PUWER stands for the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. It puts a statutory duty upon the user of work equipment to ensure that it is safe to use and maintain.
PUWER includes a duty to inspect work equipment at suitable intervals where deterioration may result an increase in risk, racking systems are particularly vulnerable. The warehouse and storage environments can be harsh and unforgiving. It is foreseeable that this will result in damage over a period of time. Therefore, PUWER requires that pallet racking inspections be carried out.
All businesses operate under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. In order to conform with this a business must take a systematic approach to identify and reduce/eliminate and manage risks within its operation. The use of storage equipment like racking involves well documented risks and so the user is required to ensure they meet their responsibilities. These are detailed in the appropriate standard BS EN 15635:2008.
There is no fixed frequency for the basic visual inspections of pallet racking systems but it is normal for this to be weekly or bi weekly. This interval should be based on the situational factors such as; method of operation together with the dimensions of the warehouse, the equipment used and personnel involved, as all of these affect the likelihood of damage occurring to the structure.
However, the expert inspection will be carried out at least annually regardless of the above factors.
Where the load obscures the racking structure the expert racking inspector may recommend that another inspection is required at some interval less than the normal 12 month period. This is particularly common in storage systems with large loads and high occupancy levels. In this case it may be more appropriate to use a rolling programme approach (see Expert Inspection of Large Automated Racking Systems)
All defects identified during the PUWER racking inspection shall be reported immediately to the PRSES so that all relevant persons can receive formal instruction on the safe operation of the racking system.
This standard is not the law. However, it does provide a source of current best practice that can be used to evidence that your business has taken measures, so far as is reasonably practicable, to identify and control the risks relating to the racking and related warehouse storage systems.
The responsibilities of the user are provided in great detail in BS EN 15635:2008. A summary of these is shown below:
Adjustable Pallet Racking (APR) is any steelwork structure consisting of frames and beams adjustable in height, specifically designed to support load make up accessories and unit loads.
Crane racking is a type of pallet racking arranged as a very narrow aisle system and operated by a stacker crane running on a rail. It is normally laterally supported by the racking structure. In this case the duty to inspect applies not only to the racking but also to the crane and its associated safeguards.
Crane equipment used to transport the unit load to be stored...
2021 PUWER Racking™