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More Articles regarding Rack Collapse Situations & Industry Standards:

HOW SAFE IS YOUR RACK? image

Members of the Equipment World Sales and Technical Team have become certified to be Rack Safety Inpectors. 
 
If you have any rack storage systems in your facility, you should read the information below. 
 
Contact an Equipment World Representative for more details and a site analysis.
 
" Rack Collapse: no more not my problem

    'Who installed the racking?' is one of the first questions IAPA consultant Chuck Leon asks when visiting a warehouse or storage facility for the first time.  'Don't know?  How about the drawings: can you find them?' Answer no, and you could be in trouble on a number of accounts.  Ministry of Labour inspectors won't be happy. Worse, your workplace could be at risk for injuries and property loss.

     'If you don't have the paperwork and drawings to show that a racking system was built and installed according to the manufacturers specifications', says Leon, 'you'll need a Pre-Start Health and Safety Review conducted by an engineer.  If you have modified a racking system, you'll need an engineers report on the racking system.'

     'A lot of people don't realize this', says Leon. 'They think it's a grandfathered thing: The racks were here before I started so I must be exempt. Well, you're not. The law says that the company must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers', notes Leon.  'If a rack collapses, the inspector is going to ask questions.  Who installed it?  Was it installed by the manufacturer according to the manufacturer's specifications?  Do you have drawings of the racking systems?' 

One company's experience:  A 2003 fatality that resulted from damaged racking in a food warehouse highlights the hidden dangers of damaged or inadequate racking.   In August 2003, a shipping/receiving worker was crushed under twisted metal shelving and frozen food when several steel racks suddenly collapsed. Shortly after a roof caved in and a wall buckled outwards. The collapse and cave-in left a huge pile-up of twisted metal and tons of frozen food so that recovering the workers body took three days of concerted efforts by emergency officials and a private contractor.  Heavy demolition equipment had to be brought in to remove the debris.  The employer, a company with 24 facilities in North America that provide refrigeration storage space for food processors and distributors and retailers, was fined $240,000. 

    'Don't wait for the inspector!' In the past month, warns Leon, 'I've had six phone calls from clients who received work orders from the Ministry of Labour regarding their racking'.  Leon notes that the new CSA Standard A344.2 and CSA User Guide A344.1 provide practical, accessible information specifically targeted to a Canadian audience.  'We never had a standard before, so this is all new to many people."

Article excerpt from IAPA Accident Prevention e-newsletter July 2006 ( http://www.iapa.ca/apmag/2006_enews_july.asp#top )
 
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     The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) places duties on many different categories of individuals associated with workplaces, such as employers, constructors, supervisors, owners, suppliers, licensees, officers of a corporation and workers.  Under the OHSA, you are required to perform regular workplace inspections.  These inspections must include all storage systems within your facility.  Inspections should be tailored to meet the requirements as stated by your Health & Safety committee and/or the current frequency of use of these racks.  An Ontario employer, who is covered by the Act, has an obligation to: 1) Appoint competent persons as supervisors.

     "Competent person' has a very specific meaning under the Act.  He or she must: a) be qualified through knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance; b) be familiar with the Act and the regulations that apply to the work being performed in the workplace; c) know about any actual or potential danger to health and safety in the workplace; 2) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker 3) ensure that every part of the physical structure of the workplace can support all loads to which it may be subjected, in accordance with the Building Code Act and any standards prescribed by the ministry.

     On October 7, 2000, Regulation 528/00, which amends section 7 of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments, Regulation 851, became effective in the Province of Ontario.

     Under this regulation, employers, owners, and lessees are required to have a Professio
nal Engineer perform a Pre-Start Health and Safety Review (PSR) when installing new pallet racks, stacker racks, drive-in racks, cantilever racks, etc., or modifying existing ones, to ensure their compliance with applicable standards (currently The Rack Manufacturers Institutes (RMI) Specification for the Design, Testing, and Utilization of Industrial Storage Racks). For new racks, a PSR may not be required if the supplier of the racks can provide documentation to support compliance with current standards usually in the form of structural drawings, letters of certification, and/or accompanying capacity charts and tables.

     The regulation has now been in effect for several years and enforcement by the Ministry of Labour has commenced.

     There have been several racking collapses in Ontario since the new regulation became effective.  A recent Ministry of Labour release confirmed that fines have been issued, one as high as $240,000, in conjunction with these collapses for violations of the Health and Safety Act; in part, for non-compliance of the rack systems with RMI specifications.

      While responsibility for compliance lies with the employer, owner, or lessee and not the rack vendor, a wise purchaser will give major consideration to the qualifications of potential rack suppliers to give proper advice on the requirements for certification.

Safety should be the first priority in any workplace. Address the requirements of Regulation 528 now and put your mind at rest.

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Unsafe Racking And Blocked Access Routes Cost Retailer
Article from SHP Magazine September 2005

     National Retailer Poundland has been fined a total of £13,000 with £900 full costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation. The Company was fined £10,000 for a breach of s2(1) of HSWA 1974 in failing to ensure the safety of its employees by not maintaining racking equipment in a safe condition. A further £3000 for failing to comply with reg.12 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 in not keeping floors and traffic routes clear of obstructions and articles that could cause slips, trips or falls.

    On August 9th 2004 the court was told that a Walsall Council health and safety inspector discovered extremely serious damage to storage high-level racking during an inspection of the company's major distribution depot in Willenhall, Walsall Damage was notified on over 30 sections of racking, which indicated prolonged abuse by careless driving of fork-lift trucks in the warehouse. It was also found that fire exits were blocked by disorganized stock, and aisles and walkways were obstructed. A prohibition notice was served on the blocking of fire exits and West Midlands Fire Service informed. Despite this, the Fire Service Safety Unit found on a subsequent visit that fire exits were still blocked, and a formal caution was issued to Poundland. The magistrates said they were appalled at the conditions found and that although the racking did not collapse, the risk to employees was considerable.

     The company said in mitigation that procedures are now in place to prevent recurrence of racking not being repaired, including racking inspection, refresher training, and closed-circuit television to identify those who cause damage to racking, or who block fire exits or traffic routes. Walsall Council environmental health manager, Ken Rhodes commented on the prosecution by saying: "This case highlights the need for companies to make health and safety a priority, especially in high-risk areas such as warehouses carrying high volumes of stock using potentially dangerous work equipment like fork-lift trucks. The consequences of a racking collapse could be fatal.'

REFERENCE: Storage Equipment Safety Service LTD The National Warehouse Safety Centre Unit 8, Trafalgar Court South Nelson Road, South Nelson Industrial Estate Cramlington, Northumberland NE23 1WF Tel No: 01670 736444 - Fax: 01670 739903 International Callers: Tel No: +44 (0) 1670.736.444 - Fax: +44 (0) 1670.739.903

  

When do warehouse storage racks need inspection? Catastrophe in waiting? When was the last time you had your warehouse and storage racks independently inspected for integrity and safety?

    Would any of your supervisors or line managers respond, "What do I mean "independent' inspections? Or -- of greater concern -- would they scratch their heads and ask "What do you mean, rack INSPECTION?".

     Few warehouse operators have aggressive in-house rack inspection programs in place. Forklift accidents, collisions, dropped or misplaced loads, and other incidents that result in rack damage may or may not get promptly reported. But even when a forklift hitting the front end corner of rack #37 South gets reported, a typical management response never goes beyond "let's go take a look,' as if a quick visual inspection alone will confirm that load limits and structural integrity of the rack have not been affected by the accident. It's as if, while other hazards "stand out' to otherwise reasonable and prudent supervisors, there often is an absolute lapse in concern for 100,000 pounds of rack and product collapsing in a pile across the tight confines of a busy warehouse.

     It is especially important to have trained, competent and CONCERNED rack safety personnel when there is a high degree of activity in the warehouse, where there is the greatest risk of rack damage due to mechanical materials handling equipment. When a rack has been struck by a forklift, one of the first priorities should be to identify any unsafe components in order to reduce the dangers of collapse. Specific precautions and taking damaged segments out of service immediately may be the only prudent response to prevent possible risk of injury to personnel caused by continued use of damaged racking. Rack safety is the employer's morale responsibility and comes with substantial legal liabilities (civil and criminal).

Supervisors should also realize the potential hidden costs of a rack collapse:
  • Replacing materials and damaged goods
  • Use of temporary storage facilities
  • General disruption Workers' compensation, general liability and other insurance rate hikes following the loss Legal expenses from defending actions resulting from an accident
  • Potential OSHA fines relating to violations of federal safety requirements