In the area of one’s own business ensuring that all regulations and codes are observed is quintessential for businesses to operate within the confines of the law and in the utmost safety. Regarding logistics, the maintenance and safety of stocking and shelving systems cannot be overlooked.
To regulate this aspect is a comprehensive series of building codes and laws (D. Lgs.81/08, D.M. 14 Gennaio 2008, Circolare n.617/2009 del C.S.LL.PP., EN 1993-1-3:2006, UNI EN 15512:2009, UNI EN 15635:2009), all of which give particular importance to the law UNI EN 15635:2009.
What constitutes a “shelving system”?
Generally speaking, shelving and racking systems are present in commercial businesses, retail stores and warehouses of large-scale distribution companies. They can be grouped into light, medium, heavy, and very heavy shelving systems, but in each case, respecting and comprehending these regulations is of the essence, so as to guarantee the safety of those working in and around such systems.
Often, in fact, these structures may be unintentionally damaged by machines used for the movement of goods, resulting in a potential safety hazard. Therefore, an annual technical inspection of shelving systems is required.
What does the certification entail?
To answer this question we have the Architect Barbara Tè, leader and founder of BM Engineering.
“When BM Engineering is contracted for a shelving audit, our praxis revolves around working on-site as a team, scrupulously checking and verifying each and every shelf. There are a series of elements to check -explains Barbara Tè- for example, the verticality of columns and posts, base plate placement of the shelving unit, eventual collision damage or even the simple placement of pallets upon each shelf, all of which must be up to code. A practical example? Often these systems are disassembled and reassembled in a new location; in such situations documents containing specific technical information are often lost, and absent on the shelving system. Hence, the structural engineers of BM Engineering perform measurements and calculations to ensure that adequate calibrations are made regarding the weight loads of the system, to then produce new technical documents specifying the aforementioned measurements and calculations. Such documentation is then laminated and consigned to the client, who must then attach it to the shelving system in order to be considered in line with current building codes.
BM Engineering’s Modus Operandi
How is a shelving audit performed by BM Engineering? The first step is always a face-to-face meeting in which the client can meet the various experts, architects and engineers in order to allow for an optimal working relationship. This first step includes the analysis of a personalized and scheduled maintenance plan by means of a multidisciplinary approach.
Then, in order, are the following steps observed:
- On-site inspection to quantify the number of shelving systems that require analysis, in order to outline an estimate and define a strategy of attack;
- A request for all technical documentation in possession of the client necessary for the project. If such is unavailable, then a request of access to public records shall be made, or, alternatively, assessment and measurement of the system in question;
- On-site visual inspection of the shelves, with eventual assessments and classification of the types of systems present;
- Should the previous inspection require it, a static analysis is performed wherever necessary.
What are the particular requirements of the client?
“Our clients are often aware of the importance of the regulations regarding shelving systems and the importance of annual inspection -continues Barbara Tè- but it often occurs that, even though being up to code, there is a lack of training of the personnel present. Often, goods and merchandise are poorly placed on their respective shelves, because employees are not aware of proper safety measures, or because they are inadequately trained. The shelving structures meet regulation requirements, but the risk of collapse persists not because of the shelving, but because of improperly placed pallets. Internal training, or explanation of how to position and stack merchandise on shelves, is an integral step in our audits.”
After completion of these steps the client shall have in their possession a detailed report on the visual inspection performed, which contains not only documentation of the various types of shelving systems identified, but also the problems found, the classification of the anomalies to be corrected based on the level of damage and the solutions to be adopted. At this point all the elements required to work in the utmost safety in regards to the shelving systems are present and in the client’s possession.