Racking Inspections

If you use racking and storage systems in your workplace, you need to know about racking safety inspections. These are comprehensive assessments of the condition and compliance of your racking structure, which can help you prevent accidents, comply with regulations, and improve efficiency.

What are racking safety inspections?

A racking inspection is a thorough evaluation of the racking structure. It applies to pallet racking, mezzanines, and other storage systems that may be vulnerable to damage from work activities such as forklift operations, material handling tasks, and vehicle movements.

The main objectives of a racking safety inspection are:

  • Damage Assessment: To check for any existing damage to the storage structures, such as cracks, bends, dents, or corrosion.
  • Risk Identification: To highlight any areas within the system that are at risk of damage or failure, such as weak points, overloading, or misalignment.
  • Compliance Check: To ensure that the operating practices and storage systems comply with current regulations and codes, such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHASAWR 1999) and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER 1998).
  • Load Assessment: To assess the load capacity of the racking system based on regulatory requirements, build types, and construction.

Why are racking inspections needed?

Racking inspections are needed for several reasons:

  • Legal Obligation: Employers have a duty of care under MHASAWR to carry out risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace. Racking and storage equipment should be inspected just like any other work equipment as laid out by PUWER. Carrying out these checks should identify risks and early signs of failure, and prevent accidents and enforcement actions, fines, and penalties.
  • Safety Assurance: Unsafe or damaged racking has the potential to cause serious harm if it fails. Rack collapses can result in injuries, fatalities, property damage, product loss, and business disruption. Racking inspections can help prevent these incidents by identifying and rectifying any issues before they become critical.
  • Efficiency Improvement: Racking inspections can also help improve the efficiency and productivity of your storage operations by ensuring that your racking system is optimised for your needs. By checking the load capacity, design, and installation of your racking system, you can ensure that it is suitable for the type and quantity of goods you store, as well as the equipment and methods you use to access them.

Generally racking is inspected annually, however this is dependent on environment, use, and risk of damage. A risk assessment by a competent person can help with this decision, it may be that if racking is at higher risk of damage, inspections will need to be carried out more frequently (HSG 76).

When should a professional racking inspection be carried out?

  • Annually or as per risk assessment
  • After installation
  • If the racking has been moved or altered in anyway.
  • Following any incidents of potential overloading or damage.


What laws and regulations govern racking safety inspections?

The main laws and regulations that govern racking inspections in the UK are:

  • MHASAWR 1999: The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to conduct risk assessments to identify hazards and take appropriate measures to control them.
  • PUWER 1998: The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 require employers to ensure that work equipment is suitable for its intended use, maintained in a safe condition, inspected regularly, and used by competent persons.
  • HSG 76: The HSE guidance document on warehousing and storage provides practical advice on how to comply with MHASAWR 1999 and PUWER 1998 in relation to racking and storage systems. It covers topics such as design, installation, maintenance, inspection, loading, operation, training, and documentation.

What needs to be completed in between formal inspections?

Formal inspections by a competent person should be done at least annually or more frequently depending on the risk level; in the interim you should also conduct the following activities:

  • Immediate Reporting: Employees should immediately report any observed damage or safety concerns to the responsible person. This requires staff to have awareness and understanding of how to identify issues, achieved through instruction and training.
  • Visual Inspection: The responsible person should carry out regular inspections in line with the risk assessment. These inspections should be documented. Monthly inspections are usually enough.

Whilst experience of storage operations is valuable, it’s important to recognise that the specific expertise of a competent professional is required to carry out in-depth assessments. A professional inspection assesses damage to columns, bracing, and beams based on established tolerances. This rigorous inspection provides recommendations for repair and replacement, and ensures compliance.

We can help you with:

  • Risk Assessment: We can help you identify the hazards and risks associated with your racking system and determine the frequency and scope of inspections required.
  • Inspection: We can conduct formal inspections of your racking system using the latest tools and techniques and provide you with a detailed report and action plan.
  • Training: We can provide you with training on how to conduct visual inspections, report damage, and follow safe operating practices.

Loading notices and creating safer workplaces:

All racking systems, including shelving, require a load notice under HSE guidelines. A proper load notice informs employees of the load capacity of the system.

Prioritising the health and safety of employees is a cornerstone of good business operation. By investing in safety practices, such as those offered by Arion, you can create a safer working environment.

Remember, a safe workplace benefits everyone and adherence to inspection standards and safety protocols is a collective responsibility.

If you are interested in our racking inspection service, please contact us today for a free quote. We look forward to hearing from you.

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