Warehouse Racking

Racking Inspections

If you already have a racking system, we can assess its safety and suitability with a detailed inspection. The costs of a health and safety incident or your system being unsafe to use could be huge. Our qualified surveyors can help you prevent this by carrying out a thorough rack inspection.

What is a Racking Inspection?

A pallet racking safety inspection (often referred to as a racking inspection) is a visual inspection of warehouse and storage systems (typically pallet racking or mezzanine floors), taken to ensure that the racking is safe to use. Racking should be inspected at regular intervals by a member of the warehouse team, as part of the general health and safety processes of the warehouse. In addition, at least annually, a thorough racking inspection must be made by a qualified racking inspector.

The regularity of these inspections will be based on a risk assessment made by the Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS).

Warehouse Systems Limited offers SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) qualified racking inspections.

Before your inspection:

  • Your Warehouse PRRS should be aware of when your next racking inspection is due and schedule it in advance of this. WSL can book inspections around your requirements with as little as one week’s notice; we can then work around your warehouse schedule for your convenience.
  • If WSL has not worked in your warehouse before, it is ideal that you can provide a drawing of the warehouse so that WSL can deliver an accurate quotation for the service. If you don’t have drawings available, we can discuss your requirements prior to the inspection and provide a quotation accordingly.

The inspection process:

  • Most racking inspections will be carried out from ground level, though our inspectors can offer high level inspections if customers require. These are achieved by using equipment such as a scissor lift to view racking at all heights. Our inspectors are IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) certified.
  • The inspector will work systematically, walking up and down each aisle in turn. They will be checking the racking components (i.e. uprights and beams) and making a note of any that are damaged or missing subject to the SEMA guidelines. They will also look at any potential issues that could cause accidents; such as any incorrectly stored pallets or debris on the floor.
  • Where there is a bend present on an upright, measurements will be taken using a straight edge (typically 1m in length) and a “green”, “amber” or “red” risk rating given.
  • Any racking that falls under the amber or red risk classification must be replaced; red risks must be unloaded immediately. Amber risk should be unloaded as soon as possible. If, within four weeks of the inspection the racking is not unloaded this should immediately be classified as a red risk. In both cases, racking must be replaced before reloaded with pallets.
  • Any beams with dents or buckles will also require replacement, as any damage means that it is no longer possible to guarantee that the beam can hold the load that it was initially engineered to carry. If this occurs the beam level should be unloaded and remain so until replaced.
  • The inspector will make a full report on the storage solutions within the warehouse, with images taken where necessary. Any urgent issues are flagged up with the PRRS immediately; either during the inspection process or at the end of the inspection, depending on the level of risk. Any non-critical risks will be detailed within the report.
damaged rack
damaged rack


Very serious damage. Requires immediate action and racking replaced. MUST not be put back into use until the damaged material has been replaced.


Serious damage and over the SEMA advised tolerances. Once unloaded must not be used until replacements have been sourced.


Racking is damaged but within SEMA guidelines, must be continually monitored, usually within the remit of the in-house inspection. Any future impacts must be reported, and racking must be re-inspected for damage in line with the SEMA guidelines.

*Note, green risk rated materials does not mean no risk, damage has been reported but it is under the SEMA limits, therefore these materials/locations do not require unloading just continual monitoring.

After the first inspection:

  • The official report will be produced for the PRRS within one week of the inspection. The report will evidence where remedial works may be required i.e. red or amber rated risk components. The report may also include advice on how to operate more safely.
  • Once WSL has inspected a warehouse, we will calendarise and send a reminder several weeks before the next inspection is due, giving you the peace of mind that an inspection won’t be missed.
  • After a number of inspections, it may be possible to see whether trends have developed. If racking is regularly damaged in the same location, then that area may need additional protection. Advice on how best to protect the area will be given by the racking inspector.
damaged unstable racking
bottom of rack - damaged

How often should pallet racking be inspected?

If your warehouse has any racking – even if it is a single bay, regular rack inspections must be an integral part of your annual health and safety responsibilities. At the start of each year, you should double check that your annual racking inspection is in the calendar.

As pallet racking and other storage solutions are classified as work equipment, they must comply with Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). Warehouse racking in the United Kingdom is required to comply with a number of UK Health and Safety acts as well as European regulations BS EN: 15635. Warehouse owners and managers are responsible for the safety of the people working in the area and so it is vital to ensure that storage equipment is safe.

The Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) is the Trade Association for this industry in Britain and as such, it helps to set the standards for laws and best working practice within the storage industry – working in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive.

It is often assumed that an annual inspection by qualified pallet racking inspectors is sufficient to satisfy their obligations. However, the approach to pallet racking safety needs to be a continual process throughout the year.

The SEMA “Onion Skin” approach

SEMA use the imagery of a layered onion skin to explain the approach that warehouse managers should have towards pallet racking safety between inspections.

First layer: Reporting of damage

Any incident should be reported as soon as it occurs. This could be a member of the warehouse personnel noticing a bend/dent, or a collision from a forklift trick. As a critical part of ensuring a safe warehouse, staff members must be aware of the importance of immediate reporting. Damage to pallet racking can occur all year round and reporting the incident means the area can be made safe at the earliest opportunity. Any areas that are not reported remain unsafe and pose a severe risk to employees who could still be working in the area. Any damage that is over the SEMA tolerances needs immediate action. The PRRS is responsible for assessing the level of risk and reacting accordingly. This may include calling WSL for a professional inspection or to arrange for remedial work to be completed.

Second layer: In-House Inspections

The 2nd layer is to ensure that periodic (usually weekly) inspections take place to ensure that no damage goes unnoticed. Detailed guidance outlining expectations regarding pallet racking inspections can be found in HSG76, from the Health and Safety Executive. It states that while the regularity of in-house inspections may differ, there must be a “Person Responsible for Racking Safety” (PRRS) who decides on the frequency based on their site risk assessments.

WSL offer rack inspection training for operatives which will enhance the warehouse team’s ability to inspect your racking structure and take whatever action necessary to prevent further damage or a serious incident.

Want to know more about racking inspector training for your employees? Download our inspector training flyer here.

Third layer: Qualified Inspections

The 3rd layer is having regular inspections by a competent person who will check all racking components. This `competent person` must do an inspection at least once every 12 months. They can decide, in conjunction with the PRRS, if 12-month intervals are suitable of if they need to be more frequent due to site specific conditions. For example, a warehouse with a high throughput of goods might need more regular inspections. If in doubt about your required frequency of inspections get in touch with WSL who will be happy to assist.

Common Racking Faults and Causes


A number of issues can cause racking damage. Immediately after an accident, the damage should be reported to the PRRS who should check the area for any visual damage. If they see damage that they suspect to be over the SEMA guidelines, they should contact WSL and send any photographic evidence of the incident. WSL can then discuss with the client the appropriate actions to make the location safe.

The most common reason for damage to an upright is impacts from MHE (material handling equipment). Because of this, damage to uprights below the first beam level are the most commonly reported incidents – with the bend occurring at the area of impact. Any area that is over the required limits of the SEMA guidelines could need immediate action which may include the unloading of locations. If unloading is required, you will need to refer to your site specific Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS).

Over time, regular inspections may uncover trends in warehouse damage. Often it is found that the same part of the racking is repeatedly hit and needs to be replaced on a regular basis.

There are a number of options to reduce the damage of impacts by forklift trucks. Initially, it is important to encourage staff to be mindful of the impacts of rack damage and the need to be aware of their surroundings to avoid collisions. In addition, there may be ways to adjust operating systems and processes to reduce accidents. Your racking inspectors can offer advice on new ways to organise your warehouse that may reduce the number of impacts.

One of the options in some cases is to install racking barriers at the end of aisles to prevent forklifts from being able to bump into the uprights. In other cases, it may be recommended to install upright protectors. There are two types of upright protectors available; upright fixed protection or floor fixed upright protection. You will need to consider issues such as the impact that these uprights will have on your operating aisle widths. Your racking inspector will be able to advise on how best to safeguard your warehouse through additional protection accessories.

Rack inspection being carried out
racking damage

What does a pallet racking safety inspection cost?


The price of a racking inspection depends on the size of the warehouse. Contact WSL for an accurate quote, where the following factors will be taken in to consideration;

  • Quantity of pallet racking
  • Type of racking system
  • Location
  • Number of warehouses/sites that require inspection
  • Type of inspection – whether the inspection will be at floor level or a more detailed inspection at height

Why choose WSL for your Racking Inspections?

As full members of the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA), WSL meet the stringent guidelines that are required and conform to the SEMA code of practice. Safety and quality are paramount in all the equipment that we produce and these priorities continue with our racking inspections.

WSL provide an unrivalled service in terms of racking inspections. Our approved racking inspectors are highly trained and experienced, giving complete peace of mind for racking safety.

WSL can offer an integrated service; from inspection through to completion of remedial works.

Services that WSL provide post-rack inspection include:

  • Advice on best practice for ways that your warehouse can reduce impacts and damage.
  • Training employees on damage awareness, to help your warehouse staff look out for potential damage.
  • A contact that is available if advice is required regarding any potential damaged components.
  • Provision of rack protection and advice on the recommended locations where it may decrease likelihood of future impacts.
  • A no obligation quote for replacement or repair to all parts of the racking that have been found to be above the recommendations within the SEMA guidelines.
  • A report thoroughly detailing and evidencing the parts that need further action.

Reminders can be sent through when the next racking inspection is due. We understand that businesses have varying needs and that every little thing to help operations run more smoothly can help.

Mezzanine Floor Inspections

Warehouse Systems Limited also carry out Mezzanine floor inspections. These are currently recommended to be undertaken every two years. With qualified specialists in both racking and mezzanine inspection, WSL offers an ideal integrated solution for your warehouse inspection.

HSE, 2007. Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety. 2nd ed:HSE. Available online or in print. Section 641 onward is relevant to Racking inspection (Page 115).

Why choose wsl?

What Sets Us Apart

Our dedicated and experienced team will take time to understand your goals and asses your needs. Our extensive market knowledge and practical experience enables us to design and develop a bespoke system that is as unique as your business. Here at WSL we aim to maximise your available space and increase productivity through creating innovative and ‘outside the box’ solutions. Our commitment to excellence, our portfolio and our recommendations provide our customers with confidence in our ability to deliver solutions that are not only superior, but very cost-effective. Our in-house services simplify the process from design to installation by giving you just one port of call. By continuing to remain independent across the whole market we commit to providing our valued customers with the highest quality and – wherever possible – British products, all at competitive prices. We aim to fit our pallet rack systems with as little inconvenience to our clients as possible, using highly experienced fitters overseen by qualified project managers.

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