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Dr Murray Clarke discusses issues of structural design and safety

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Dr Murray Clarke has expressed his concern over the debate on imported brand-compatible racking versus Australian-made racking. Clarke is a member of AS4084 Committee and also an associate member of FEM Committee (storage racks).

According to Dr Murray Clarke, the article ‘Industry defends brand-compatible racking’ contains a number of inaccurate statements regarding the important issues of structural design and safety. Adequate levels of safety and structural performance can only be achieved by adhering to relevant design standards for pallet racking, such as the Australian Standard AS4084-1993 and the European industry standard FEM 10.2.02.

The article has stated that ‘the Australian Standard (AS) is simply a guide’ and that it is ‘not mandatory’. This can lead to an understanding that racking companies can decide for themselves whether they wish to conform to a standard and what factors of safety they employ. According to Clarke, a statement like this can send the wrong message to the market, particularly when companies selling imported brand-compatible racking claim categorically to comply with all relevant local and international standards.

The Australian racking industry has a responsibility to inform and guide the market on the important matters of design integrity, compliance with standards, and occupational health and safety. End users of racking systems cannot be expected to be experts in these matters.

Clarke also added that it is nonsensical for any racking company to make a statement that their product complies with a standard. Racking standards are not product standards they are engineering standards based on sound principles of structural design.

For a racking company to claim true adherence to a standard, they need to have carried out an extensive regime of component testing and to have better structural design programmes. Only in this way can all the factors affecting the level of safety in a rack including the pallet weights, the beam spacing, the upright and beam profiles can be properly assessed. Colby Storage Solutions have invested in product testing and have the highest levels of design integrity.

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