Guide to... Racking Upright Protection


Pallet racking upright protection can help play an important part in the safety of your racking systems. Without it serious damage could occur to your racking!


Upright protection in any form can be a cost effective way to help eliminate the risk of damage caused by your materials handling equipment!



Racking Upright Protection FAQ's in this Guide

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What is racking upright protection?

  • Pallet racking uprights can be referred to as posts, frames & columns.
  • Upright protection is a form of barrier or defence against accidental damage which could be caused by your materials handling equipment, such as forklifts.
  • There are 2 primary forms of upright protection; end of rack barriers & post protectors.
  • End of rack barriers & post protectors come in many different forms - see below!



Why should you use racking upright protection?

  • Upright protection in any form can help prevent your uprights, posts or columns being damaged by materials handling equipment.
  • Damage to uprights could have serious consequences, including the potential of collapse & injury to personnel!
  • By protecting your racking it will ensure you have optimum efficiency& capacity in your warehouse; racking where uprights are damaged should not be used!
  • It can act as a reference point for materials handling & forklift operators so they can easily avoid racking - think hi-vis jacket for your racking!



What does the law say?

It isn’t “law” to have rack protection installed HOWEVER there is guidance. Any investigated accidents in the warehouse will consider best practice and if protection is installed!


Your legal requirements are to comply with The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998. Racking upright protection can help you comply!


  • The Health & Safety Executive HSG76 - Warehousing and storage: A guide to health and safety states:

Where racking is likely to be struck by lift trucks and other vehicles, it should be protected. Generally, such damage is at the lower levels of the racking – use renewable column guards to minimise the risk of damage from accidental impact. Corner uprights in a run of racking are especially at risk and should be suitably provided with a protective device in a conspicuous colour.


  • EN 15629 Steel static storage systems - specification of storage equipment 8.8 Free-standing upright protectors states:

In determining the minimum requirement for aisle and gangway widths, consideration shall be given to the provision of effective upright protection. The minimum locations protected should be:


A) Uprights at the exposed ends of aisles and at passageways used for movement of trucks.

B) Uprights of drive-in racking next to main gangways (not drive-in or drive-through bays).


Column guards shall be made conspicuous by safety colours.


  • SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) Code of Practice for the Use of Static Pallet Racking 8.4 Rack Protection states:

Where necessary, steps should be taken to protect corner uprights from being struck by fork lift trucks and other vehicles. A first line of defence should be incorporated, such as renewable column guards or guide rails, which prevent the truck getting too close to the main racking structure. Column protection in other areas likely to incur damage should also be considered.



What standards should rack protection conform to?

  • Many protector manufacturers will claim they comply to FEM 10.2.02 however this was superseded by EN 15512.
  • EN 15512 Steel static storage systems specifies the structural design requirements applicable to all types of adjustable beam pallet rack systems fabricated from steel members intended for the storage of unit loads and subject to predominantly static loads.
  • EN 15512 is only mandatory if mandated by the European Commission or in support of an EU directive. It is not currently mandatory in the UK, therefore upright protectors do not have to meet EN 15512 standards.
  • In the UK it is acceptable to buy or sell storage equipment designed to either the SEMA Code or EN 15512.
  • The SEMA Quality Scheme (QAS 2000) encompasses the SEMA Code and/or EN 15512.
  • The SEMA Code (and EN 15512 states) upright protection shall be designed for the minimum horizontal energy absorption as defined below:


Protector rating - energy absorption (Nm)



Top styles of racking upright protection


Top styles of racking upright protection

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Post by Dean Kahl

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