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Steel Storage Racking and Earthquakes

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IRIA Independent Racking Inspections and Audits provides an audit and inspection service for racking systems to leading distributed businesses across Australia and the world.  

IRIA explains the importance of reviewing the seismic preparedness of steel storage racking systems in any enterprise to reduce risk of damage and loss of life in the event of an earthquake.  

The recent 7.1 magnitude earthquake and over 29 ground trembling aftershocks recently in the New Zealand city of Christchurch have caused extensive damage to many central and outer district buildings.  

The earthquake has caused ruined facades, amenities’ disruption and massive stock losses from racking collapses. One small mercy for Christchurch business owners is that the recent earthquakes struck in the middle of the night when workers potentially at threat of being crushed under toppled racks were safely at home.  

If such a quake had struck during daylight working hours the story could have been significantly different. Crushed underneath fallen racking, many companies may have been faced with industrial manslaughter for inadequate racking designs for seismic events.  

Before the full extent of damage in Christchurch is known, there are lessons for Australian companies to take away with them:

  • Businesses should know their area’s seismic risk
  • Businesses must ensure their warehouse’s internal and external structures can withstand earthquakes
  • Businesses must have an emergency response and evacuation plan

Earthquakes can happen any time and come with no warning. Preparedness is the key.  

Planning ahead can limit damage, saving lives and potentially the business. Reviewing the seismic readiness of one’s steel storage racking is an important step to being prepared for an earthquake.

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