Metal shelving is to be considered, for all effects and purposes, working equipment pursuant to Italian Lgs. Decree 81/08. Employers are therefore obliged to respect the generic obligations concerning working equipment and, in particular, those contained in Title III, making available to their collaborators equipment that conforms to the current standards and regulations in force for such assets.

Employer’s Obligations

In general, Employers must therefore:

  • guarantee that the installation and use of shelving is done in conformity with the manufacturer’s usage instructions;
  • guarantee that, following installation, an initial audit of the equipment is carried out;
  • guarantee suitable maintenance, by drafting a plan that ensures safety requirements continue to be met over time.

Following repeated seismic events, the carrying out of specific analyses according to the requirements of the UNI/TS 11379 “Metallic storage systems. Design of static steel pallet racks under seismic conditions” has proven useful in verifying, by an FEM analysis, if the existing shelving complies with current standards and, if necessary, by suggesting actions to be taken to make them adequate.

Moreover, the Annex IV point 1.1.3. of the Consolidated Act on Safety (Italian Lgs. Decree 81/08) establishes the obligation of indicating the maximum load capacity allowed in workplaces used for storage. More specifically, these principles are laid out in the UNI EN 15635Steel static storage systems – Application and maintenance of storage equipment.” standard, which makes the user of the storage equipment responsible for requesting and carrying out annual inspections of the same by a qualified expert.

The companies that use shelving for pallets must therefore:

  • identify, assign, and adequately prepare a person responsible for the safety of storage equipment found on the premises (PRSES. Person Responsible for Storage Equipment Safety)
  • entrust an outsourced technician expert from an Independent Third-party Agency to carry out periodic inspections, at intervals of no longer than 12 months, finalised at submitting a written report to the PRSES and the Employer, containing observations and potential proposals for interventions believed necessary to guarantee safety.

Therefore it is necessary to organise a periodic inspection service for the purpose of evaluating the state of preservation/efficiency of the structures and identifying potential needs for restoration: this process must be entrusted to professionals with proven capacity and skills.

ECO Assessment

The technical inspections conducted by ECO Certificazioni make it possible to call attention to the presence of potential damage and deformations of the entire structure and verify its safety, guaranteeing a noticeable reduction of risks and a safer functioning of the warehouse.

All the verifications are intended for the purpose of checking every aspect of the shelving: correct assembly, static and geometric stability, correspondence to the load capacity tables, verticality, alignment, correct fixing of bolts and expansion screws, etc. The data collected constitute the basis of the final Report that, once drafted, attests to the suitability or the unsuitability of the shelving, highlighting the interventions that may be necessary to maintain the safety of the installation. The document represents the evidence of the valid control and correct maintenance of the shelving and must be stored in the company to be produced in case of inspections by competent authorities.

Regulatory references for the static design of shelving

UNI EN 15878:2010 Steel static storage systems – Terms and definitions
UNI EN 15512:2009 Steel static storage systems – Adjustable pallet racking systems – Principles for structural design
UNI EN 15620:2009 Steel static storage systems – Adjustable pallet racking – Tolerances, deformations and clearances
UNI EN 15635:2009 Steel static storage systems – Application and maintenance of storage equipment
UNI EN 15629:2009 Steel static storage systems – Specification of storage equipment
UNI 11636:2016 Industrial racking system – Storage equipment validation
UNI 11262:2017 Metallic storage systems – Steel commercial storage systems – Requirements, calculation methods and tests, delivery, use and maintenance

Regulatory references for the anti-seismic design of shelving

FEM 10.2.08 Recommendations for the design of static steel pallets racks under seismic conditions
UNI/TS 11379 Design of static steel pallet racks under seismic conditions.

The obligation of anti-seismic design as established by legislation currently in force in Italy

In Italy the regulatory situation presents some peculiarities due to the background criteria of the shelving, which are translated in the two cases below:

  • Non-Self-Supporting Storage Racks: in this case, the metallic shelving, contained within standard civil engineering works, are generally considered “warehouse equipment” not subject to NTC18 requirements.
  • Self-Supporting Storage Racks: in this case the shelving is also a primary support structure of the building envelope that contains it and is for this reason subject to NTC18 prescriptions.
    The self-supporting Shelving and lightweight shelving with multi-level walkways, buildings in all respects, fall easily under the field of application of Title IV, Chapter I, of the Italian Lgs. Decree n. 81/2008.

Classification of shelving

On shelving, the Commission for rulings (Art. 12, Italian Lgs. Decree n. 81/2008), with ruling n. 16/2013 indicates metallic shelving assembly and disassembly activities inside hobby or industrial settings as:

“possibility to exclude from the field of application of Title IV of the Italian Lgs. Decree n. 81/2008 and, in particular, from Art. 89, paragraph 1, lett. a) – definition of construction site – a workplace where the assembly of shelving is carried out indoors, whether in a “hobby” workshop or industrial facility, that does not fall under the definition of self-supporting industrial warehouse where instead it is possible to liken the installation to fixed metal works as outlined in Annex X of Italian Lgs. Decree n. 81/2008.”

In the ruling there is a list of metallic shelving examples mentioned in the “Guide to the safety of shelving and mezzanines” of the ACAI – Associazione fra i Costruttori in Acciaio Italiani (Italian Steel Builders’ Association) – Sezione Scaffalature Industriali (Industrial Shelving Section) – Gruppo di Lavoro “Sicurezza” (“Safety” Task Force) (Milan, 2008), and an outline of the relative standard. Having taken in to account the noted diversity of the characteristics of “metallic shelving”, it is the opinion of this Commission that the applicability of Title IV, Chapter I, of Italian Lgs. Decree n. 81/2008 to the assembly/disassembly of metallic shelving must be deduced, taking into account the joint application of the following elements:
a) context in which the shelving must be assembled;
b) type of shelving.


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