Category: Safety


When you want to protect something, you lock it. So why should it be anything different with your mobile system control panels?

Barpro Johannesburg receives a number of call-outs, where the control panel at the back of the mobiles were not closed for various reasons. This gives unwanted guests the opportunity to tamper with the electronics and cause overloads and motors to burn out.  When there is unauthorised human intervention in control panels, risks to safety interlocks are increased. This can result in damage & injury.

As a collective effort with our technical team, we have designed a bracket to act as a secondary locking system. It has no wearing parts and is made out of 3mm steel. We have already installed over 50 of these units recently.

For less than R600 you will have a steel bracket with a lock (all keyed alike) installed in your store. This is less than the cost of one Siemens overload. Installation is quoted separately, and costs are depended on the size of the store. We have found that the number of call-outs, just in one particular store, have come down dramatically and repair costs have been significantly reduced. 

Our experienced technical team can assist with this solution.

Give us a call at (011) 392 1702 – Corne Stapelberg

Training of Forklift drivers & safety around mobile racking systems

Mobile racking can work in most storage applications and companies appreciate the fact that mobiles either save them space or double storage capacity. However, as with any other mobile equipment, mobile racking must be treated with care. Companies have realised that rack damage caused by careless forklift operators is an avoidable expense. However, there are no short cuts to correctly training forklift and reach truck drivers.

Accredited Training, a forklift and crane training company based in Somerset West, understands the need to prevent rack damage. Its instructors have noted that the following can happen in cold stores and warehouses.

  • No proper selection of operators. 
  • No medical and eyesight checks for operators working in mobile applications. 
  • Protective clothing supplied to operators does not keep them warm.
  • No heated cabs in some cold stores. 
  • No specific forklift training for mobile applications. 
  • Warehouse and cold store supervisors often cannot recognise bad driving practices.

These factors lead to rack and product damage, as well as the threat of serious injury in the pressurised operations of a warehouse or cold store. In some cold storage situations, supervisors do not spend sufficient time in the freezers to see what’s actually happening. Rack loading capacities can be ignored and pallets dangerously placed in the racking.

All of the above can result in expensive repairs. Accredited Training offers high quality initial and refresher forklift training and even supplementary training for operators working in mobile racking. It also offers a management seminar to enable supervisory staff to recognise bad driving practices.

Rack Safety Inspection

Whilst recently re-reading the “storage equipment manufacturers association” (SEMA) code of practice for the use of pallet racking in warehouses, I was struck by how it isn’t followed in South Africa. While local rack manufacturers at least say that they produce their products to SEMA standards, estimates of the percentage of warehouses who even try to follow this code vary from 2% downwards. Requests to meet with a warehouse PRRS are likely to be met with a blank stare. If, and increasingly when, a rack collapse occurs, the normal reaction from warehouse management is to say that it had been under-designed.

Collapsed Racking System

If just the code’s system of rack inspections was implemented across the warehouse industry rack collapses could be reduced by over 80 %. Every warehouse should have a trained PRRS (person responsible for racking safety). Forklift drivers should be encouraged to report any rack impacts immediately to the PRRS for assessment and, if necessary, repair.

Competent trained persons, who may or may not be the PRRS, should inspect the racking on a weekly basis, complete the necessary paperwork for all damages noted.

Here the red, amber and green levels of damage are used.

Level of damage is twice the SEMA limits. Affected bays to be immediately cleared and demarcated with hazard tape until repaired by a trained rack repairer.

Outside SEMA limits but racks do not require immediate offloading although no new pallets should be placed in the affected area. Once the area is empty, the racks can be repaired, so long as this happens within 4 weeks.

If it doesn’t, the area is treated as Red.

Damage is within SEMA limits but is recorded and checked weekly to make sure it hasn’t got worse.

As part of the weekly inspection additional aspects including pallet quality, beam deflections, cleanliness and rack protection should be recorded and commented on. The report should then be signed off by the warehouse manager and the necessary repairs authorized. Annually or preferably bi-annually, the racking should be inspected by an external technically competent person primarily to make sure that the internal inspections are being done properly and that the internally reported damage is actually being properly repaired or replaced.

For proper inspections to happen, technically competent and competent people are needed. As far as is known, no rack safety or inspection training is currently offered in South Africa. In an effort to assist, Barpro is training staff in house and is now offering external racking checks. However, these aren’t much good if regular internal rack inspections are not already in place. Barpro is also making internal rack inspection documentation and rack testing tools available to facilitate internal rack inspections. Barpro would like to work with other concerned parties so as to promote rack safety in South African warehouses.

Barpro Storage Rack Inspection Tool

If more information is required please contact Mark Pearce on & 021 5529190