Your pallet racking system can keep your warehouse running like clockwork – but only if it’s safe and compliant. Without a responsible approach to installation, management and maintenance, you could be raising your odds of stock losses, on-the-job incidents and punitive HSE fines. 

When reviewing a site, HSE inspectors actively look for breaches across the industry’s key safety issues – slips and trips, manual handling, musculoskeletal disorders, working at height and workplace transport. Sub-standard storage and racking systems can ramp up these risks, so it’s worth taking pre-emptive action before your next visit

Whether you’re starting from the ground up or safeguarding your existing system, our warehousing sector specialists guide you through your compliance priority list:  

  • Choose the right contractor – Use an accredited SEMA-approved racking contractor to carry out system installation or repair work. Ask for certificates and documentation from your supplier to check they meet the required standards recommended by the HSE.
  • Meticulously plan your layout – From the very start, carefully design your racking installation to ensure the system fits the available space, considering any additional structures within. This essential step optimises your working area and cuts the risk of costly construction errors. 
  • Keep your system in good repair – Once racking is installed, maintain its integrity and staying power through proper use and purpose-built protection at critical structural points. These extra measures might include heavy-duty guards around legs and footings, which are frequent targets for accidental forklift impacts. The racking should never be climbed on, overloaded or built beyond the recommended height.
  • Perform routine checks – Complete a simple checklist on a regular basis to assess for signs of wear, tear and visible damage. Your inspection should make sure fixings, uprights and diagonal and horizontal beams are in a safe condition. Maximum load signage should be in place and clearly visible to staff.
  • Inspect stored pallets – Different pallet types are compatible with different racking systems, so confirm you’re using the correct sort. During your survey, remove any damaged pallets and transfer the stock to a safe substitute. 
  • Safely store liquids – Keep liquids on ground level and never above head height. This common-sense tactic helps to efficiently identify spillages, clear them quickly and avoid the cost of operational disruption and downtime.
  • Remove fall-from-height risks – Items that sit above head height should be secured to their pallet and banded or strapped for stability to prevent falls from height. Similarly, build safety into your system from the outset by installing extra backing protection, a wired net or steel mesh to eliminate crushing hazards from unstable pallets and stock. To further reduce falling risks, ensure goods aren’t stacked over capacity or pushed through the rear of racking during loading.   
  • Clear the way for machinery – When storing pallets at height, keep them free of loose wrapping or strapping to minimise entanglement hazards and allow machinery to move freely around the system.
  • Train your team – Educate your staff on the racking risks within your business and encourage them to report damage and dangers as soon as they spot them. Show that you value their safety – and take their vigilance seriously – by rectifying issues as quickly as possible. 

Raising H&S standards within your warehousing operation doesn’t need to be complicated. We work across the industry to help businesses reduce accident risks, cultivate stronger safety cultures and take a proactive path to compliance. 

Our health and safety professionals are always on hand to discuss your key challenges and shape customised, cost-effective plans to solve them. Have a zero-obligation chat with a sector specialist today on 0345 257 4015 or email safetyadvice@southalls.com.