How to Spot a Bad Racking Inspection Course?

Bad Racking Inspection Course

Bad Inspection courses vary a lot in quality across the UK and Ireland, so how you can you spot a bad one?

A bad racking inspection course can be worse than useless. Not only will it not teach you good practice for racking inspection safety; it runs the risk of teaching the wrong way to inspect a racking system. In some cases, doing something wrong is more dangerous than not doing it at all.

To make sure that your racking inspections are the rigorous safety checks they should be, you need the right kind of training. In order to get that, here’s a quick guide on how to spot a bad racking inspection courses.

A Bad Racking Inspection Course Makes False Promises

SEMA delivers a course designed for people who want to pursue a career in racking inspections. The people who attend this course usually have some kind of background in engineering or safety and have every intention of starting their own racking inspection business.

The people who pass the pre-course qualifier, attend this intensive course, and attend all of the necessary follow up training are SEMA approved racking inspectors. Attending any other racking inspection courses will not make them a SEMA approved racking inspector. Courses which accidentally — or purposefully — suggest otherwise are wrong.

This is relevant because HSE recommends inspections from outside “experts”, such as SEMA approved racking inspectors, at least once a year. Attending a racking inspection courses will not qualify you as an “expert”; only SEMA approved racking inspectors qualify as experts.

What a racking inspection courses allow you to do is perform the regular staff-led inspections which HSE also recommends.

A Bad Racking Inspection Course Is Not Thorough

Learning how to properly inspect a racking system isn’t like learning how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. While the latter can be learnt by watching a 20-minute video, the former is a lot more complicated and it should be treated as such.

The racking inspection course we offer at Storage Equipment Experts is a full-day course. We pack as much information as we can into the day, but we don’t rush through anything either. We make certain that each person attending the course gets as much out of it as possible.

A Bad Racking Inspection Course Will Be Delivered By Someone Unqualified

Anyone can offer a racking inspection course, but that doesn’t mean you can or should trust just anyone. In order to guarantee that you will adopt good practice with your racking inspections. You need a racking inspection course delivered by a SEMA approved racking inspector. This is exactly the kind, of course, we offer at Storage Equipment Experts.

A Bad Racking Inspection Course Is Inflexible

There are SEMA approved racking inspectors all over the UK and Ireland. In fact, there are SEMA approved racking inspectors all over the world. All of this is well and good, but a racking inspection course being delivered in Shanghai isn’t much help if your business is based in Redditch.

London is an extremely accessible city for people across the UK, Ireland, and even most of Europe. This is why attending the racking inspection courses at our training centre is so easy. However, even travelling to a city as accessible as London isn’t an option for everyone. The new generation of business owners is more strapped for time than ever. It’s for this reason that we also offer to travel to your workplace to deliver our racking inspection course.

As well as making the courses easier for your staff to attend, another benefit is that we able to show you exactly how a racking inspection should be performed in your workplace. What’s more, we are happy to travel to any business in the UK or Ireland to deliver this service.

If you’re considering booking a racking inspection courses for you or your staff, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for a FREE consultation. With testimonials from Tate Modern, Smiffys, and Dunlop. We are proud to offer the best racking inspection services in the UK.

Will Racking Inspection Legislation Change in 2018?

Racking Inspection Legislation

2018 will likely bring many changes to the UK, so racking inspection legislation may have to change with it.

Racking inspection legislation has gone through many changes since the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was passed. What started off as a very vague — but very important — workplace safety law became HSE. Today, HSE helps to create legislation and guidance for many specific workplace safety issues. Racking inspection legislation is just one such example of this.

What Is Racking Inspection Legislation?

Racking inspection legislation is a tough thing to define. The most cohesive guide on the topic of how and how often businesses should inspect their racking systems in the UK comes from HSE’s HSG76. The second edition of this guide was published in 2007 and it hasn’t been updated since.

However, HSE’s HSG76 is not legislation in of itself. Rather, it is good practice guidance from HSE. As such, the guide opens with the following caveat:

This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

In short, while HSG76 may not have changed since 2007, that doesn’t mean that racking inspection legislation hasn’t changed or couldn’t change.

Examples of Racking Inspection Legislation

There are no British laws which were explicitly written to refer to racking inspection, but there are laws which affect racking inspections. In this sense, many pieces of racking inspection legislation have been introduced and have changed over the years.

One of the most important of these is the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998. In January this year, a business in Northampton was fined £330,000 and had to pay damages of over £11,000 after it pleaded guilty to breaching the fifth regulation of PUWER 1998.

This regulation emphasises an employer’s responsibility to make sure that work equipment is inspected after installation and at regular intervals. It’s exactly because of this regulation that businesses are legally required to inspect their racking systems in the same way, as racking systems count as work equipment.

So, Could Racking Inspection Legislation Change in 2018?

It’s possible. What’s more, it’s completely possible for the law to change and for HSE HS76 to stay the same. This is exactly what happened when the CDM Regulations were updated in 2015.

Coming into force just three years ago, these regulations have completely changed the onus of responsibility when it comes to racking inspections. Past CDM Regulations emphasised the importance of competence for employees working in a construction environment.

The issue was that competence — as well as what counted as construction work — was ill-defined by the previous regulations. In 2015, this all changed with the new CDM Regulations, which greatly expanded the legal definition of construction to include warehouses, television studios, and film sets to name a few examples.

What’s more, it is now the legal responsibility of employers to ensure that their employees are competent. It’s also now their legal responsibility to provide a convincing argument for the competence of their employers.

This change in responsibility had the effect of freeing up time and money for HSE, as well as making HSE’s HSG76 more important than ever. Even if the guide itself didn’t change, the fact that it is now an employer’s responsibility to define competence for themselves has led many to fall back on HSE’s advice in this guide.

It’s in this guide that HSE recommends annual racking inspections from SEMA approved racking inspectors (who they label as “experts”). They also recommend regular staff-led racking inspections.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we provide racking inspections from SEMA approved inspectors. We also provide racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector, so that your staff are competent enough to perform the regular staff-led inspections HSE recommends.

 Contact Storage Equipment Experts today for a FREE consultation on racking inspections from SEMA approved inspectors.

Can Rack Inspection Training Help You With Best Practice?

Rack Inspection Training

Rack inspection training should act as a template on which businesses base their actions.

When you want to teach your employees how to perform staff-led racking inspections, the best way to do this is to make them attend rack inspection training. Doing so will give them the confidence and the expertise to perform rack inspections themselves. The reason for this is that — arguably — rack inspection training is an example of best practice. Still, what does that mean?

What Is Rack Inspection Best Practice?

The Amazon warehouse has 45,000 robots in it and the company is looking to introduce even more in the coming years. To Amazon, there is a right way and a wrong way to operate within a warehouse. It believes that — should a robot be able to learn the right way of doing things and execute its tasks accordingly — this robot can work for Amazon.

Behind all this is the idea of “best practice”. Like a “zero accident” workplace, best practice is best understood as a way of thinking, rather than a goal which can be achieved. A workplace where one way of doing things is the right way of doing them on every occasion; that’s best practice.

In reality, of course, it doesn’t always work like that. This is why HSE’s HSG76 places emphasis on the fact that their guide to warehouse safety doles out “good practice” advice, but that other courses of action might be taken in other instances.

While it’s good to have some leeway, the benefit of rack inspection training is that it can give you some guidance as to what best practice is. Of course, as with HSE’s guidance, it’s also perfectly fine to view it as “good practice” instead.

Why Should Businesses Follow the Guidance Given in Rack Inspection Training?

In recent years, we have been plagued by a lack of belief in experts and what experts have to say about issues. With so much information out there, people want to believe that they can figure out difficult issues for themselves.

Safety is one of many sectors where this is a problem. When health and safety myths make their way into the public consciousness because of a newspaper headline or some internet rumour, it can be hard to stamp these false ideas out. It’s because of issues like this that health and safety experts are so important.

The people who deliver rack inspection training at Storage Equipment Experts are — well — experts. This is the label which HSE’s HSG76 gives to SEMA approved racking inspectors (SARIs) and our rack inspection training course is delivered by a SEMA approved racking inspector (SARI).

To become a SARI, a person needs to pass a pre-course qualifier, attend a three-day intensive SEMA approved racking inspector course, pass the end of course assessment, and continue to top up their knowledge by attending seminars and additional courses. The failure rate for the SARI course is high, which is why there are only 107 SARIs in the world.

It is because of SEMA’s high standards and the high failure rate of the SARI course that the people who are SARIs are labelled as experts. As such, the guidance they give in rack inspection training courses should be trusted.

Rack inspection training may not be best practice advice, but it’s certainly good practice advice which goes hand in hand with the advice from HSE’s HSG76 as well the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the CDM Regulations 2015.

To receive rack inspection training from an expert, contact Storage Equipment Experts for a FREE, no-obligation consultation on our range of racking inspection services.

What is a “SEMA Approved Racking Inspector”?

SEMA approved racking inspector

Since 2004, SEMA has been running courses for people wanting to become SEMA approved racking inspector (SARIs). A lot has changed in 13 years, but SEMA’s standards remain the same.

A SEMA approved racking inspector (also known as a SEMA approved inspector or SARI) is a person who has completed one of SEMA’s specialised training courses on racking inspections.

What’s the Difference Between SEMA Racking Inspection Courses and Your Racking Inspection Training Course?

SEMA racking inspection courses (also known as SEMA approved racking inspection courses) are specifically designed for future SEMA approved racking inspectors. According to HSE, people who pass that course are able to deliver “expert” third-party racking inspections for businesses. HSE recommends “expert” inspections such as these at least once a year.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 also recommends that further inspections are needed if work equipment (which includes all racking systems) is damaged in any way. This is why HSE recommends racking inspections from a SEMA approved inspector at least once a year.

There are two kinds of SEMA racking inspection courses: an adjustable pallet racking inspector course and a cantilever racking inspector course. Be sure to ask your SEMA approved inspector which course they have completed.

The course we deliver at Storage Equipment Experts is a racking inspection training course delivered by a SEMA approved racking inspector. This course will make your staff competent enough to deliver the regular staff-led racking inspections which HSE recommends once a week or so, not the expert inspections which it also recommends once a year.

As per the new CDM Regulations, it is your duty as an employer and warehouse owner to make sure that your staff are competent enough to perform any task in your warehouse — including regular staff-led racking inspections. This is why we offer our course.

While the racking inspection training course which we offer is by no means simple, passing the SEMA course to become a SEMA approved inspector is much more difficult. As previously mentioned, inspections from SEMA approved racking inspectors are recommended by HSE and the reason for this is SEMA’s rigid standards.

How Do You Become a SEMA Approved Inspector? Attend the SEMA Approved Racking Inspector Course

Before a person can even begin training for their SEMA approved inspector qualification, they need to complete an initial assessment as a pre-course qualifier. Only when this has been completed can they move on to the next stage, which requires candidates to “complete a specially designed intensive course, written examination and practical assessment”.

The intensive course lasts three days and the practical assessment is observed by people who expect excellent inspection technique, accurate damage assessment and concise reporting. Due to SEMA’s standards, the failure rate for this examination is high and as of 2017, there are only 107 registered SEMA approved racking inspectors in the world.

And we do mean “in the world”. The SEMA approved racking inspection course has a reputation across the globe. That’s why there are SEMA approved racking inspectors in Ireland, Spain, Poland, Finland, the UAE, Singapore, and China.

Most people who gain their SEMA approved inspector qualification are listed as an “adjustable pallet racking inspector” by SEMA. This is because most storage systems are some kind of pallet racking system — but not all of them.

Cantilever racking is becoming a more and more popular form of warehouse storage. As it is so different from pallet racking, SEMA offers a separate extension course on cantilever racking. Only 36 SEMA approved inspectors in the world are qualified SEMA approved pallet racking inspectors and SEMA approved cantilever racking inspectors.

One of those 36 SEMA approved inspectors works right here at Storage Equipment Experts.

How Do You Remain a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector? Remain Committed to Racking Safety

Being a SEMA approved racking inspector is an “ongoing commitment”. SEMA approved racking inspectors are expected to maintain their standards and their knowledge. To do this, SEMA approved inspectors need to be sure they are inspecting racking on a regular basis. Moreover, they should be attending SEMA meetings and seminars, completing any extra relevant courses available and imparting their knowledge to others.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we believe in all of these things. Our belief in imparting knowledge is why we have written articles for a wide variety of publications (both national and international), as well as this blog. We do this to ensure that we impart as much of our knowledge as possible to the warehousing, logistics and construction community. Knowledge is power — and we are firm believers in giving others that power, too.

What Kind of Person is a SEMA Approved Inspector?

As well as a competent pallet racking inspector, a SARI needs certain character traits. At the SEMA meeting on 17th September 2015, Mike Pace outlined the traits of a SEMA approved racking inspector. They have “sound observational skills”, “a robust understanding” and “a keen eye for detail”. Added to this, a SEMA approved racking inspector has “the ability to assimilate technical information” and the ability “to communicate findings clearly and concisely”.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we are proud to have the best SEMA approved racking inspectors in the UK and Ireland. Contact us today!

Need a SEMA Approved Inspection for Pallet Racking in London? Contact SEE Today!

a female worker conducting a pallet racking inspection in London

If you have pallet racking in London, pallet racking in the South East, or pallet racking anywhere in the UK or Ireland, Storage Equipment Experts can deliver racking inspections from SEMA approved inspectors and racking inspection training for your business.

Whether it’s AR pallet racking, Esmena pallet racking, or any other kind of warehouse storage racking system, Storage Equipment Experts are there to deliver racking inspections and racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector. We are experts in all kinds of storage equipment. After all, it’s in our name.

We have performed hundreds of inspections on pallet racking in London and pallet racking in the South East. However, we’re also happy to travel anywhere in the UK or Ireland.

We Know All There is About Pallet Racking in London

Pallet racking in London can be found all over the city and the whole of the capital is dependant on its safety. From factories, to storage facilities, to art spaces and everything in between, London is a city bustling with business and, as a result, London is a city filled with warehouses.

All of those warehouses mean different types of storage equipment. Fortunately, we at Storage Equipment Experts know all there is to know about inspecting Schaefer racking, PSS racking, Dexion racking, Link 51 racking, Mecalux racking, Redirack racking, Apex racking, Polypal racking and much more. Our SEMA approved racking inspector also has experience inspecting racking at many different kinds of businesses across London — from the Tate Modern to
Pinewood Studios.

SEE Performs the Best Inspections of Pallet Racking in London, the South East, or Anywhere in the UK or Ireland

We offer the best racking inspections by SEMA Approved inspectors in the UK or Ireland. We say that because, as well as being one of just over 100 SEMA approved pallet racking inspectors, our racking inspection expert at Storage Equipment is one of only 34 SEMA approved racking inspectors to have passed the cantilever racking inspection course run by SEMA.

So whether it’s pallet racking in London, cantilever racking in London, or any kind of storage system anywhere in the UK or Ireland, be sure to contact us.

We can also confidently state that we offer the best pallet racking inspection training for pallet racking in London or anywhere else. Our knowledge of AR pallet racking, Esmena pallet racking, or any other kind of pallet racking system is second to none. That’s why we’ve written over 100,000 words on pallet racking maintenance and pallet racking safety.

Our training can be delivered from our base in London or from your business anywhere in the UK or Ireland. We are happy to travel for our customers, so contact us to get a quote on our pallet racking inspection training course.

What is more, Storage Equipment Experts offers the best pallet racking inspection checklist in the UK or Ireland, for FREE, alongside an infographic explaining exactly how it works. From all this, it’s easy to see why we are renowned for offering the best pallet racking inspections in London or anywhere in the UK or Ireland.

Warehouse Pallet Racking in London

As London’s population expands and the city continues to attract billions of pounds worth of tourism, it’s good to know that the city can depend on a reliable racking inspection expert to ensure its warehouses are up to scratch. After all, safe warehouses are more than places of business themselves (in the case of art spaces or storage facilities); they are often the backbone of many other London businesses.

Without a London-based supplier with a London-based warehouse, London would simply not be able to sell as much as it does to its millions of consumers. As the foremost pallet racking experts in London, the businesses of the city can relax knowing that its supply chain is being inspected by a SEMA approved racking inspector, as per HSE guidelines.

Warehouse Pallet Racking in London, the South East and Everywhere Else in the UK and Ireland

Storage Equipment Experts Head Office is based in London — in the heart of the South East — but with SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors located around the UK we are able and willing to travel all over the United Kingdom and Ireland to deliver pallet racking inspections. We have happy customers from Manchester to Scotland and from Somerset to Ireland.

Contact us today for the best inspections for pallet racking in London from the UK and Ireland’s best SEMA approved racking inspector.

6 Things to Ask Before Choosing a Racking Inspector

Racking Inspector

There are many people out there offering racking inspection services, but not everyone offers the same quality of service.

The aim of racking inspection services are to make your racking safer, so finding out that the person who provided those services was some kind of hack is a terrible outcome. At best, you’ll lose money. At worst, you’ll wind up with a warehouse which is less safe.

So how can you avoid being left in the lurch? Here’s our guide to six questions that you should ask a racking inspector before you get racking inspection services from them.

1. “What Racking Inspection Services Do You Offer?”

There are many different kinds of racking inspection services out there. Some companies offer regular inspections and some offer racking inspection training so that your staff can perform inspections themselves. What’s more, not all inspections are the same. Why is that? Well…

2. “Are You a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector?”

If this isn’t the second question you ask, then it should be the first. If your racking inspector isn’t a SEMA approved racking inspector, then the inspection they deliver won’t be to the SEMA standard of racking inspection.

This matters.
HSE differentiates between regular racking inspections performed by your staff (or just some person) and an “expert” inspection. SEMA approved racking inspectors are labelled as “experts”, so if your inspection is from them, you’ll be following HSE’s advice. If your inspection isn’t from a SEMA approved racking inspector, then follow up with this question…

3. “What Makes You an “Expert” Racking Inspector?”

…Or, put another way, “what qualifies you to inspect my racking system?” HSE expects your racking system to be inspected by an “expert”. While it labels SEMA approved racking inspectors as “experts”, it doesn’t offer any other definition of this term.

In the past, this led to the rise of hundreds of card schemes, with anybody able to pull out a card and call themselves an “expert”. In 2015, this was all cleared up with the
HSE CDM regulations. This legislation did many things but, for racking inspectors, the most important thing it did was allow the “client” to define who is and who is not an “expert” and who is and who is not “competent”.

In other words, if you own a storage system, it is your responsibility to decide if someone is expert enough to inspect your system. If the worst should happen, such as an injury or worse, then you may be asked to explain your thinking. You may be asked how you came to the conclusion that the person who inspected your racking system was an expert.

If you answer that they were a SEMA approved racking inspector, then you have HSE on your side. If you have a different answer, then it will need to be a good one.

4. “Are You Qualified to Inspect Cantilever Racking?”

HSE’s guide to warehouse and safety doesn’t differentiate between being qualified to inspect pallet racking and being qualified to inspect cantilever racking. It simply says that SEMA runs SARI (SEMA Approved Racking Inspector) courses and that the people who pass those courses are experts.

SEMA, however, does differentiate between people qualified to inspect cantilever racking and people qualified to inspect pallet racking. So, in lieu of relevant input from HSE, it’s best to defer to SEMA’s advice on this particular issue.

According to its database, there are 103 SEMA approved racking inspectors in the world, with qualified inspectors based in Ireland, Spain, Poland, Finland, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and China. However, of those 103 inspectors, only 34 are also qualified to inspect cantilever racking.

Storage Equipment Experts has one of those 34 inspectors. According to SEMA, that’s makes us one of the few UK based businesses qualified to inspect both cantilever and pallet racking. Whoever inspects your pallet racking, make sure that are qualified to do so.

5. “How Often Do I Need a Racking Inspection?”

HSE’s answer to this question is that you need an“expert” inspection at least once year and “regular” inspections from “competent” staff. We’ve already discussed what HSE means by “expert” and “competent”, but “regular” is another open-ended idea. HSE states that the regularity should be determined by the Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS).

If someone tries to tell you that you need more than one “expert” inspection year, they are also not wrong. The sixth section of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states that all work equipment should be inspected “after installation and before being put into service for the first time” and “after assembly at a new site or location”.

What’s more, work equipment should be inspected “at suitable intervals” and when “exceptional circumstances” mean that the equipment could be damaged.

According to the fifth section of the same legislation, storage systems count as “work equipment”. As such, under any of the circumstances mentioned in the sixth section, a racking inspection from a SEMA approved inspector. That’s why HSE says “at least” once a year and not “only” once a year.

6. “What Makes You Qualified to Inspect Racking in This Country?”

As previously mentioned, SEMA approved racking inspectors operate all over the world. However, different safety regulations in different countries recommend different things. In short, not every country recommends having a racking inspection from a SEMA approved inspector.

Storage Equipment Experts operates in Ireland, where HSA also recommends racking inspection services from a SEMA approved racking inspector.
EU directive states that racking systems need to be inspected by an “expert” inspector at least once a year. This is the same wording HSE uses and this is likely why there are SEMA approved inspectors operating in Finland, Poland and Spain as well.

While this is the case in Ireland and the EU, the situation in your country might be different. Be sure to check.

If you don’t fancy asking an inspector all of that, just contact Storage Equipment Experts. Our racking inspection services include SEMA approved pallet racking inspections, SEMA approved cantilever racking inspections and racking inspection training.

What Does the SEMA Code of Practice Say About Load Notices?

man in warehouse checking racking and load notices

Businesses who ignore the SEMA Code of Practice’s advice on load notices run the risk of more than fines.

The SEMA Code of Practice states that load notices are safety notices for racking systems which are included on all racking systems provided by SEMA approved distributor companies. Load notices explain to the end users of a racking system how the system should be used and what the system’s limitations are.

The advice is approved by HSE, but it is not the only advice that end users need to follow when using racking. Rather, load notices are intended as summaries or quick reminders of HSE approved advice for the safe use of racking.

Load notices do not replace the need for employers to train their staff on the safe use of racking systems, for example.
All SEMA approved racking systems have had SEMA load notices on them since the 1980s. These notices have since been updated with input from the SEMA Code of Practice, HSE, and the EU.

According to HSE, not every racking system provider needs to be a SEMA distributor company. However, HSE’s HSG76 states that all racking systems need some kind of load notice and refers to SEMA’s advice on load notices as an example how load notices should be. To understand SEMA load notices a bit better, it’s good to understand their history.

Brief History: SEMA Code of Practice Creates SEMA Load Notices; EU & HSE Improve Them

The earliest SEMA load notices were mentioned in the original SEMA Code of Practice for Use of Static Pallet Racking in the ‘80s. Some SEMA approved racking systems still have these load notices. However, SEMA load notices have since evolved because of input from the EU, HSE, and updates to the SEMA Code of Practice itself.

EC Directive 92/58/EEC was announced by the EU in June 1992. This EU directive outlined the ways health and safety signs at work should look. EU directives are not the same as EU regulations. An EU directive sets out an objective to be achieved and it is then up to each individual member state to achieve this objective in its own way.

As a result, it wasn’t until four years later that the UK turned this EU directive into British law, with the implementation of the
Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. SEMA load notices were modified to adhere to these regulations.

The main changes were to the colours and the designs of the different kinds of notices on the racking equipment. The original SEMA load notices used their own design as outlined in the original SEMA Code of Practice. These new ones now adhere to the national standard for safety signs and subsequent SEMA Codes of Practice have been updated accordingly.

Red circular signs with white backgrounds and black pictograms are used for prohibition. Yellow triangular signs with yellow backgrounds and black pictograms or text are used for warning. Green rectangular signs with white pictograms or text are used for instruction. Blue rectangular signs with white pictograms or text are used for mandatory actions.

You may notice how all safety signs in workplaces across the UK follow these regulations. “No smoking” signs are red. Caution of fire signs are yellow. “Fire exit” signs are green. “Hardhats must be worn in this area” signs are blue. SEMA load notices now adhere to these same regulations as well.

What Do SEMA Load Notices Say?

Different racking systems have different load notices, but most follow a similar structure. A typical SEMA load notice outlines the need for regular racking inspection from a SEMA approved inspector, the need to adhere to the SEMA Code of Practice, and the need to contact the supplier of the system if you unsure about anything as yellow warning signs. A mandatory action is given in blue that all damage should be reported to the racking safety officer. Finally, a red sign prohibits climbing on a racking system or altering the racking system. All of this information is listed on the left of the load notice.

On the right of the load notice are the maximum load recommendations for each shelf, as well as the maximum bay load. Bear in mind that the maximum bay load is often less than the sum total of all the shelf loads.

For example, if you have a system with four shelves and each shelf can handle two loads of 1,000kg, but the bay load is 5,000kg, you must make sure that your total bay load is below 5,000kg. Each individual shelf combined might be able to handle 8,000kg, but the bay load is there to tell you how much your whole racking system can handle at one time.

If you have any questions about SEMA load notices, don’t hesitate to contact Storage Equipment Experts. Remember that following the advice given on a SEMA load notice is not a replacement for racking inspection training or expert racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

For professional racking inspection services from a SEMA approved racking inspector with acute knowledge of the SEMA Code of Practice, contact Storage Equipment Experts today.

What I’ve Learnt After Writing Over 100,000 Words on Racking Inspections?

Racking inspections - inspector performing audit

I’ve written a lot about racking inspections over the past couple years, but I’ve still got a lot more to say!

If I had wanted to write a book about racking inspections, I could have. Between providing insight for The Telegraph, EHS Today, e27 and countless other national and international publications, I have written a lot about racking inspections and workplace safety. Add all that to the writing I’ve done for this blog and that’s over 100,000 words.

Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone and Paper Towns: all of those books are less than 100,000 words. So when I say “I could have written a book”, I mean it.

I write because it helps to inform past customers (and potential future customers) about what my work is and why it’s important. In the most basic sense, I do it because it helps to build relationships. I’m not alone in thinking this and many business leaders have long extolled the benefits of writing for their company.

So at this particular milestone, I think it would be good to reflect on what I’ve learned after writing 100,000 words on racking inspections.

1. Racking Inspections Are Important

Some people might say that their industry is too niche to write about, but that’s rarely true. There is a reason that you sell your product or service. There is a reason that your product or service is important.

For me, the reason is simple: every business with a warehouse or a storage system needs regular racking inspections. That’s not just my opinion; it’s the opinion of HSE, the EU and the SEMA Racking Code of Practice as well. Without inspections, warehouses safety goes unchecked and — unfortunately — that’s often when tragedy happens.

Not all workplace accidents are the result of a lack of racking inspections. However, by combining racking safety with other forms of workplace safety, HSE and small businesses like SEE have helped to contribute to an
85% reduction in workplace fatality and a 77% reduction in workplace injury since 1974. There’s still a lot more work to be done, but it’s good to look at the historical picture every now and again and consider how far we’ve come.

2. The Future of Racking Inspections

It’s hard to predict the future. Even after writing over 100,000 words on racking inspections, I still couldn’t say for sure what the industry will look like in 10 or 20 years time. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to speculate.

The biggest challenge to health and safety’s future is lack of government spending. In the UK, HSE budget cuts (which started in 2010 and are set to continue well into the future) have forced the industry to innovate. Whether or not you agree with these cuts is beside the point. The fact is that they are happening and that the industry needs to react.

Not all of this reaction has been met with praise. Some have criticised HSE’s increasing focus on fines in order to raise money. It’s a bold step, but it might be the best one in the long-term.

Other approaches have had a much more positive response. When HSE introduced the new CDM Regulations in 2015, some praised the changes and even linked them with a huge confidence boost for British builders.

In short, the new CDM regulations claimed that a “client” was anyone in charge of almost anything that could be considered a construction site. This new definition included warehouses, film sets and even temporary structures for events.

What’s more, it is now the client’s responsibility, not the government’s, to ensure the safety of their construction site by being the final arbiter of what is safe and what is not. Should the client need to defend their definitions of “safe” or “technically competent” in a court of law, they will need to refer to existing legislation. However, the CDM regulations mean that it is no longer the government’s job to keep tabs on the safety of projects.

By making the responsibility and definition of the “client” clearer, the new regulations mean
racking inspections by SEMA approved inspectors are more important than ever. Without the government to step in and make sure that sites are safe, businesses further realised the importance of HSE’s recommendation that they need a racking inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector at least once a year.

3. Dispelling Health & Safety Myths Is Vital

Despite the tremendous progress that HSE and the health and safety industry has made in making sure the UK has the second lowest workplace fatality rate in the EU, many are still willing to mock HSE’s efforts. They do so by spreading stories about “health and safety gone mad”. Most of these stories are either complete myths or have nothing to do with HSE whatsoever. However, by the time HSE bust these myths, the damage to its reputation has already been done.

By writing about the important work that workplace safety and racking inspections can do for businesses, my aim is to put the work that the health and safety industry does in a positive light. We should be proud that the UK is a safe country; I know I am.

For racking inspection training and racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector and passionate writer on the topic of health and safety, contact Storage Equipment Experts today!

How Will HSE’s New Fine System Affect HSE Racking Regulations?

HSE racking regulations

HSE racking regulations have remained largely the same since 2007, but this new fine system could shake things up a bit.

A lot of new changes in the way HSE operates has meant that the organisation now fines companies a lot more than it has done in the past. So what will this mean for HSE racking regulations? To understand this, it’s important to understand the two major factors behind the new way HSE fines businesses.

2012: HSE’s Fee-For-Intervention Cost Recovery Scheme

Since 2012, HSE has been operating under a “fee-for-intervention” scheme, aimed at reducing HSE spending by fining people relative to the amount of time and resources HSE needs to spend. In other words, as a reaction to the government’s continued reduced spending since 2010, HSE has been trying to turn a profit.

At the time, some criticised HSE’s new approach to fines, but the system has stayed in place for the last five years regardless. While the new system meant the potential for ever greater fines, no massive changes in the average fine were recorded. That is, of course, until now.

2016: HSE Updates the Way It Sentences Corporations

From 1st February 2016, HSE updated the way it fines corporations for breaking HSE law. In short, it gave courts the ability to fine corporations for a lot more money than they were previously able to. As such, the average HSE fine has risen from £69,500 to £211,000.

What Does This Mean for HSE Racking Regulations?

Increased fines mean increased incentives to make your workplace as safe as possible. In turn, these new fines should mean that more people follow HSE racking regulations than before and that businesses take them more seriously.

On the one hand, this is a great thing. With greater importance placed on the need for warehouse safety, HSE racking regulations will be followed more intently and employees will be safer as a result. On the other hand, heavier fines shouldn’t be the reason that businesses want to make their workplaces safer. If people had
a negative attitude towards HSE racking regulations and HSE before, they’re unlikely to feel better about those things because of the threat of increased fines.

The facts will determine whether or not this new system will help decrease workplace injuries and fatalities. If it does, then it will be extremely hard to argue that this is a bad thing.

The Current State of HSE Racking Regulations

Since 2007, HSE has recommended racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector at least once a year for all warehouses and storage systems in the UK. HSE also recommends regular internal racking inspections from staff who are “technically competent”.

In 2015, the new CDM regulations meant it was ultimately up to the “client” (the person in charge of the storage system in this case) to decide whether or not someone was “technically competent” enough to perform a given task. This didn’t change HSE racking regulations, but it has meant a heavier emphasis on employers’ own initiative and less on “card schemes”. Before the CDM regulations, a person could claim that they were “technically competent” because they had a card. Now, it is the client’s decision.

In other words, it’s up to the owner of the racking equipment to decide if someone is “technically competent” enough to inspect their racking. With regards to expert racking inspections, this is pretty black and white; HSE recommends SEMA approved racking inspectors. With regards to staff inspections, CDM regulations mean the onus of responsibility is on the client.

Like the CDM regulations, heavier fines won’t change HSE racking regulations. However, they might change businesses’ attitude towards them. Owners of racking systems have a lot more personal responsibility and have a much greater potential to be fined than they did two years ago. As such, racking inspections from a SEMA approved inspector and racking inspection training for staff are more important than ever.

If you are the owner of a warehouse or storage system, contact Storage Equipment Experts for a racking inspection from a SEMA approved inspector or racking inspection training. We cover all of the UK and Ireland!

Does The SEMA Code of Practice Account for Mental Health?

sema code of practice workplace mental health

The aim of the SEMA Code of Practice is to help end users of racking to be safe, so mental health should be a part of this.

The advice from the SEMA Code of Practice advice is echoed and informed by HSE (the official UK government body for health and safety in the UK) and the two organisations have an intimate relationship. However, despite the relationship between the two, mental health is an issue where the two organisations differ by some margin.

For HSE, mental health considerations in its legislation and recommendations are an important part of delivering on the government’s promise of a “parity of esteem” between mental and physical health. This is why HSE offers advice on dealing with mental stress at work in HSE INDG424, alongside advice on warehouse safety in HSE HSG76. Both guides are available for free from the HSE website. To HSE, the two kinds of safety are just as important.

By contrast, on the SEMA website, there are no free resources on mental health. The SEMA Code of Practice is available for download for a price, but none of the free technical bulletins contain any advice on mental health. To understand why this is, it’s important to understand how the idea of a parity of esteem between mental and physical health came about.

Parity of Esteem

Since the British government announced a parity of esteem between mental and physical health in its 2011 report, No Health Without Mental Health, scrutiny for living up to this idea has fallen on private organisations as well as government ones. In 2012, the term was even enshrined into law; the Health and Social Care Act 2012 emphasised a legal requirement for a parity of esteem between mental and physical care.

For British people, the phrase parity of esteem has become an expression which means more than just the government’s efforts to achieve an equal treatment of mental and physical health. Rather, parity of esteem refers to the larger goal of making sure that mental and physical health are treated equally within society.

What began as internal government vocabulary for tackling a specific issue has become an expression which, to the general public, is about changing ideas as well as policy.

HSG76 Features Mental Health More Than the SEMA Code of Practice

Because parity of esteem began as a government idea, it’s unsurprising to discover that mental health considerations are a big part of HSE HSG76. It’s less prevalent in the SEMA Code of Practice, but there is reason for this.

The SEMA Code of Practice does not focus on injury, illness, or health (mental or physical). It focuses specifically on storage systems. In other words, the SEMA Code of Practice is not concerned with people; it is concerned with racking.

This is because it isn’t a document for the general public. It’s a document which offers advice on the technical aspects of racking use specifically for warehouse owners, racking system end users, or anyone else who the CDM Regulations would consider a “client”. The SEMA Code of Practice is also a document which SEMA approved racking inspectors are expected to understand and apply to their own work where possible.

HSE HSG76, by contrast, is a document for the general public. It’s for employers, employees and anyone interested in HSE’s stance on warehouse safety. Consequently, it is concerned with the wellbeing of people more than it is with helping people to understand the intricacies of racking equipment use.

Because warehouse owners are expected to read the two documents together, the SEMA Code of Practice mentions mental health a lot less than HSE HSG76. The latter is expected to be used as a reference for warehouse safety in general while the former focuses specifically on racking use.

As a final point, while HSE HSG76 makes several useful observations about mental health and workplace stress, it directs readers to
HSE INDG424. This latter guide goes into workplace mental health in more detail. Health and safety guides are about directing readers to the best experts. SEMA is not an expert resource on mental health and it doesn’t pretend to be, so its mental advice is sparse. For a comprehensive guide to workplace mental health, HSE INDG424 is the best place to go.

For racking inspection services which adhere to the SEMA Code of Practice and HSE recommendations, contact Storage Equipment Experts today.