We are often asked about health and safety checks for pallet racking, and thought the information below regrading outdoor pallet racking may be of use.

Q. We are looking to install some static pallet racking outside. We have indoor racking which complies with the SEMA code of practice but are there any extra checks we need to carry out on outside racking and how do we comply with regards to rusting of the uprights/beams?

A. The inspection checks for external racking are similar to internal racking; however, the design of the racking and the protective coating can be significantly different.

The supplier should design the racking to ensure that it is acceptable for the additional wind loading and the racking should be installed by trained installers who are SEIRS (Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme) registered. The design often requires the use of different floor fixings to the standard fixings used on internal racking.

The normal painted finish provides very little corrosion protection for external racking which therefore rusts in quite a short period of time. The beams are generally not painted internally and can rust from the inside out. A competent ‘third party’ rack inspector, preferably a SARI (SEMA Approved Rack Inspector), will be able to give an opinion as to whether the racking will last for another year or whether it needs to be replaced. Racking with a galvanised finish is normal for external applications and will last longer outside. Any new rack purchased for an external environment should be designed to suit this environment with a galvanised finish.

(Edited from the FAQ’s at www.sema.org.uk)