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Understanding the HSG76

What is the HSG76?

The HSG76 is Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety

Written by the Health and Safety Executive, in conjunction with the Warehousing Health and Safety Forum, it sets out guidelines for best practice in matters of occupational safety.

The guidelines are not legal requirements, but following them will ensure you are compliant with all legislation - ‘This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.’

Key Points

The topics identified as needing priority focus in regard to health and safety in the warehousing industry are:

  • Manual handling

  • Slips and trips

  • Vehicles in and around the warehouse

  • Work at height

The Safe Installation of Racking

633 ‘All racking systems should be of good mechanical construction, of sound material, adequate strength and installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions’

Pallet racking provides a safe and efficient means for storage and handling palletised goods within a warehouse. When correctly used, pallet racking increases a warehouse's storage capacity and allows for optimised efficiency. However, it is important that racking is correctly installed in order to ensure it is safe when used and is not creating a hazard within the warehouse.

The basic principles of safe installation include:

  • Racking being installed only by a ‘competent person’ in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction. This ‘competent person’ should be SEMA approved and trained.

  • Aisle width should be created with consideration about the material handling equipment that will be running through it.

  • Load notices should be clearly displayed.

  • Racking should never be altered without consultation of the manufacturer, and should not be adjusted without checking and amending its maximum load capacity.

  • Stability should be considered and racking fixed to the floor if large equipment is being used.

  • Racking should be protected using safety additions where there is a chance of it being struck by material handling equipment.

Racking inspection and maintenance

641 ‘Any damage to racking will reduce its load carrying capacity. The greater the damage the less its strength will be. ‘

642 ‘To ensure that a racking installation continues to be serviceable and safe, the storage equipment should be inspected on a regular basis’

Companies should have a nominated ‘Person Responsible for Racking Safety’ who determines frequency of in house inspections and monitors damage.

There are three levels of inspection that should be carried out at regular intervals to ensure damage doesn’t cause the pallet racking to collapse:

Immediate reporting:

As soon as damage is observed, it should be reported immediately to the PRRS, and there should be systems in place for reporting this. Employees should be aware of safety risks and anything that requires reporting and repairing or replacing.

Visual inspections:

The PRRS should ensure that inspections are carried out regularly, i.e. monthly, by someone who has undertaken a racking inspection training course. Formal written reports should be kept.

Expert inspections:

A technically competent person should carry out inspections at intervals of every 12 months minimum. A written report should be submitted to the PRRS with SEMA classifications and recommendations for action necessary. This technically competent person should be a SARI - SEMA Approved Racking Inspector who undergoes rigorous and regular training.

652 ‘Where damage is identified that affects the safety of the racking system, the racking should be offloaded and controls introduced to prevent it being used until remedial work has been carried out.’

The HSG76 provides a comprehensive guide to warehouse safety, and the requirements that should be followed in order to maintain a safe working environment. Here at DC Space and Storage Solutions, we operate a team of SARI, and we offer an inspection training programme, in order to give you ease of compliance.

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