Unsafe Storage Structure

The Racking Inspector were requested to carryout the first annual racking inspection for a new client following an audit highlighting missing safe working loads.
The client had a timber mezzanine floor supported by a pallet racking type structure.
Although structural calculations were made available for the supporting floor timber joists, the client was unaware that the lower supporting racking structure was unapproved and very unsafe.

The supporting racking structure had vital components missing, such as diagonal frame bracing.
The supporting frames were also leaning considerably and had been heavily modified with ‘cut and shut’ supporting beams from various mixed manufacturers. The entire mezzanine area was issued with a ‘Red risk’ notification requiring immediate off load. At the time, the upper floor area was offloaded. However, access above also had to been prevented and the area was cordoned off until remedial works could be undertaken.
Following receipt of the inspection report, the client decided to keep the timber section and opted for a new supporting steel structure beneath, provided by an approved supplier.

Following the initial design process and structural calculations, it was decided that the new supporting structure could be attached to the existing perimeter building columns and only two new central supporting columns were required, along with the new supporting universal beam sections.

During the rebuilding process the client also decided to review their entire storage needs and decided to opt for a large bulk storage area for larger palletised items and low level shelving for small handloaded components. This has since dramatically improved their original operations, increasing storage and reduced handling.

Our expert inspection immediately identified and prevented a possible collapse of a very unsafe racking structure, of which the client and warehouse operatives were unaware of.

Although remedial works were unexpected and a significant high cost for the client, they were grateful and very relieved to have prevented a dangerous incident and serious injury to their staff.

Unfortunately, bespoke and unapproved racking structures are still today installed by ‘untrained persons’ looking to make a quick profit with a total disregard of the consequences of their poor workmanship by cutting corners and taking risks, without thought of those that may be affected.

Hopefully with improved awareness and new stringent auditing procedures, more can be done to prevent such high risk structures being built in future.

If you purchase or inherit a warehouse with any type of storage equipment, ensure initial checks are made to assure equipment has be certified and installed by trained individuals such as ‘SEIRS’ registered installation teams (Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme) to current SEMA and HSE guidelines.