Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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Is this your problem? Storage equipment manufacturer’s association

Our first question this month looks at the precautions you should take when moving racking. Our second question looks at the maximum height of racking and asks if there should be a set distance it should be away from a working area.

SEMA-logoMoving Racking, What to look out for

Q. I am looking to have some 5.5mt x 1100mm racking moved. Could you please tell me if there is a minimum distance from the roof, lighting or walls.

A. You should always have sufficient clear distance between the pallets being placed on the racking and any obstructions such as walls, roof or lighting and there should be a defined minimum clearance for the safe operation of the storage system.

This defined minimum clearance depends on the specific method of operation in the warehouse and it is also important that an allowance is made for the location and movement of the obstruction or load including:-

• The build tolerance and possible movement of the racking system under load

• The tolerance in the placement location of the load on the racking and while being deposited or retrieved.

• The tolerance of the size of the loads being placed and any possible movement of the load when stored.

• The tolerance of the location of the obstruction and possible movement of the obstruction

• Often during repositioning of racking the opportunity of reconfiguration of beam levels is also taken. If this is the case then revised carrying capacities will likely be generated and new load signs need to be available to tell operators how to use the repositioned racking safely

• Ensure that the repositioned racking does not create entrapment points between fixed obstructions and pallets or loads that are placed to a positioning tolerance. If it is physically possible for entrapment to happen then no matter how unlikely it will occur on some occasion.

Companies have a general duty of care to their employees who will work in and around the racking and should ensure that any alterations or movement of the racking is considered and carried out by competent people who will leave a stable structure suitable for purpose after any alterations have taken place.

SEMA would recommend that the work was carried out by suitably trained installers as errors in the installation can lead to a dangerous racking. Often a specialised racking contractor would wish to demonstrate his competence by a qualification such as the SEIRS (Storage Equipment Installers Registrations Scheme) operated by SEMA. This would be seen as good practice and the scheme is supported by the HSE. However, it is open to anyone to demonstrate competence by other means if they so wish.

Maximum height of racking

Q. Could you please advise the maximum height of racking and are there any statutory regulations regarding height of racking and distance it should be away from an operating area?

A. As far as SEMA is aware there is no statutory regulation in the UK regarding the height of racking, though obviously there is a general duty of care on all employers to ensure that operations in one area do not cause hazards for those working in this area or in adjacent areas. There is also a practical limitation as to what can be achieved with conventional rack building techniques.

Each situation needs to be considered in its own right. While local statutory authorities might be interested in boundary conditions during the planning process, this again would depend upon individual circumstances and a local authority might place a restriction on the height of a building and therefore the racking within this purely for aesthetic reasons.  Obviously the consequences of a fully laden pallet falling from high level could cause serious consequences and therefore the layout and operating systems should be designed so that this possibility is minimised. If this risk cannot be eliminated completely it would be common sense to keep areas where a lot of people will be working clear of other storage operational areas.

In this country we have seen a series of warehouses constructed over the past 20 years going well over 30 metres in height and these generally have a good safety record. Care does need to be taken in the design to ensure that the structures and the materials handling equipment are appropriate to the task. If this is done there seems to be no reason to apply a particular arbitrary limitation on height.

SEMA is delighted to be working with WLN on the storage Question and Answer Column which is published in WLN on a monthly basis. On the WLN website is a list of previously published columns which we hope you find useful.

Please note that SEMA Users Club members also have access to a comprehensive range of additional storage related questions and answers.

SEMA Technical Enquiries

We hope you find the above articles, and those in previous editions, interesting. If you have a query send it to us by fax or email and we will do our best to have it answered by one of our technical experts.

SEMA Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection Courses

SEMA runs a one-day safety course on Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection. These courses are aimed at end users, giving an in-depth look at the need for inspections, how to conduct an assessment and what actions to take when this is completed. These courses are normally held at the SEMA headquarters but arrangements can be made to hold them at the delegates’ premises.

SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors Qualification

This qualification is aimed at professionals who conduct rack surveys as an integral and significant part of their duties. It involves delegates in undertaking an in-depth SEMA Course, together with an examination and practical assessment. CPD will be an important part of the qualification, demonstrating to end users that SEMA Approved Inspectors maintain a high professional standard.

SEMA Publications

SEMA has 26 publications in stock – Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Offices. For further information on these documents contact SEMA or visit our website, and click on ‘Codes of Practice’.


SEMA runs a USERS Club designed to be of benefit to purchasers and users of storage equipment. Members receive newsletters, access to specialised events and discounted rates on publications and codes of practice.

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