Who Performs Rack Inspections at Santa’s Warehouse?

santa giving a thumbs up in a warehouse

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it would be a dangerous time if Santa didn’t have some kind of safety system

Being Santa can’t be easy. The man in red isn’t just the CEO of the biggest non-profit organisation in the world; he’s also the face of Christmas itself. The bulk of his work happens on Christmas Eve, but Santa’s operational facility would need to work all year round in order for supply to meet demand.

And demand is high! According to the World Bank, children under the age of 14 make up 26% of the total population. Not all of those children will get presents, of course. Some will be on Santa’s naughty list and others might not believe in Santa. Even still, that still leaves Santa with 1.5 billion presents to make a year.

How Does Santa Do It? Making the Numbers Work?

Making that many presents in a year is doable with the right workforce size. Over the course of 10 years, Apple has sold over 1.2 billion iPhones. With a workforce ten times the size of Apple’s, Santa could create a similar number of a iPhones in 10 years. The issue, however, is that Apple only makes Apple products. Santa’s elves need to make a whole variety of products for a whole variety of well-behaved children.

This too is feasible with the right-sized workforce. After all, Amazon has twice as many employees as Apple and, with 2.1 million employees, Walmart has nearly ten times as many employees as Amazon. Put that all together and it’s not a stretch to imagine around a couple million elves making 1.5 billion presents in a year.

The real issue, though, is not production. The real issue is storage. We’ve long known that Santa has a workshop full of elves who produce his presents and that he delivers them on a sledge drawn by magical reindeer. No-one is disputing that.

The question is: how and where can you safely store 1.5 billion presents? This is where rack inspections and rack inspection safety come into play.

Rack Inspections Aren’t Done By Magic

The first thing to figure out is how big a warehouse which stores 1.5 billion presents needs to be. Or rather, if Santa needs more than one warehouse, how many warehouses will he need?

Amazon provides us with an answer here. In 2014, Amazon sold five billion products. That’s several times the number of presents which Santa delivers on Christmas Eve. Still, unlike Amazon, Santa needs to be able to store all 1.5 billion presents in one place and deliver all of them in one day.

Even still, the two business models are certainly comparable. With that in mind, how many warehouses does Amazon have and how big are they? Amazon has around 130 warehouses worldwide and over 70 of them are in the US. Based on those figures, Santa would need around 45 Amazon-sized warehouses in order to store 1.5 billion presents.

This would mean a lot of rack inspections. However, once again, if Amazon can do it, Santa can, too.

Who Performs Rack Inspections at Santa’s Warehouse?

Being Santa’s only employees, elves would seem like the obvious choice here. However, it’s not as simple as that. HSE recommends regular rack inspections from competent staff members, so these could be performed by elves, but it also recommends annual rack inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

Of course, Santa’s warehouse is not in the UK. However, it’s fair to assume that it’s in the EU. The tradition of Santa Claus is a Nordic one and Finland, an EU country, claims that Lapland is the home of Santa.

As such, rack inspections in Santa’s warehouse would need to come under EU law. This means — according to EU standard EN 15635 — that expert rack inspections would also need to be carried out at least once every 12 months alongside the regular rack inspections performed by Santa’s elves.

This isn’t problematic for a business like Amazon, whose secrecy isn’t important. For Santa, though, secrecy is vital for his brand, as well as the magic of Christmas. As such, we can only assume that the Finnish inspectors who visit Santa’s warehouse do so under strict instruction that they never reveal his the location of his secret warehouse.

Who exactly gets the prestigious honour of performing a rack inspection at Santa’s warehouse is unknown. However, it’s worth pointing out that there is only one SEMA approved racking inspector in the whole of Finland

For a rack inspection or rack inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector, contact Storage Equipment Experts today. Whether your business is in Ireland or the UK, we offer complete coverage. Sadly, we don’t do visits to the North Pole…

HSE Inspectors: What’s Their Stance on Racking Protectors?

HSE inspectors

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) couldn’t exist without hard-working inspectors and safety professionals of all kinds, so their stance on racking protectors matters a lot.

Ever since its formation in 1974, HSE has helped to improve working conditions for millions of British people. As a result, workplace fatalities have fallen by 85%. However, the organisation recognises that there’s still more work to be done, and it’s because of this belief in constant improvement that HSE’s standards are so high.

HSE’s stance on racking protectors is an example of its high standards. While these metal plates are designed to protect a racking system, they can actually make a workplace less safe when not used properly.

Some Background on HSE Inspectors

Typically, a HSE inspector is someone with a background in engineering or applied sciences. This might be through a university degree, some other kind of formal education, relevant work experience, or an apprenticeship.

The job is a 9-5 one, but HSE inspectors might have to work on weekends in the event of some kind of emergency. Most HSE inspectors work for HSE, but others might work for local councils or for large organisations. Due to government cuts, the number of HSE inspectors is decreasing. At the same time, the number of SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors is increasing — albeit slowly.

SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors (SARIs) are HSE inspectors of a sort. HSE recommends a racking inspection from a SARI at least every 12 months and it labels both SARIs and their inspections as “expert”. However, SARIs are not employed by HSE, a local council, or a large organisation. Though their expertise is recognised by HSE, many SARIs are freelancers.

What SARIs share in common with HSE inspectors are their backgrounds, their knowledge, and their stance on racking protectors. For businesses, the difference between HSE inspectors and SARIs is that HSE inspectors operate under a fee for intervention scheme and SARIs don’t.

In other words, if there is anything wrong with your workplace, your fine will include a charge designed to recover the costs lost from inspecting your workplace. This change in rules has also been brought on by government cuts as a cost-saving measure, and the result has been a sharp increase in fines.

By contrast, a SARI’s job isn’t to fine people. At Storage Equipment Experts, if we find something wrong with your workplace during an inspection, our aim is to help you. We want to make sure that you know exactly what’s wrong with your storage system so that you can fix it.

What Are Racking Protectors?

Both HSE inspectors and SARI inspectors sing from the same hymnbook when it comes to warehouse safety, and this is especially the case with regards to racking protectors. These protectors are often installed next to an upright. At the 2015 SEMA Safety Conference, SEMA made the SARI and HSE stance on racking protectors clear.

Their aim is to protect a racking system, but a common issue with them is overreliance. Too many warehouse workers treat racking protectors like goggles. Just as goggles are there to protect your eyes from the snow which will inevitably fly into your face, so too are racking protectors their to protect a racking system from inevitable collisions.

This attitude is wrong. Collisions with racking protectors are not inevitable, and they should be avoided as much as possible. Operating under the assumption that a racking protector will be used is the wrong idea.

Instead, warehouse workers should imagine racking protectors like bike helmets. Just as bike helmets are designed to protect someone’s head in the event of a crash, so too are racking protectors designed to protect a racking system in the event of a collision.

Both pieces of safety equipment are very important, but they are there as a last resort. The best form of protection for cyclists against crashing isn’t the helmet, but road safety awareness. Equally, the best form of protection for a racking system isn’t the racking protector, but racking safety awareness.

To make sure that you are using your racking protectors properly and to avoid a fine from HSE inspectors, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for a SEMA approved racking inspection!

Identifying Different Warehouse Shelving and Warehouse Racking

warehouse shelving

For any warehouse owner, it’s important to know your longspan shelving from your cantilever racking.

Warehouse shelving and warehouse racking comes in many different forms. In order to run a safe and profitable warehouse, you’ll need to know about these different forms.

Warehouse Shelving or Warehouse Racking?

The terms warehouse shelving and warehouse racking are often used synonymously. By and large, warehouse shelving tends to refer to smaller storage systems, whereas warehouse racking refers to bigger ones.

Still, HSE offers a better distinction than that. In HSG 76, it defines warehouse racking as “a skeletal framework, of fixed or adjustable design, to support loads generally without the use of shelves”. This would suggest that a warehouse storage system which uses shelves is classified as warehouse shelving, whereas any other kind of warehouse storage system counts as warehouse racking.

HSE does concede, though, that some racking systems might contain shelves as well, hence the expression “generally without the use of shelves”. This confuses things somewhat, and it’s probably why so many people refer to both systems as synonyms.

In order to educate warehouse owners on the different systems they’ll be using, we are going to run through the different kinds of warehouse shelving, as well as the different kinds of warehouse racking.

1. Longspan Shelving

The most popular kind of warehouse shelving is longspan shelving. This type of shelving is versatile and incredibly basic. It consists of a flat, long shelf of wood or metal, and a metal skeleton to hold it together. When most people imagine shelving, they imagine the simplicity of longspan shelving.

Longspan warehouse shelving can be modified with extension bays to add more height to the system or with galvanised shelves for refrigerated storage. However, any sort of shelving or racking installation needs to be done by a certified professional or by someone qualified.

What’s more, be sure that any modification of your system does not breach the end user agreement or void the storage equipment manufacturer or producer’s guarantee.

2. Tyre Racking

Tyre racking is sometimes known as tyre shelving. However, as a tyre storage system doesn’t have any shelves, tyre racking is a more accurate description. Like cantilever racking, this system is designed in a way which makes it inconvenient for most kinds of storage, but extremely convenient for certain kinds of storage.

If you store tyres in your warehouse, tyre racking is designed to be the best possible system. It’s the safest, easiest, and best way to store tyres in a warehouse.

3. Clothing System

Just as tyres need a unique storage solution, so too do clothes. It might well be that your clothes are folded and stored in boxes. In which case, longspan shelving or pallet racking would suffice. However, for hanging clothes, there are specific systems out there.

Adjustable Pallet Racking

If longspan racking is the most popular and versatile warehouse shelving system, adjustable pallet racking is the most popular and versatile racking system. Instead of shelves, adjustable pallet racking uses pallets which can be adjusted vertically. This allows for a wide variety of storage.

Of course, sometimes, a generic system isn’t the best. This is why cantilever racking and other storage systems exist. Still, for a business which stores a variety of items, pallet racking systems remain immensely popular.

Mezzanine Racking System

A mezzanine racking system is a storage system with stairs and walkways which allow staff members to climb the system, but only in a very specific way. This is the only kind of racking system which can be climbed on, which is why there are strict guidelines regarding the load-bearing capacity.

Drive-Through Racking

For warehouses which use forklifts or other kinds of vehicles, drive-through racking is a great option. It’s designed to allow for the safe passage of vehicles, but drivers should still take extra care when operating a vehicle in a warehouse.

This means using rack protectors correctly, as outlined in HSE HSG76, by only using them as a last resort and it also means referring to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998.

Cantilever Racking

Pretty much all racking systems are variations on a pallet racking system. The most notable exception to this a cantilever racking system. A cantilever racking system consists of arms instead of pallets. The result is the ability to store long, thin objects — like timber or steel beams — much better than a pallet racking system could.

Because cantilever racking systems are specialist, they require specialist inspectors. The SEMA Approved Racking Inspector (SARI) from Storage Equipment Experts is one of the only SARIs to be qualified by SEMA to inspect cantilever racking as well as all kinds of pallet racking.

For inspection or inspection training on warehouse shelving or any kind of warehouse racking, contact Storage Equipment Experts. Phone us for a FREE consultation and for nationwide coverage for the whole of the UK and nationwide coverage for the whole of Ireland, too.

Should I Give My Staff SEMA Racking Training This Christmas?

White box wrapped with a red ribbon

SEMA racking training isn’t a gift you can wrap, but it’s still a welcome addition to Christmas

If you want your staff to be driving home for Christmas, you’ll need a safe workplace. SEMA racking training can help you with that. However, that doesn’t mean that every staff member needs SEMA racking training.

What is SEMA Racking Training?

SEMA racking training is any kind of rack safety course run by SEMA. We offer rack safety training courses run by a SEMA approved racking inspector, but this is not the same as SEMA racking training.

Do My Staff Need SEMA Racking Training?

HSE recommends regular racking inspections from staff members and it also recommends that each warehouse has a person responsible for racking safety (PRRS). According to the CDM Regulations 2015, it is your duty as an employer to make sure that anyone performing a task like racking inspection or performing a role like the PRRS is “competent”.

To achieve this competency, SEMA racking training or racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector (SARI) are both good options. HSE labels SEMA, SARIs, and the work they both perform as “expert”. As such, it’s fair to assume that someone successfully trained by SEMA or a SARI to inspect racking would be deemed “competent”.

What Does SEMA Racking Training Involve?

This depends entirely on the course, but inspection is probably the most important aspect of any SEMA racking training course or any course performed by a SARI. The reason for this is that inspection is the aspect of racking safety which requires the most explanation.

Safe installation of racking mostly involves making sure that the person doing the installation is SEMA approved. Safe use of racking mostly involves following the manufacturer’s instructions, especially with regards to load notices. However, safe inspection of racking involves knowing what to inspect, how often to inspect, what to do in the event of damage, and what damage or misuse actually looks like.

That last part is often the trickiest thing to spot and the easiest thing to miss. Knowing whether or not a racking system is missing a small part and knowing how integral this part is to the whole system is just one example of something which can require training. After all, it’s impossible to say for certain if a storage system is unsafe if you don’t know exactly what safe looks like, exactly what unsafe looks like, and what exactly makes a system safe or unsafe.

Is SEMA Racking Training Enough?

Giving your staff SEMA racking training — or training from a SARI — will likely be enough to class them as competent. However, the important thing to remember about safety is that it is a continuous process, rather than a one-time thing.

As such, you will also need to make sure that your trained staff perform racking inspections on a regular basis. For this, HSE recommends a traffic light system, where no damage is marked as green and damage is marked as amber or red, depending on its severity. Each colour then requires a different action.

This means that it’s not enough for your staff to passively receive the training. They need to actively use this training on a regular basis through regular inspections. What’s more, they need to act upon any damage they find in the warehouse.As well as all that, you will need to ensure that your staff receives an inspection at least once every 12 months from a SARI.

For racking inspection or racking inspection training from one of the only SARIs qualified by SEMA to inspect pallet racking and cantilever racking, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for a FREE consultation. We offer nationwide coverage for both the whole of the UK and Ireland.