3 Things to Expect from HSE in 2017

hse racking inspection legislation

HSE racking inspection legislation is unlikely to change in 2017, but many other things might, many other things will, and some things are already beginning to shift.

2016 has been a big year for HSE. Dame Judith Hackitt stepped down as HSE’s chair after eight years in charge, HSE unveiled its new strategy (“Help Great Britain Work Well”), and HSE racking inspection legislation continued to contribute towards a slow but continuous decline in the rate of workplace fatalities and injuries per 100,000 workers.

However, 2017 promises to be an even bigger year. Here are three things to expect from HSE starting January next year.

1. HSE Will Tackle Work-Related Stress

As part of the government’s continued ideological commitment to the “parity of esteem” of mental and physical health in the UK, HSE’s research arm, HSL (the Health and Safety Laboratory), will be delivering a two-day course in February on work-related stress.

The World Health Organisation takes work-related stress seriously and labels recognition and respect at work as “a fundamental human need”. In other words, work-related stress isn’t just something that happens. Not everybody loves their job, but work should not be something which makes people stressed day in and day out. HSE’s course on work-related stress shows that it is taking this issue seriously and tackling it pragmatically.

2. HSE Wants to Change Risk Assessment Guidance

In early October this year, HSE was asked for comments on changes it wanted to make to its risk assessment guidance. HSE’s exact words were that it wanted to “make some changes to our current guidance on risk and we want to hear what you think before we publish it”. It’s hard to say when these changes will be implemented, but a likely guess is that they’ll come into effect at some point during 2017.

HSE claims that the reason for this change is based on feedback from businesses that the current risk assessment system is seen as separate to “real business”. HSE wants to change this so that the risk assessment system becomes a natural and helpful part of the day-to-day running of a business, rather than meaningless paperwork. Before it does this, however, it’s looking for feedback.

It will be interesting to see what sort of risk assessment guidance HSE winds up with after this public feedback. We at Storage Equipment Experts — along with many British businesses — will be eager to find out.

3. HSE Racking Inspection Legislation Will Likely Not Change

HSE’s second edition of warehousing and storage was published in 2007. Since then, its guidance on what warehouse racking regulations should be has not changed. While racking inspections are not technically a legal requirement, acting counter to HSE’s advice means that the “client” (the person legally responsible for anyone entering their warehouse) will be held accountable if anything should happen. This is what the CDM regulations, updated in 2015, dictate and they are unlikely to change in 2017.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we believe strongly in the wisdom of HSE racking inspection legislation. According to HSE’s guidance on warehouse racking inspections, businesses should receive a SEMA racking inspection at least once a year and internal racking inspections should be carried out regularly by “technically competent” staff. That is why we offer SEMA approved racking inspections and racking inspection training to businesses across the UK.

Whatever happens in 2017, we at Storage Equipment Experts will continue to deliver our highest quality of service. To prove that we know our stuff better than anyone else, we offer a warehouse racking inspection template in the form of a racking inspection checklist — for free!

This year, next year, or any year, don’t settle for second best! Contact Storage Equipment Experts today for the best racking inspection training in the UK.

Racking Inspectors UK: Everything You Need to Know

2 racking inspectors in the uk looking at a clipboard

Racking inspectors in the UK come in many different forms. So we wanted to break it all down for you.

Racking inspection regulations in the UK are broken down pretty clearly by HSE. However, despite this, it’s easy to be confused. Storage Equipment Experts are among the best racking inspectors in the UK. In fact, we like to think we’re the best. Still, don’t just take our word for it; read our testimonials on our pallet racking inspection training and SEMA approved rack inspections.

All of which makes us best qualified to explain what a racking inspector in the UK is, what they should be, and what they should not be.

Bad Racking Inspectors in the UK: Unqualified and Unreviewed

The government reviewed its CDM regulations in order to simplify things for both racking inspectors in the UK and those who need to use the services offered by racking inspectors. At this point, the regulations are still quite young and the jury is still out on whether or not they have improved racking inspection regulations.

The old regulations allowed for the proliferation of card schemes and people calling themselves “racking inspection experts”. The new regulations mean it is up to the “client”, the person ultimately responsible for the safety of people in a given space — whether that’s a building site, a workplace, or a film-set — to decide who qualifies as a racking inspection expert.

On the upside, this simplifies things. In one fell swoop, it put an end to the legitimacy of many of these card schemes. On the downside, though, this now allows for anyone to call themselves a “racking inspection expert” — card or no card, scheme or no scheme, qualification or no qualification. So how can you sort the wheat from the chaff?

For a start, a bad racking inspector in the UK will not have the glowing reviews that we at Storage Equipment Experts do. Still, there’s more to it than that.

Good Racking Inspectors in the UK Have Passed the SEMA Approved Racking Inspector Course

While HSE still leaves the ultimate decision up to the client, the exact wording used in its guide to warehouse safety is important. It states that “expert” racking inspections need to be performed once a year by an outside party. It then cites SEMA approved racking inspectors (SARIs) as an example of this sort of “expert”.

HSE racking inspections” do not exist. Rather, HSE cites one — and only one — example of a racking inspection “expert”: a SEMA approved racking inspector. Beyond that, it is up for the “client” to decide who they want inspecting their racking.

The Best Racking Inspectors in the UK? Look no Further…

With over 100 qualified SEMA approved racking inspectors in the UK, it can be hard to decide who to choose. Still, there are many, many reasons why you should choose Storage Equipment Experts:

  • We offer SEMA approved racking inspections and racking inspection training delivered by a SEMA approved racking inspector.
  • Our SEMA approved racking inspector is one of only 34 people who has also passed SEMA cantilever racking inspection training.
  • Our SEMA approved racking inspector is the only one in the London area, is willing to travel all over the UK, and can to do so easily because of London’s unrivaled transport links to the rest of the country.
  • We have designed the most authoritative SEMA racking inspection checklist in the UK.
  • We have glowing reviews from the Tate Modern, Dunlop, and Dairy Crest (the parent company of Clover, Countrylife Butter, and Cathedral City Cheese).

Now that you know why we’re the best racking inspectors in the UK, be sure to get in touch for your annual SEMA approved racking inspection or for racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector!

The 12 Workplace Dangers of Christmas

Health and Safety professionals enjoying an office christmas party

“On the first day of Christmas, my employer gave to me…” Give your staff the gift of safety this Christmas. It’s cheap, you don’t have to wrap it, and they will definitely appreciate it.

We don’t want to sound like a Scrooge, but Christmas can be a dangerous time of year for the British workplace. The pace of work gets faster and attitudes get laxer, as sales increase and staff start seeing their Christmas time off fast approaching. Employees might stop thinking about rack inspection training and start thinking about mince pies, warm sherry, and the Doctor Who Christmas special.

So, just to make sure that everyone is driving home for Christmas in one piece, here are twelve workplace dangers to watch out for during this wonderful time of the year.

1. Cold Workplaces

A cold workplace isn’t just annoying; it can be dangerous. It is because of this that HSE suggests how cold they think a workplace should be. For most workplaces, HSE recommends a minimum temperature of 16 degrees Celsius. However, if the work involves “rigorous physical effort”, then HSE suggests a minimum temperature of 13 degrees Celsius. HSE also points out that these temperatures are not a legal requirement. It is ultimately the responsibility of the employer to decide how cold is too cold.

2. Icy and Wet Floors

Even if you’ve got the temperature of your workplace right, the cold can still wreak havoc on your floors. Wet floors in sub-zero conditions can become icy floors and accidents are often not far behind. HSE has plenty of advice on how to avoid slips, trips, and falls on slippery floors. However, here’s a brief summary of what you can do.

  • Both icy floors and wet floors should be dealt with immediately after they are discovered.
  • Preventative measures should be taken to stop floors from being slippery in the first place.
  • Workers can also take precautions themselves to avoid slipping (i.e. wearing the right footwear and not running).

3. Flus, Colds, and the Sniffles

Yet another danger of the cold workplace is the illness it can spread. During the colder months of the year, it’s likely that most of your employees will have a runny nose and a mild cough. This is the sniffles and, thankfully, your employees can probably soldier on through it.

However, when you have a whole group of people spending all day together, swapping germs with each other, and running their immune systems into the ground with Christmas overtime in a cold workplace, the sniffles can develop into something more sinister. Fortunately, the NHS has plenty of advice on how to stop the flu from spreading, as well as guidelines on stopping the spread of germs in general.

4. Overloaded Racking And No Rack Inspection Training

For most businesses, Christmas is the busiest time of the year. However, while all of that extra business is hardly a bad thing, it can bring with it some unintended downsides.

More sales mean more stock and more stock means a higher risk of overloaded racking systems. It is during December that rack inspection training from a SEMA approved rack inspector is most important.

But it’s not enough to rely on just an annual inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector. HSE also recommends regular racking inspections from someone with knowledge of pallet racking systems. During the Christmas quarter, when racking is taken to its limit with tonnes of new stock, pallet racking inspections from staff who have received pallet racking inspection training becomes vital.

5. MSDs and Injuries from Bad Lifting

Musculoskeletal disorders are the result of bad lifting and one of the most common workplace ailments. During the Christmas period, with new stock flooding into a business, more employees are lifting more objects more frequently than at any other time of the year. As a result, the risk of MSDs or a more instant injury — such as a pulled muscle — increases exponentially. Fortunately, there is plenty of advice out there on how to lift properly and safely.

6. A Busy Shop Floor

When there is a potential danger on your shop floor — whether that’s because of a slippery surface, because something has fallen, or because something could be about to fall — sorting it out as quickly as possible is imperative. However, when your shop is busy, these dangers are much more frequent as customers themselves may bump into things and create problems. More customers mean more potential accidents, so make sure everything is ship-shape.

7. Opportunistic Thieves and Shoplifters

It’s as sad as it is true that some people take advantage of the confusion of the Christmas crowds in order to steal things. Shoplifting has a nasty habit of increasing during the Christmas period, so be wary.

8. Agitated Customers

Whether it’s because of lengthy queues or the aforementioned shoplifting, tensions can run high during Christmas shopping. Customers can get angry and, when they do, accidents can happen. Remember that it is the season to be jolly and try to keep everyone calm and safe — staff and customers alike.

9. Distracted Staff

Christmas is coming up, so being the kind boss that you are, you give your staff a little bit of leeway here and there. There’s Christmas music playing throughout the building, a few guys are wearing Santa hats, and everyone relaxes a little bit.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with any of this. Far be it from anyone to deny hardworking employees a little Christmas joy. Still, it’s worth remembering that, whatever concessions you decide to give your employees, be sure that safety still remains a top priority.

10. Hungover Staff

Christmas can be a pretty boozy time of year, and it’s important to take precautions. All that mulled wine may have seemed like a good idea at Jerry’s pre-Christmas get-together, but now it’s 7:30am and you wish the bus to work would just burst into a ball of flames.

Being hungover at work might seem hilarious if you’re young or work at a desk, but any kind of physical labour becomes difficult at best and fatally dangerous at worse. Don’t let it slip through the net. If an employee arrives at work noticeably hungover, send them home. If they made the extremely dangerous and potentially illegal decision to drive to work, be certain that they don’t drive back.

11. Christmas Decorations

A Christmas without decorations is hardly Christmas at all. Still, while all those boughs of holly may look lovely, it’s important to know that they’re safe. Risk assessments are a necessity at any workplace and during Christmas, when your workplace has the potential to be filled with fairy lights, dancing Santas, and a smorgasbord of other decorations, it’s time for another quick risk assessment. It would be the harshest of ironies if your decorations, designed to bring people cheer, ended up injuring someone because they were placed in an inconvenient or dangerous location. Be safe and give each decoration a thorough once over; a decent risk assessment goes a long, long way.

12. Forgetting Your Annual SEMA Approved Rack Inspection!

It’s getting towards the end of the year and you’re certain you’ve forgotten something. Still, it’s Christmas now — the busiest quarter for your business — so whatever it is will have to wait until next year, right?

Wrong. HSE recommends a SEMA approved rack inspection from a SEMA approved rack inspector at least once a year for good reason. Ideally, your annual rack inspection should be performed before Christmas, when any issues can be dealt with before your racking is loaded with a huge amount of Christmas stock. If you put your rack inspection off longer than a year, you run against HSE’s advice. With the new CDM regulations, this makes you solely responsible for any accidents that might occur as a result of putting off your annual SEMA approved rack inspection.

Christmas is a stressful time of year and there’s almost no avoiding that. However, with our advice, at least your Christmas will be a safe one.

Give your staff, your customers, and yourself the gift of safety this year with SEMA approved racking inspections from Storage Equipment Experts.

The Importance of Racking Inspections in the Fireworks Industry

male and female warehouse workers conducting a pallet racking inspection

November 5th is fast approaching, but without regular pallet racking inspections, Bonfire Night would be a very dangerous holiday

Fireworks can be extremely dangerous. When you light that fuse, you are essentially starting a controlled explosion. Without government oversight and HSE regulations on fireworks, they’d be nothing but glorified grenades!

However, before fireworks can even get into our hands, they have to be stored properly, and this is no mean feat. Without regular pallet racking inspections, a warehouse full of fireworks is a disaster waiting to happen.

Remember, Remember… Regular Pallet Racking Inspections

Consider where you buy your fireworks from: giant warehouses filled to the brim with explosives. Now imagine what would happen if, for whatever reason, a stray spark flew in the wrong direction. Imagine what would happen if somebody was just a little clumsy. Imagine what would happen without regular pallet racking inspections.

For those working in one of the many firework warehouses in Liuyang, China, imagination is not necessary. Liuyang produces 60 percent of the fireworks sold in China’s $600 million a year fireworks industry. However, those fireworks aren’t just blown up in China; 95 percent of fireworks used in the US are from China.

In other words, Liuyang fireworks are an international phenomenon and, as such, their safety needs to be assured. Unfortunately, though, this is not always the case. Explosions, injuries, and — sadly — deaths in fireworks factories in Liuyang and across China are depressingly common.

China Needs Racking Inspection Regulations If It Wants to Remain the World’s Firework Producer

At the G20 this year, China attempted to demonstrate to the whole world that it was an economically developed global powerhouse that was open for business. However, though China has undoubtedly made immense progress in many areas, it is still plagued by human rights abuses, political corruption, censorship, and air pollution.

Added to all that, China remains an extremely dangerous place to work. One year after the Tianjin warehouse explosions in 2015 which killed 173 people, many critics argue that the government has not learnt its lesson. In order to become the sort of country that businesses can invest in with a clear conscience, China needs — among many other things — work safety regulations, such as racking inspection regulations.

What Can Pallet Racking Inspections Do for the Fireworks Industry?

Fireworks can be sold safely, but in order to do that, businesses selling fireworks need third-party pallet racking inspections from racking inspection experts to spot the dangers that your employees can’t. Pallet racking inspections in the UK are recommended by HSE at least once a year. Specifically, they recommend a SEMA racking inspection — a racking inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

Initiatives like this from HSE are probably why workplace fatality rates have fallen by 86 percent. HSE made the right decision when it came to recommending safety inspections for businesses and, with regular pallet racking inspections, the fireworks industry in China could be much safer.

Pallet Racking Inspections Mean Certainty

When you’re storing fireworks, you cannot afford to take risks. A warehouse racking collapse this year in the UK made the headlines, and — thankfully — no-one was injured. In this case, however, the warehouse stored cheese. Cheese is soft, cheese is not very dense, and cheese is not explosive.

Fireworks, however, are explosive. They are extremely volatile and, without regular pallet racking inspections, there’s no telling when the next accident is going to happen. Just as pallet racking inspections are vital for the whisky industry, so too are they for the fireworks industry. The storage of fireworks is not something that can be left to chance. Regular pallet racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector mean that it doesn’t need to be.

Fireworks stored in the British warehouses are in a safe condition precisely because of HSE’s recommendations on pallet racking inspections. Without this, a warehouse full of fireworks would be a ticking timebomb.

Whether you’re storing fireworks or anything else in your warehouse, it needs a pallet racking inspection as per HSE’s recommendations. So contact us today!