Is Your Storage Racking System Earthquake-Proof?

Inside a warehouse

Inside a warehouseBeing situated on the Ring of Fire, New Zealand is no stranger to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Every year, research institute GNS Science records more than 15,000 quakes in the country. Nearly 150 of these earthquakes are strong enough to be felt.

In late 2017, scientists warned that New Zealand could experience a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. Because earthquakes can be difficult to predict, people are advised to be prepared. Businesses across all industries should take steps to ensure earthquake preparedness.

Businesses with storage racks should undergo warehouse racking inspections by qualified safety auditors, particularly in industrial storage facilities where storage racks are stacked higher and are heavily loaded.

Can the racking system you use withstand earthquakes and pass inspections? Here are some tips to improve safety and help minimise the risks of damage.

Follow racking and shelving system requirements

All should comply with the NZ government’s Seismic Restraint of Building Contents standard. For example, in supermarkets that have shelving systems higher than two metres, the shelves must have sliding gates to contain the items within. To ensure compliance, you can engage the services of an engineer or safety auditor.

Apply proper restraint for palletised goods

Pallets should be checked for any damage and replaced if broken. Palletised goods require proper restraints so they don’t fall from the racking system during seismic activity.

To prevent palletised goods from toppling, the height of the pallets must not be more than twice the height of their base. WorkSafe recommends that the shrink wrapping around the pallets should extend around the pallet base. This way, the pallet and the goods form one unit.

Store heavy items away from exits

The height of stocked heavy items such as canned or bottled goods should not exceed 1.2 metres if unrestrained. Heavy goods should also be stored away from passageways and areas that are frequently occupied. Storing heavy items away from doors and exits also facilitates a faster evacuation.

Warehousing has many rules and regulations covering safety and damage control. By following them, you’ll be as best prepared as possible for any force majeure.