Modern day racking systems usually consist of a skeletal steel framework of fixed or adjustable design to support loads with or without shelves. There are many different types of racking systems, the most common of which is an adjustable system of upright frames connected by horizontal beams to provide shelving or pallet supports which can be vertically adjusted. Tracked mobile and cantilevered racking systems can also be found. Systems will be configured to meet the user’s needs being designed to privide long term storage, transit storage, order picking and the like.

In every case the correct design and installation of the racking is crucial to its long term safe operation. The ‘Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association’ (SEMA) produce codes of practice for the proper design and installation of racking, and all systems should be installed according to this code.

The uprights of racking systems must be securely fixed to the floor and the structure must be sound and stable; where appropriate it must be tied into the building structure. Stability is key to the safe use of racking systems. They must be routinely inspected for damage; the upright members are particularly prone to damage by fork lift and reach trucks. Employees must be trained and instructed to report damage whenever it is caused or spotted.

There is a risk that goods falling from high level racks will cause injury to personnel. It is best practice to exclude everyone, other than the drivers of the fork lift or reach trucks used with the racking, from areas where this risk exists.