use of racking and storage equipment. Our SEMA approved racking inspectors at Storage Equipment Experts can offer training on staying safe at work.