Racking – does it need to be earthquake proof?

Racking collapses can be disastrous, which means that racking needs high-quality and rigorously tested safety features, but few British businesses demand

earthquake-proof systems. In other parts of the world though, like earthquake-prone New Zealand, defence against these natural disasters is something manufacturers need to bear in mind.
A racking collapse can result in serious injuries to workers. Even if no one is injured, a collapse can still halt production for a while and this can be financially costly. There are several safety features that can be incorporated into warehouse shelving systems to prevent accidents. These include pallet supports, frame protectors and anti-collapse systems. Safety systems prevent collapse due to weak pallets or collisions with forklift trucks, but they are not designed to withstand earthquakes.
In an effort to tackle earthquakes in the Pacific nation, New Zealand supermarket chain PAK’nSAVE challenged a racking installer to create earthquake-proof racking that would not fall on workers or customers should the worst happen.
The New Zealand racking installer developed a system that provides increased stiffness between uprights, and beams that create lateral stability designed to withstand an earthquake. The system required special tooling to construct.
Sure enough, a PAK’nSAVE store in Blenheim, New Zealand did experience an earthquake and the shelves stayed up. The store was the only supermarket in the area to open directly after the earthquake.
Earthquakes may not be worth too much consideration here in the UK, but warehouses that need strong and safe racking systems should talk to Greenoaks, the UK’s leading pallet racking and warehouse shelving systems installer.


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