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How to stay safe when using racking systems

Staying safe when using racking systems starts before you’ve even made your purchase, when you are deciding on the right shelving or racking for you.

If you have a requirement for shelving or racking, you probably already know what you’re going to store, so don’t ignore it! Bear in mind the size and weight of the items you are planning to load on the shelves to make sure that the racking you are considering is fit for purpose. At ShelvingDirect®, we manufacture our shelving and racking systems from high quality steel in a range of UDL (uniform distributed load) weights, from 100-300 kg medium duty shelving to 500kg industrial level shelving.

When considering which UDL you will require, remember that this figure is based on even load, and in reality shelves are rarely loaded evenly. For that reason, It is advisable to always buy shelving that exceeds the maximum load capacity that you are currently looking for. Shelving and racking systems should be long-term investments, so it’s important to consider what your units might be used for storing in the future.

Safety when assembling your shelving unit

Once your shiny new shelving system has been purchased and delivered, you will need to remember some basic safety rules for assembly:

• Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines and contact them with any queries
• Make sure the area is clear from obstacles and the floor space is sound and level
• Two heads are better than one - always ask for help when assembling large systems
• Remember to bend you knees when lifting and never lift more than is comfortable
• Take care when using a rubber mallet or hammer - always stay focused on the task
• Be careful when handling chipboard shelves to avoid any splinters!

At ShelvingDirect®, our shelving and racking systems are boltless and therefore easy to assemble with a rubber mallet only in 7 simple steps!

Once built, consider whether your shelving needs to be fixed to the wall or not. Low load shelves can stand alone, however high load shelves need to be fixed in place for additional support and to prevent them from toppling over.

Loading your shelving unit

When your racking system is in place it will be time to load your items safely. When placing items on your shelves, start with the heaviest items at the bottom and the lightest items at the top, making sure that heavy goods are spread evenly across the width.

For small items, we recommend storing them in plastic bins and boxes. Not only does this keep things neat and tidy, but it’s also important for ongoing safety, ensuring that nuts, bolts and other small miscellaneous items are kept out of the way, preventing accidents.

Store any frequently used items at the most convenient height for you and always make sure that your items don’t overhang shelves. Additionally, take care when storing items on the upper levels of the racking unit to ensure that they don’t come into contact with any smoke detectors or light fittings.

Once all your items have been loaded, check the shelves to make sure they do not appear overloaded.


Using your shelving systems

Last but not least, it is important that you stay safe whenever using your shelving units, so remember the following safety tips:

• Always use stepladders whenever reaching for items on an upper shelf
• Get help whenever lifting heavy items on and off your shelving unit
• Never store large or heavy items above waist level, as it could be difficult to lift
• Regularly check your shelving unit for signs of overloading

With these simple pointers, you can be sure that your shelving or racking system will be fit for purpose for many years to come, keeping both you and your valued items safe! For help with choosing the right storage solution for you, contact us on 0121 508 5877 where we will be happy to offer our advice.