Frequently Asked Questions

Racking Inspection

The short answer is, typically monthly, but read on.

WorkSafeBC Regulation 4.43.1 section 8(ii) states racking must be inspected "at regular intervals that will prevent the development of unsafe working conditions".

It's important to note that WorkSafeBC does not specify a time period. This is because inspection frequency should be based on the hazards specific to the individual facility and the potential for serious incidents.

Some employers may determine that daily inspections of their storage racks are appropriate due to the high-risk nature of their business operations (e.g., involving customer traffic, high volume mobile equipment traffic, and hazardous products stored).

Other employers may determine that some of their storage racks are appropriate to be inspected every few months because their racks are isolated from traffic, they are only being used to store materials on a long-term basis, and the risk to workers is considered to be low.

In order to determine an appropriate inspection interval for the storage racks at a given workplace, the employer will need to review the various aspects of its operations and work environment. Some of the factors that may be relevant include the following:

  • The nature of the environment in which the storage rack is located (e.g., indoors, outdoors, temperature, vibration, chemical exposure)
  • Size of the facility
  • Level of vulnerability of the storage rack to damage and failure
  • Prior incidents of damage
  • Nature of the operations, including equipment used around the storage racks
  • Level of activity (e.g., seasonal fluctuations)
  • Number of hours of work per week (e.g., shifts)
  • Methods used to load and unload the storage racks
  • Competency and training of the lift truck operators
  • Procedures for reporting damage

RackSafe™ Training details six types of Racking Inspection:

  • Scheduled or Routine Inspection – performed at regular intervals (eg: monthly) and looks for unreported damage and racking safety issues.

  • Configuration Inspection – this inspection confirms your physical racking matches the layout and beam heights indicated on your engineered drawings.

  • Planned Change Inspection – performed when a planned change such as beam/frame repair/replacement or movement has been completed. The inspection confirms the affected racking is ready to safely return to service.

  • Unplanned Change Inspection – performed when an unplanned change is reported such as an impact, damage or other issue. This racking inspection may be part of the preliminary stages of a full accident investigation.

  • New Installation Inspection - Whenever new racking is installed it should be fully inspected by a Qualified Person, other than the Installer, prior to being put into service to ensure it is undamaged and correctly installed.

  • Post-Earthquake Inspection - Southwestern British Columbia is one of the most seismically active regions in Canada. Racking in this area may be damaged or compromised during an earthquake. A Post-Earthquake inspection will determine if the racking can be safely returned to service.

WorkSafeBC defines the term Qualified Person as “being knowledgeable of the work, the hazards involved, and the means to control the hazards, by reason of education, training, experience or a combination thereof”. RackSafe™ Training provides the education and hands-on training for Qualified Persons. In addition the program includes forms for the Employee/Qualified Person to document their racking inspection experience, fulfilling the requirement of the regulation.

Yes, employees can conduct racking inspections. WorkSafeBC has produced a guideline that informs employers about the expected competencies of a qualified person to conduct routine inspections of storage racks. RackSafe™ Training covers all of the knowledge and skills as defined by WorkSafeBC and listed below:

Knowledge of:

  • Hazards associated with products or loads
  • When to escalate to an expert, such as a professional engineer or the manufacturer
  • Appropriate load based on the storage rack system
  • When the load should be removed

Ability to:

  • Determine scope and purpose of inspections
  • Review past inspection reports to support inspection processes
  • Apply safe operating procedures for storage racks
  • Identify hazards in the inspectional area
  • Determine actual load against rated capacity
  • Perform systematic walk-around
  • Identify wear, corrosion, damage, missing or incompatible parts, and signs of fatigue
  • Categorize and document observations
  • Apply safe inspection procedure
  • Observe lean and deflection
  • Select and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), if required
  • Use appropriate tools and equipment to conduct the inspection, if required

Engineered Drawings & Rated Capacity

Yes, if there are questions about the capacity of the storage rack system during an inspection or incident investigation, WorkSafeBC officers may ask the employer for supporting information relating to how the manufacturer or the professional engineer determined the rated capacity. This information may include documentation, such as engineering drawings, calculations, and other pertinent information about its design.

According to WorkSafeBC Regulation 4.8, the rated capacity of workplace equipment is the one specified by the manufacturer of the equipment based on its design. If that information cannot be produced from the manufacturer, the rated capacity needs to be determined and certified by a professional engineer.

Changing load beam heights or removing load beams may reduce the rated capacity of your racking. Always ensure your beam heights and bay configurations match your engineered drawings.

WorkSafeBC & The Storage Rack Regulation

The regulation can be found on via the following link - WorkSafeBC Regulation 4.43.1

For your convenience we have also listed regulation 4.43.1 below.

  1. In this section, "storage rack" means a combination of steel frames, beams and associated accessories used, once assembled into a structure, to support materials and products, including, for example, a pallet rack or cantilever rack, but excludes shelving and display fixtures used for retail purposes.
  2. This section applies in respect of a storage rack that is
    1. 2.4 m (8 ft) or taller in height, as measured from the floor to the top of the highest shelf level of the storage rack, or
    2. under 2.4 m (8 ft) in height, if the materials and products are loaded on or unloaded off the storage rack by other than manual means.
  3. The employer must ensure that a storage rack in the workplace is
    1. capable of safely supporting the items stored on it,
    2. designed and constructed in accordance with good engineering practice, and
    3. used in accordance with the specifications and instructions of the manufacturer or a professional engineer.
  4. The employer must ensure that a qualified person installs and uninstalls the storage rack, in whole or in part, in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer or a professional engineer.
  5. The employer must ensure that the instructions of the manufacturer or a professional engineer for safely loading, unloading and maintaining the storage rack are readily available in the workplace to workers.
  6. The employer must ensure that the rated capacity of the storage rack is clearly posted near the storage rack and readily visible to workers.
  7. The employer must ensure that any structural modification, including reconfiguration, of the storage rack is carried out in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer or a professional engineer.
  8. The employer must ensure that a qualified person
    1. inspects the storage rack
      1. for wear, corrosion, damage, missing or incompatible parts, and signs of fatigue, and
      2. at regular intervals that will prevent the development of unsafe working conditions,
    2. makes a record of the results of each inspection, and
    3. provides the record to the employer.
  9. The employer must ensure that, with respect to the storage rack,
    1. regular maintenance is done, and
    2. wear, corrosion, damage, missing or incompatible parts, and signs of fatigue are repaired or replaced in accordance with the specifications and instructions of the manufacturer or a professional engineer.

[Enacted by B.C. Reg. 143/2017, effective January 1, 2018.]

We are often asked if racking installed before the regulation came into effect (Jan 1, 2018) is exempt. The answer is no, all racking no matter its age must comply with the new regulation.

WorkSafeBC and Storage Rack Regulation 4.43.1 make no reference to refresher training intervals. RackSafe™ recommends Qualified Persons take refresher training every three years, but again, this is a recommendation.

Do you have a question we haven’t answered? Email us via our CONTACT PAGE or call us at 604-628-7850.