Are Safe Working Load Signs Necessary?

Safe Working Load (SWL) Limit Signs

Every warehouse with a racking structure should hold the documentation of the racking in a secure place. This includes information on the installation from the racking supplier. Within these documents is an outline of the maximum capacity that the racking structure can safety store.

In many cases, these documents are stored in a cabinet that is not easily accessible to the users and operators of the racking system. Without access to this necessary information, operators of the racking system can make changes to the racking systems. As a result, unknowingly creating a dangerous environment. For instance, these changes to the racking structure can affect the racking load capacity.

Safe Working Loads Signs – Standards Requirements

In addition to staff needing access to the racking supplier’s documentation, safe working load signs must be installed to the end of each racking aisle. AS 4084-2012 determines that a safe working limit (SWL) sign is to be mechanically secured to the racking structure. Likewise, safe working load signs are to be permanent and corrosion resistant, located where it is clearly visible. Most importantly, the safe working limit sign should include:

  • the safe working unit load limit,
  • the total working unit load limit for each pallet beam level,
  • the total working unit load limit for each bay, and
  • the maximum distance from the base plate level to the first beam level and maximum distance between subsequent beam levels.

The racking supplier will provide the load safety signs and secure them to the racking after installation. That is to say that, it is the responsibility of the racking supplier to secure the SWL signs to the racking structure.

If there is any changes or modification to the racking system without approval, the safe working load signs could become invalid. In conclusion, it is important for warehouse operators to consult the racking suppliers prior to amendments to the racking structure to re-evaluate the system. The racking structure may require new safe working load signs based on the changes.

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