The cold chain plays an essential role in the manufacturing, storage distribution and retail of food supplies, keeping our produce safe and fresh. Cold storage attracts a significant cost premium over normal warehousing, consequently there is a strong drive to maximise storage capacity with high density racking solutions. Cold storage racking solutions are usually a specialist design, getting maximum capacity out of a minimum footprint whilst still allowing sufficient space for safe operation of the warehouse. Another key consideration is the effect of cold temperatures on the strength and integrity of the racking. The Cold Chain Federation has put together detailed guidance on maintaining and inspecting cold storage racking:
"Confined space and the amount of manual handling equipment used in a cold store increases the risk of racking becoming damaged by collisions. Cold store employers must have comprehensive racking inspection processes in place. The specific regime will depend on a variety of factors that are particular to the site concerned such as the frequency and method of operation together with the dimensions of the warehouse, the equipment used and personnel involved."
The HSE recommends all inspection regimes should include:
Visual inspections – to be undertaken at least weekly. A record must be kept and there should be an adequate defect reporting process in place. Repairs should be undertaken promptly as the cold environment may be more likely to lead to failure of damaged racking.
Expert inspections – Comprehensive inspection by a trained and technically competent person at least every 12 months.
Businesses should also:
Ensure all staff are trained to operate racking safely and identify defects.
Ensure staff immediately report damage or concerns and that a log of incidents is maintained.
SG World offer a range of safety inspection solutions including one for warehouse racking. Our practical checklist solution comes with history log of past inspections and a hi-vis status indicator giving a clear, dated view of an inspection Pass or Fail notice. Manufactured from a special anti-freeze plastic blend, our indicators are resistant to low temperatures. Our off-the-shelf product can be tailored to suit specific safety regimes and also branded with a company logo.