Recently there has been a rise in the number of people offering free or very cheap racking inspections.
Personally I am not aware of any charitable organisations working within the racking industry. Those who offer free or cheap inspections usually expect to profit from the repairs that follow the inspection. This could be directly as the repairer and supplier of replacement parts or indirectly as an agent receiving a commission from the repairer.
Some companies will state upfront that the inspection will be free if they carry out the repairs, but in reality the labour cost of the inspection is factored into the overall price of the repairs.
Other less reputable companies will condemn a few extra components during their inspection in order to cover the cost of the “free inspection”.
Choosing a bona fide racking safety inspection company is critical to ensuring the safety of everyone at your place of work. Above all you need to feel confident that your racking safety inspection is thorough, identifies all damage and defects accurately, does not overstate the remedial works necessary and has been undertaken by a fully qualified, technically competent person.
If you have previously received a free/cheap inspection or plan to have one in the future the following should be considered:
Was the inspector qualified to undertake the inspection?
How long did it take your inspector to complete the survey? – did it seem a reasonable length of time considering the size of your system and all of the components within it.
The quality of the report provided – proffesional or “back of a fag packet” – does it comply with industry codes of practice? – would it satisfy the Health and Safety Authority?
Did this company install or repair the racking you have? If so, how can you be assured of the workmanship provided if they are to check their own work?
Being advised that your system is in such poor condition that it will need total replacement – this might be true but could also be very misleading.
Being advised that your system is obsolete and parts cannot be obtained, so unfortunately it will need total replacement – although this might be true it could also be very misleading.
Being offered alternative systems only from your service provider’s portfolio – this could suggest a vested interest.
Not being recommended a choice of repair agents – this could also suggest a vested interest.
A reluctance or inability to produce load notice signs for the racking you have. – technical competence under question.
Realistically, can you trust a company that offers to work free of charge? Ask why the service is free or very cheap. There must be something in it for them and they should be upfront about it. Also ask what codes of practice they are working to and if they have copies available to show you as proof.
Finally before making a decision on your safety inspection provider you need to satisfy yourself that you are choosing a technically competent person who can demonstrate that competence. In the event of a dangerous incident you will not be absolved from your legal responsibility on the basis of cost and proceedings could be taken against you.