The recent racking collapse in a cheese warehouse in Shropshire has highlighted the need for companies to carry out regular rack inspections in addition to the annual inspection which companies are legally required to do.
The incident saw the entire racking system, which was up to 18 metres high and contained thousands of 20kg boxes of cheese, “collapse like dominoes” trapping one worker for over 9 hours.
And whilst there is no reason to suggest the transport company which owned the warehouse facility did not fulfil their legal obligations to create a safe working environment for its employees, the collapse is a frightening reminder of how important it is to ensure your racking is design, installed and inspected by a professional supplier.
With each pallet weighing approximately 1300kg of cheese, the load capacity of the racking system is such that careful design would be required to minimise the risk.
As you would expect within a chilled storage facility, aisle width has been minimised to improve space utilization and reduce the cost per pallet, however, this places a huge responsibility on the forklift driver to work safely – as a serious collision could have catastrophic effects.
To ensure the ongoing safety of the racking and indeed the working environment, the racking should also be regularly inspected by the employees and any defects or issues, however minor, reported immediately to the senior management team.
Of course, a full racking inspection should be carried out at least once per year by a qualified racking inspector, who will provide a detailed report on the condition of the racking with any recommendations for upgrades or repairs.
To find out more about the racking collapse in a cheese warehouse and steps you can take to prevent something similar in your own warehouse, click here