Racking Inspections

What is PUWER?

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.

What is an expert PUWER racking inspection?

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.

pallet racking
We specialise in warehouse racking safety audits

Why do I need an expert PUWER racking inspection?

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.

How often do I need an expert PUWER racking inspection?

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.

pallet racking
Our inspections will keep you safe throughout the year

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.

How is BS EN 15635:2008 relevant to me and my business?

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.

What are my responsibilities as a user of pallet racking and storage systems?

The responsibilities of the user are provided in great detail in BS EN 15635:2008. A summary of these is shown below:

  1. Suitably trained staff for their role;
  2. A suitable environment of use that is in accordance with the specification of the OEM of the racking, e.g, dry, unpolluted, internal or external location etc.
  3. Information of the limitations in the specification on which the storage equipment has been designed. i.e. the characteristics of the load.
  4. Verification of correct assembly and installation erection in line with manufacturer instructions.
  5. Suitable system design for the application
  6. Suitable handling equipment ensuring the turning radius of the lift truck does not exceed the radius on which the rack layout has been designed.
  7. Suitable load make up accessory for unit load so that the goods carried on the pallet are stable and within the specification of the system.
  8. Good housekeeping for access.
  9. Formal change management for alterations to the storage systems
  10. Where appropriate, provision of a mangement system that allows different design loads to be calculated for differing configurations of the compartment loads, bay loads or runs of bay loads;
  11. Evidence of consideration of the rack foundation properties
  12. Where appropriate, evidence that the site location of the calculation of wind, snow and seismic loads is correct;
  13. Evidence of consideration of the rack "foundation" properties.
  14. Evidence of suitable heating and lighting over the storage area;
  15. Verification that suitable upright protection is provided where necessary;
  16. To keep and maintain records of regular visual and expert inspections of the racking or shelving structure for the purposes of compliance with PUWER.

What are adjustable pallet racking systems?

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.

What is crane racking?

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.

What about the conveyors and other mechanical handling equipment?

Crane equipment used to transport the unit load to be stored...