PRE START HEALTH & SAFETY REVIEW (PSR) and SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE
Warehouse racking is used daily in warehouse storage and distribution facilities and a key part of any company’s responsibility is to ensure the safety of their employees while working around material handling equipment and pallet racking. This can be done in part by making sure your warehouse racking is inspected regularly for any damages, and by having a racking PSR (Pre-Start Health and Safety Certificate) issued by a qualified engineer. In particular, damage to racking frames is common due to lift truck impact. Lift truck impact can cause bends in upright rack end frames which in turn will weaken the racking thus alter the racking PSR certified load capacities.
In Ontario the Ministry of Labour has done a blitz of industrial storage racking and shelving to ensure compliance to safety codes and to verify current load capacities for the products it houses. A rack PSR will provide the necessary load capacity certification and ensure your pallet racking is safe for every day use. A racking inspection is required to be performed by a qualified Engineer to ensure the racking is not damaged by years of wear and abuse, and to recertify load allowances. In 2011 alone the Ministry of Labour issued over 3,000 stop work orders, causing lost revenues for businesses in down time for the certification of warehouse racking. It is our recommendation that warehouse and industrial racking or shelving is inspected annually for any damages that may cause the racking to collapse.
The CSA Standard A344 also requires that on-site inspections of the racking be performed regularly by an internal staff member, and a record be kept of such inspections for the Ministry of Labour should they come knocking at your door.
Preventing rack damage is the best way to ensure rack safety long term. Damage to pallet racking will lower the capacity of the rack structure and can lead to racking collapse. Fork lift truck drivers must be trained to work around pallet racking to minimize damage. Rack protection is also an option to prevent damage. These column protectors will absorb impact from lift trucks and prevent the rack upright column from sustaining damage. Rack protection is an upfront minimal expense that can prevent long term damage and the added expense of replacing racking in the future. Damaged racking can lead to warehouse down time not to mention that a pallet racking collapse could lead to injury or death of an employee. All lift truck drivers should be properly trained on working with material handling equipment and safety procedures when working with heavy and palletized loads. If you receive a Ministry of Labour stop work order because of racking damage or safety concerns a racking PSR will be required before you can resume work.
Moving pallet racking within a warehouse facility should never be done without the proper review of the manufacturer’s guidelines for racking protection and anchoring. Rack not properly anchored to the floor is an accident waiting to happen. Moving or removing cross beams and braces can overload remaining beams and significantly reduce load capacity ratings. Consult with an Engineer when moving or adjusting racking to avoid costly accidents.
Used racking is of particular concern as there is usually no way to know if the racking was initially certified or know the age of the racking. Often new racking is required as the damages are too severe for a band aid repair solution. We recommend that engineering specifications be kept on hand at all times, as per CSA A344.2 Guidelines. Manufacturers are required to maintain records of certification and load capacities per bay or racking type depending on what the racking is used for. Always obtain information from the manufacturer indicating that it was designed and installed in accordance with the safety specifications and standards. This can be done by having a Pre-Start Health and Safety Review (PSR) issued. If you do not have one already an inspection will be required first. If you make any alterations or repairs to the racking then a new rack PSR is required.
Providing a safe work environment for your employees is not only a good idea – IT IS THE LAW! Following safe pallet racking procedures will improve productivity and prevent worker injury. Capacities must be clearly posted on all racking bays indicating safe maximum load capacity of each bay. We will provide racking certificates for each bay of pallet racking along with layout drawings of your installation. A rack PSR should indicate the date, signature of the reviewing engineer, and the capacity per beam indicating the allowable maximum beam load.
All North American Steel pallet racking is certified for safe load capacity, clearly an advantage of dealing with a manufacturer for your industrial racking requirements.