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Does the Health & Safety Executive provide guidance re Warehouse Pallet Racking?

Article added Friday April 19th, 2013

Read our Updated FAQ on Health and Safety guidelines for dismantling pallet racking here.

Warehouse pallet racking does not contain any moving parts, so may be construed to be less dangerous than other types of machinery. However, UK Health & Safety legislation recognises the dangers that are involved in using warehouse storage equipment, and the publication Warehousing and storage: A guide to health and safety HSG76 sets out to inform us about these. You can see this short guide at the following web address:

The aim of this short article is to supplement the information in our article What are the Health & Safety issues involved in pallet racking installations? by outlining some of the content of this important HSE publication and adding a few comments to it.

'does the health and safety executive provide guidance' article 'does health and safety executive provide guidance' article

Any warehouse contains a number of dangers to its users, and the guide gives emphasises five of these:

  • Slips and trips – often seen as trivial, but potentially the cause of serious injury
  • Manual handling – the attempt to handle articles that are either too big or too heavy can result in personal injury.
  • Work at height – here we are talking about the dangers of working on ladders or steps, or of using equipment in an inappropriate manner.
  • Vehicles in and around the warehouse. This encompasses the dangers of vehicles and plant causing damage to equipment by collision, or – indeed – injuring people by colliding with them.
  • Moving or falling objects. This danger can be caused by a variety of circumstances. For example, goods may be stored in an inappropriate manner, or the wrong item of plant may be used to move goods.

So how should you protect yourself, as a warehouse owner, and the people who use your warehouse, from the problems caused by dangerous occurrences?

Well, prevention is always better than cure, so your approach to these issues should be to institute a strict workplace procedure in your warehouse. HSG76 contains some guidance on this, as did our previous article. It is worth reiterating, however, that the list of measures that you need to consider includes the following:

  • Vehicle and plant drivers operating in your warehouse – both your own and visiting –  need to work to strict rules governing their activities. These will typically cover, for instance, where and when they can drive, and their speed of travel. It may also be necessary to use a one way system.
  • Work areas must be kept clear, and any spillages or obstructions must be cleared up at once.
  • Any damage to warehouse racking or other equipment must be identified and repaired without delay. Repairs must be carried out in a professional manner, to industry approved standards.
  • Risk assessments must be carried out when planning the operation, and updated in the light of experience and changes to procedure. The conclusions drawn from risk assessments need to be incorporated into your warehouse procedures.
  • Regular inspections need to be carried out in the warehouse, to identify any damage to equipment, or dangerous areas or procedures. There needs to be a laid down system of reporting, and a chain of command to deal with any issues that are identified.

These are just a few of the matters that you need to consider in complying with the Health & Safety aspects of your warehouse storage operation. The task may seem rather daunting, and it is apparent that you will need to invest a lot of time and effort in planning. However, there is help available for you.

SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association) is an organisation that is committed to making sure that warehouse racking installations are safe, and to promoting the safe use of this equipment. If you arrange for your warehouse pallet racking to be inspected regularly by a SEMA trained inspector, and you follow his / her recommendations, this should ensure that you are following best practice.

Here at Pallet Racking Systems we have many years of experience in the safe planning, supply, installation, maintenance and dismantling of pallet racking and other warehouse equipment, and we are always happy to help with any warehouse racking matters. Why not contact us today?

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