With one of the most functional infrastructure elements in warehouses being steel storage racking, a silently ignored risk could easily become a loud collapse with implications of industry manslaughter.
It is frightening to think that one slight alteration in racking from an unqualified person can have disastrous consequences to the stability of the racking and potentially the lives of people who work in that warehouse.
It has been identified that most racking failures are a direct result of unqualified people changing racking, bumping into racking with forklifts or not fixing potentially fatal racking hazards.
The very real risk of fatal workplace accidents is a concern for all managers and employees, therefore these risks need to be addressed through controls such as safety awareness and training.
It is important that all workplaces have regular safety inspections and all repairs are attended to in order to ensure the safety of workers. By having six to twelve monthly workplace safety inspections such as a racking safety inspection, this is one way to help reduce workplace fatalities.
It is not only loss of life that results from racking collapses, other side effects include the inability to service your clients, the potential legal action by workers, the public and your clients and also the costs involved in replacement of collapsed racking and damaged stock.
Organising for your racking to be inspected by an independent racking inspection company ensures the most economical means of maintaining your racking as they can inspect all brands of racking independently with no selling precedence.
"This is especially important if you have multiple brands on your site and want an independent unbiased inspection," says Mark Helding from Independent Racking Inspections and Audits, an independent workplace-racking inspection specialist that helps companies ensure compliance with appropriate standards via state-of-the-art processes and fully documented audits.
"The regulatory environment that we found ourselves in five years ago is considerably different to that which we find ourselves in today.
"Arguably one of the greatest changes has been the increased focus on Occupational Health, Safety and the Environment (OHS&E). Directors, executives, managers and employees are all now seen to be responsible for OHS&E within the workplace. In some states the crime of 'Industrial Manslaughter' is a reality."
International racking standards advise a mandatory audit of all racked sites is required at least every 12 months. This auditing has a rapidly increasing take-up rate around the world with large retailers and other distribution businesses realising the need to implement strategies to create safe working environments, comply with standards and protect valuable assets.
Furthermore, unsafe work efficiencies such as having damaged pallets in your racking can cause major collapses. All work practices need to be revised to ensure it is the best and safest way to execute that particular task and in turn this will be likely to increase workers' confidence when working in and around these racking structures.
In the quest to reduce hazards in the workplace, scheduling an inspector to inspect your racking will give you peace of mind that your workers are not at risk of potentially fatal accidents.
It is important to remember to organise your racking to be inspected on a regular basis as poorly maintained racking can have disastrous consequences.