How the SEMA Codes of Practice Ensure Warehouse Safety?

SEMA Codes of Practice Ensure Warehouse Safety

The Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association, commonly known as SEMA, is the de facto leader when it comes to safety standards in the warehousing sector. Founded to consolidate the collective expertise of storage equipment professionals, SEMA has been key in framing and promoting best practices within the industry.

Let’s take a look at SEMA’s work and why ALL warehouse managers and operators should adhere to the codes of practice…

The Need for Standardised Warehouse Safety Standards

The warehousing sector is diverse in terms of operations – from handling delicate electronics to bulky machinery, each facility demands unique storage solutions. In fact, the one thing that all warehouses have in common is the fact that safety should be a priority.

Without standardised safety protocols, the intricacies of individual operations could inadvertently breed inefficiencies or, worse, hazards. Storage equipment carries inherent risks – incorrect loading, wear and tear, or even a simple misalignment can result in catastrophic failures. Imagine a heavily loaded pallet rack collapsing due to a weakened joint or an aisle blocked because of a misjudged placement, posing threats not just to merchandise but also to human lives.

These common risks underline the pressing necessity for uniform safety guidelines, ensuring that irrespective of the warehouse’s operational nature, safety remains uncompromised.

Overview of the SEMA Codes of Practice

SEMA traces its origins back to an era when warehousing and storage industries were recognizing the escalating need for standardized guidelines. Over the years, as complexities grew and technologies evolved, there was a clear requirement for a unified approach to safety and efficiency in warehouse operations – which is why SEMA introduced its Codes of Practice.

The adoption of these codes wasn’t just a formality. It was a collective acknowledgement by industry stakeholders of the high importance of safety. These codes, over time, have cemented their position as the definitive guide for best practices in the storage equipment sector.

Central to SEMA’s Codes of Practice is a twofold objective:

  • To establish a clear and comprehensive guideline that ensures the design, installation, and use of storage equipment prioritizes human safety above all else.
  • To optimize warehouse operations, ensuring that the utilization of space and resources occurs efficiently without compromising on safety.

These objectives, at their core, are a testament to SEMA’s commitment to marrying efficiency with safety, guiding the industry towards a future where warehouses are not just productive but also inherently secure environments.

Key Provisions in SEMA’s Codes

Rack Design and Specifications

SEMA’s codes place a significant emphasis on the design principles of storage racks. This isn’t about aesthetics or space optimization – it’s primarily focused on ensuring these structures are robust and resilient. The codes specify materials, design standards, and engineering principles that need to be adhered to, ensuring that the racks can withstand not just the weight they bear but also external factors like seismic activities or accidental impacts.

Load Notices and Weight Limitations

SEMA’s codes come with clear directives about displaying load notices conspicuously – these notices are essential as they inform workers about the maximum permissible load, helping prevent overburdening that can lead to catastrophic failures.

Inspection Protocols

The codes prescribe periodic checks, both routine and in-depth, to ensure that every component of the storage equipment is in top shape. This provision also lays down guidelines on what constitutes a thorough inspection and how issues should be addressed.

Training Requirements for Rack Safety Awareness

Recognizing that the best safety equipment is only as good as the people using it, SEMA’s codes highlight the importance of training. The emphasis is on creating a workforce that’s well-versed in best practices and equipped to handle emergencies.

The Importance of Regular SEMA Racking Inspections

The day-to-day operations of a warehouse centre on the usability and reliability of the storage systems – which is why regular racking inspections are a core part of the codes of practice. SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors are professionals trained explicitly under the rigorous standards set by SEMA, committed to ensuring that racking systems remain free from potential hazards.

These inspectors have the expertise to ensure that every inch of a storage system, from bolts to beams, is scrutinized for safety compliance.

SEMA’s guidelines also lay down a clear inspection hierarchy – while routine checks by warehouse staff are encouraged daily or weekly, SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors are recommended for comprehensive annual assessments.

This tiered approach to inspections, coupled with their frequency, ensures that potential issues are nipped in the bud.

Warehouse Safety Training and Certification Under SEMA

SEMA has instituted robust training programs aimed at equipping individuals with the necessary skills to uphold and enforce safety standards. Central to these initiatives is the rack safety awareness program, a comprehensive course that educates participants about potential hazards, safety protocols, and best practices in storage equipment management.

Beyond mere awareness, SEMA raises the bar with its certification for rack inspectors. Those pursuing this accreditation are rigorously trained, undergoing a series of tests to validate their competence – once certified, they carry the distinction of being recognized experts in storage equipment safety.

However, the learning curve doesn’t stop at certification. SEMA ensures that its professionals remain abreast of industry evolutions and safety updates – showing once again the commitment to continuous learning and unyielding safety standards.

SEMA’s Influence in Driving Industry-wide Safety

SEMA’s dedication to ensuring the utmost safety in storage solutions has led to marked improvements in industry-wide practices. Collaborations with various organizations, from equipment manufacturers to regulatory bodies, have amplified their voice and reach – this cooperative approach nurtures a cohesive understanding of safety measures, driving the overall ethos of precaution and prevention.

Additionally, SEMA has been instrumental in advocating for stricter adherence to safety protocols. Through seminars, workshops, publications and other approaches, they consistently emphasize the non-negotiable nature of safety. Their influence is palpable – many warehouses and storage facilities now prioritize SEMA’s guidelines, ensuring their operations align with the best and safest practices.

In essence, SEMA’s unwavering commitment has been a catalyst, inspiring a pervasive culture of safety across the storage equipment landscape.

Continuous Evolution of SEMA’s Codes

When it comes to safety, static guidelines can quickly become obsolete. Recognizing this, SEMA has consistently prioritized the evolution of its codes of practice. One of the association’s core strengths lies in its adaptability to technological advancements – as new storage equipment and technologies emerge, SEMA revises its guidelines, ensuring they remain both relevant and rigorous.

Another critical factor driving the refinement of SEMA’s codes is its engagement with industry stakeholders. SEMA ensures its codes address real-world challenges and needs by maintaining a consistent feedback loop with warehouse operators, equipment manufacturers, and safety experts.

What Next for your Warehouse Safety?

The SEMA Codes of Practice are a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association to elevate safety standards across the warehousing sector. In an era where operational efficiency often takes precedence, it’s vital to remember that true efficiency can only be achieved in an environment where safety is taken as seriously as it should be.

Warehouse managers and operators are strongly urged to adopt and adhere to SEMA’s comprehensive guidelines. If you need further information or would like to schedule a SEMA-approved racking inspection, then get in touch with the team at SEE Racking Inspections today.

How to Choose the Right Cold Storage PPE?

Cold Storage PPE

The cold storage PPE industry is essential when it comes to preserving the quality of perishable goods, ranging from food products to pharmaceuticals. These specialized environments, where temperatures often plunge to sub-zero levels, ensure the longevity and freshness of products for consumers worldwide.

Those same conditions that benefit goods can pose significant health risks to the workers operating within them. Cold storage facilities that focus on health and safety not only protect their workforce but also ensure efficient and uninterrupted operations – always an important concern.

Understanding the Risks in a Cold Storage Warehouse

Cold storage warehousing, while essential, introduces unique health risks to workers. One of the most prominent threats is hypothermia, a condition where the body loses heat faster than it can produce, leading to a dangerously low body temperature – if not addressed promptly, hypothermia can impair thinking, numbing the body and, in severe cases, becoming life-threatening.

Equally concerning is frostbite, where skin and underlying tissues freeze, especially in extremities like fingers, toes, and the nose. If not treated, frostbite can lead to irreversible tissue damage and even amputation.

Given these risks, the importance of proper insulation and protection cannot be overstated – it is not merely about comfort; it’s a critical line of defence against the perils of extreme cold, safeguarding workers’ health and well-being.

Basics of Cold Storage Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Cold storage environments require specialized Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tailored to tackle the challenges posed by extreme cold. Unlike regular warehouses or industrial settings, cold storage can expose workers to temperatures well below freezing. At such temperatures, standard PPE, designed mainly for generic industrial and warehouse safety, will not offer adequate protection against cold-induced hazards.

PPE specific to cold storage is meticulously designed with specialized insulating materials that trap body heat while warding off external cold. This ensures that workers remain warm, their body temperature regulated, and are shielded from potential cold-related ailments. In addition, cold storage PPE often integrates moisture-wicking properties to handle sweat, a crucial feature since dampness can drastically reduce insulation efficiency.

Think about it in these terms – standard PPE focuses on preventing accidents, while cold storage PPE combines this with thermal protection, creating a shield against the frigid environment.

Key Cold Storage PPE Items and Their Importance

Some of the more common cold storage PPE are:

1. Insulated Gloves

Hand dexterity is fundamental in most warehouse tasks. However, in cold storage settings, preserving this dexterity without compromising on warmth is a challenge. Insulated gloves are the solution – crafted with multiple layers, they provide the necessary insulation to guard against frostbite while maintaining the flexibility needed to grip and handle items. These gloves often come with water-resistant exteriors to prevent dampness from compromising their insulation properties.

2. Thermal Headgear

We lose a significant portion of our body heat through our heads, and this is particularly dangerous in freezing environments. Thermal headgear, ranging from balaclavas to insulated beanies, is great at trapping body heat. Not only do they offer protection against the cold, but they also shield ears from potential frostbite – a common cold-induced ailment.

3. Insulated Jackets and Trousers

Core body temperature regulation is the first line of protection when it comes to hypothermia. Cold storage clothing like Insulated jackets and trousers incorporate breathable materials to prevent overheating while ensuring optimal insulation – with special attention being paid to seam placements, ensuring cold air ingress is minimized.

4. Protective Footwear

Feet are also vulnerable to the cold. Protective footwear designed for cold storage environments is more than just insulated – it combines warmth, grip, and moisture-wicking capabilities. This ensures that workers not only have warm feet but also a steady footing on potentially slippery cold storage floors.

Features to Look for in Cold Storage PPE

When selecting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cold storage environments, it’s not just about warmth – it’s about ensuring functionality and durability amidst icy conditions. Here’s a rundown of features to consider:

  • Material Types for Optimal Insulation: The core of any cold storage PPE is its insulating material. Look for materials like Thinsulate, PrimaLoft, or other synthetic insulators known for their high warmth-to-weight ratio. These materials trap heat efficiently while being lightweight and less bulky.
  • Waterproofing and Moisture-wicking Capabilities: In cold environments, dampness can be a formidable enemy, drastically reducing insulation effectiveness. PPE with waterproof exteriors and moisture-wicking interiors is vital. This dual-action feature ensures external moisture stays out while internal sweat is drawn away, keeping workers dry and warm.
  • Ergonomic Design for Comfort and Functionality: Working in bulky clothing can be restrictive, slowing down workers. Cold storage PPE should have an ergonomic design, contouring to the body while allowing freedom of movement – features like articulated joints, adjustable cuffs, and gusseted panels can make a significant difference in both comfort and task efficiency.

Importance of Regular PPE Maintenance

Maintaining cold storage warehouse PPE isn’t just about cleanliness – it’s the key to consistent protection. Proper cleaning is essential as accumulated dirt or oils can diminish the insulating properties of the gear – always follow manufacturer guidelines for washing, as certain materials might require specific care.

Equally vital is storing your safety equipment in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight, which can degrade certain fabrics over time. Regular inspections for wear and tear, such as frayed seams or thinning insulation, can prevent potential breaches in protection.

Remember, consistent care of your PPE ensures its longevity and, most importantly, the safety it’s designed to provide.

Training and Awareness

Beyond just providing PPE, the real key to cold storage safety lies in educating workers. Proper training sessions should emphasize the correct ways to wear, adjust, care for, and store PPE, ensuring maximum protection.

It is also vital that workers can recognize the early signs of cold-related illnesses, such as numbness, shivering, and fatigue – an informed team can act quickly, potentially saving a colleague from conditions like hypothermia or frostbite. Regular workshops and refreshers should be conducted, highlighting that safety isn’t just about equipment but the knowledge and awareness to use it effectively.

Legal and Compliance Aspects

Adhering to cold storage PPE legal and compliance standards isn’t just about paperwork – it’s about safeguarding lives. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidelines ensuring that PPE meets stringent standards, guaranteeing workers the protection they deserve.

Other industry bodies also have best practice requirements, including:

  • BS7915:1998 ‘Ergonomics of the thermal environment – Guide to design and evaluation of working practices for cold indoor working environments.’
  • ISO 15743:2008 ‘Ergonomics of the thermal environment – Cold workplaces – Risk assessment and management’

Compliance with these standards not only minimizes potential legal repercussions but also fosters a culture of safety and responsibility within the organization.

Regular safety audits should ensure that PPE is up-to-date, effective, and used appropriately.

Cold Storage PPE – What Next?

The right PPE plays an instrumental role in shielding workers from the severe risks associated with extremely low temperatures – so cutting corners or settling for subpar gear is a gamble with grave consequences. Employers and workers must both recognize the non-negotiable need for top-notch cold storage PPE.

For more information on maintaining essential warehouse and storage safety, visit SEE Racking Inspections.

Top 10 Strategies for Enhancing Pallet Racking Safety in Your Warehouse

Pallet Racking Safety in Warehouse

Anyone who has ever been involved in warehouse operations in any capacity knows the overwhelming importance of safety. A safe warehouse not only reduces operational hiccups and financial losses but, more importantly, protects the lives and well-being of the staff.

At the heart of warehouse safety lies the pallet racking systems. These structures, often towering and laden with goods, represent a significant safety hazard if they are not looked after correctly – ensuring their stability and safe usage is absolutely central to the broader health and safety plans of your site.

Here are our top 10 strategies for enhancing the safety of the pallet racking in your warehouse.

1. Regular Pallet Racking Inspections

Consistent safety audits play a critical role in identifying vulnerabilities before they escalate into genuine hazards. Warehouse managers and safety personnel can proactively address concerns by detecting damage or misalignment early, thereby fortifying their operations against potential disasters. A SEMA-approved racking inspector will bring invaluable expertise to the table – a meticulous approach to racking inspections ensures a thorough evaluation, ensuring that your racking systems are not just compliant but optimized for long-term safe usage.

2. Proper Training for Staff

The foundation of any safe and efficient warehouse lies in the hands of its staff. Proper training for those using racking systems is of the highest importance, not just for the sake of productivity but also for safety. Operational training ensures that employees understand the nuances of loading, unloading, and organizing items, reducing the risk of overloading or mismanagement. Safety training, on the other hand, equips them with knowledge about emergency procedures and preventive measures.

Together, these facets of training empower staff to maintain the integrity of the racking system, contributing significantly to the overall safety of the warehouse environment.

3. Ensuring Proper Load Distribution

Uneven weight distribution on warehouse pallet racking systems poses a significant risk, not only to the integrity of the racking structure but also to the safety of warehouse staff. Improperly balanced loads can lead to rack collapses – causing injuries and damaging goods, as well as disrupting operations. To ensure even loading, it’s essential to regularly rotate stock (this helps in preventing long-term, uneven stress on certain rack sections) and spread the weight as evenly as possible.

4. Adherence to Pallet Racking Weight Limits

Overloading racks can compromise their structural integrity, leading to potential failures or collapses, which in turn, poses serious risks to personnel, goods, and equipment in the vicinity. Consistently exceeding weight limits can also shorten the lifespan of the racking system, resulting in costly replacements and downtime.

Ignoring these weight specifications not only endangers the safety of the warehouse environment but can also lead to significant financial implications from damaged goods and potential liability. Prioritizing this fundamental safety principle is vital for smooth and hazard-free warehouse operations. Always be sure to use load signs that clearly display weight limits at prominent places to remind staff, and adhere to the manufacturer guidelines for the weight limits specified for each shelf and the entire racking unit.

5. Installing Safety Equipment on Pallet Racking Systems

Equipping your pallet racking systems with the right safety equipment is an excellent strategy when it comes to minimizing warehouse accidents. Racking safety equipment includes:

  • Racking safety pins that secure beams in place and prevent unintentional dislodging.
  • Locks that ensure that only authorized personnel can make adjustments, minimizing the risks of improper alterations.
  • Pallet rack guards will provide a barrier against potential impacts from forklifts or other machinery, protecting the structural integrity of the racks.
  • Post protectors and frame guards can also work to mitigate the damage from potential impacts.

Each of these components plays a vital role in the overall safety strategy, acting as the first line of defense against unforeseen incidents and human errors. Investing in and maintaining these safety tools is a hallmark of a safety-conscious warehouse.

6. Maintaining Clear Aisles and Work Areas

A cluttered environment not only impedes the smooth operation of machinery like forklifts but also poses trip and fall hazards for staff. Keeping pathways clear, especially around pallet racking systems, is essential to ensure that loaded or unloaded items don’t inadvertently impact the racking. Spacious and clear aisles also provide quicker access during emergencies or evacuations – and proper organization and an emphasis on regularly scheduled clean-ups can dramatically reduce the chances of accidents.

Remember, a tidy warehouse is not just aesthetically pleasing – it’s a safer, more efficient workspace.

7. Prompt Damage Reporting and Repair

A proactive approach to warehouse safety involves not only spotting issues but addressing them promptly – any damage or signs of wear and tear on pallet racking systems should be reported immediately. Overlooking minor damages or postponing repairs will inevitably lead to more significant issues over time, compromising the entire racking system’s stability. Fostering a culture where employees feel responsible and are encouraged to report issues without fear of repercussions is vital.

Timely interventions, even for minor damages, can significantly prolong the life of your racking systems and ensure a safer working environment.

8. Utilizing Proper Shelving and Storage Techniques

Make sure that all of your staff are using the correct shelving and storage techniques – implementing the right methods not only maximizes storage space but significantly enhances safety. Using correctly sized pallets tailored to your racking system prevents overhanging items, reducing risks of falls or collisions, and equally vital is the practice of correct stacking, ensuring items are securely placed which will minimize wobbling or the potential for toppled goods.

Warehouse operators can ensure the longevity of their racking systems and provide a safer environment for their staff by taking the time to train staff in proper shelving techniques.

9. Effective Warehouse Layout Design

An intelligently designed warehouse layout is key – not just for the smooth flow of operations but also for enhancing safety. Optimizing the layout ensures that there’s a dedicated space for each function, reducing the chances of congestion and operational bottlenecks. Make use of clear pathways, designated loading and unloading zones, and strategic positioning of high-turnover items, and you will drastically reduce potential accidents.

You do not have to take on this burden yourself – leveraging the expertise of professional warehouse layout design experts can result in a layout that complements your specific operational needs while maintaining an unwavering focus on safety.

10. Emergency Protocols and Evacuation Plans

Every warehouse should prioritize having a clear and actionable emergency response plan. In the face of unforeseen events, such as racking collapses or other potential hazards (fires, gas leaks, etc.), an established protocol can significantly reduce risks and save lives. This goes beyond just having emergency exits – it’s about planning out routes, specifying assembly points, and marking safe zones. Of course, just having a plan isn’t enough – regular training sessions must be conducted to ensure all staff members are well-versed in how to react swiftly and efficiently during emergencies.

What Next?

Pallet racking safety isn’t just a regulatory requisite – it’s an essential element that underpins the functionality and longevity of a warehouse operation. Each strategy highlighted not only mitigates risks but also optimizes your workflow, ensuring both safety and efficiency go hand in hand.

Remember, proactive measures today can prevent significant disruptions and dangers tomorrow. If it’s been a while since your last safety check or you’re unsure about your warehouse’s current safety status, there’s no time like the present to act. Reach out to SEE Racking Inspections for a comprehensive safety assessment and gain peace of mind about your facility’s security and compliance.

How to Improve Safety Awareness in the Workplace?

safety awareness

Workplace safety should be a top priority for any business, and knowing how to improve safety awareness is one of the most effective ways to ensure the well being of your employees.

No matter what industry you’re part of, health and safety is very much a primary concern of the modern business world. Every workplace has the potential for accidents to happen, but failing to improve awareness of safety risks will only increase the chance of an employee sustaining an injury or worse.

In this post, we’ll highlight a few of the ways you can make the workplace environment safer by improving the awareness of employees.

Invest Time and Effort into Training Employees

Improving the knowledge and training of employees is something that business owners should always be looking to do, especially when it concerns health and safety. This will not only give staff a more in-depth knowledge of the types of risks they could be exposed to, but it will also provide them with the necessary know-how to react accordingly if the worst should occur.

Training is especially vital in workplaces such as warehouses, where large, heavy objects are stored and machinery is used. At Storage Equipment Experts, our
SEMA-approved inspectors can provide racking inspection training that helps to improve the overall safety of the workplace, as well as teach employees how to carry out a risk assessment.

Proper Signage

Signs play a significant role in increasing awareness, maintaining safety and creating a sense of order. When it comes to workplace safety, one of the most simple and efficient methods of raising awareness is implementing the correct signage. Whether it’s a cone for a wet floor, a sign to highlight trip hazards or a sign to warn employees about forklifts being used in the area, increasing awareness will decrease the likelihood of accidents happening, because employees will be more aware of their surroundings.

Another disadvantage of failing to implement proper signage is that it makes you liable if an employee is injured and takes legal action. If the proper warnings aren’t in place to raise awareness of the potential risks, you are putting your employees in danger and could suffer the consequences.

Declutter and Clean

A messy workplace doesn’t just look unprofessional — it could also prove to be dangerous for your employees. Cleaning up after yourself is something that most people will have been taught as a child, but it can be easy for clutter and general untidiness to build up at work, especially in hectic environments.

Fortunately, this is an issue that doesn’t require a great deal of time and effort to fix. Getting into the habit of regularly tidying the workplace and paying close attention to areas where there is more potential for accidents (walkways, shelves, areas with machinery, etc.) will get your employees into a routine and decrease the risk of injury.

Risk Assessments and Inspections

The best way to increase safety awareness and efficiency is by carrying out a risk assessment and inspection. These can be performed by our SEMA-approved inspectors, who will assess the environment and ensure that your workplace health and safety complies with HSE standards. We also offer one-day racking inspection training courses that provide you and your employees with essential warehouse safety knowledge and advice, so that you can keep your workplace safe.

Both risk assessments and inspections are highly beneficial for raising awareness, because they highlight the areas of your workplace that are causing issues and could potentially be dangerous. The keen eye of an expert and the knowledge they possess will massively improve workplace safety — even more so when combined with regular internal safety inspections.

Are you looking to improve safety awareness in the workplace? We can help! At Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved inspectors help business owners enhance workplace safety with thorough racking inspections and employee training courses. Get in touch today to find out how we can improve your workplace safety.

What Are the Repercussions of Ignoring Warehouse Risks?

Warehouse Risks

If you discover that your warehouse safety isn’t up to scratch or that there are certain risks you could handle better, choosing to ignore them could have serious and potentially fatal repercussions.

Every business and workplace is different and, therefore, some are more dangerous than others. A warehouse is a place that demands awareness, training and risk assessments to ensure that everyone remains safe. With so many warehouse risks to consider, some business owners may opt to ignore them in an attempt to save time and money.

In this post, we’ll highlight a few of the ways ignoring warehouse risks could prove to be catastrophic and what you should be doing to tackle these risks.

Injuries and Fatalities

In the UK, hundreds of thousands of people injure themselves at work every year. In the warehousing sector, the most common injuries tend to be slips and trips, falls from a height, manual handling and being struck by objects. As a business owner, you have a duty of care to anyone who sets foot in your warehouse. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of an accident occurring, you’ll be failing your employees if you choose to ignore warehouse risks.

If an accident happens, the worst case scenario is the death of an employee. This is not only devastating on a personal level, but, if it occurs because of negligent behaviour, it will bring your company into disrepute and you’ll likely face legal action.

Industrial Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved inspectors ensure that your workplace complies with health and safety requirements by carrying out thorough racking inspections. This will point out any current or potential warehouse risks and advise you on the best course of action to fix the problem.

You Could Face Legal Action

When it comes to risks and the potential for accidents, the warehousing sector is more vulnerable than most. It’s for this reason that you should do everything in your power to ensure that your employees are as safe as possible at all times. If an employee or anyone else is injured in your warehouse, they would be well within their rights to take you to court.

If it comes to light that you were aware of warehouse risks and chose to ignore them, didn’t provide employees with the necessary training or failed to carry out inspections or risk assessments, it’s safe to say you and your business could be in hot water. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may have to pay a substantial amount of compensation — this is especially the case if an employee is killed and their family believes you are responsible.

It Sends the Wrong Message to Employees

Deciding to ignore correct warehouse safety procedures is reckless, irresponsible and a sign of extremely poor leadership. It not only relays the message that ignoring health hazards is acceptable, but it also shows that you aren’t concerned about the wellbeing of your employees.

As a business owner and leader, you should ensure that your workplace is as safe as it can be. In a warehouse, there are risks — due to the storage of heavy objects and machinery, such as forklifts, being used — but with the correct precautions, such as inspections and training, you can create a much safer environment. Employees who feel safe and have faith in their leader will be much more comfortable and happy at work, and improved morale is a fantastic way to boost productivity and success.

Warehouse Safety Training and Inspections Are Vital

A vital aspect of any business is safety and, no matter if you work in a warehouse or an office, it’s something that should be a top priority. Here at Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved inspectors have an abundance of knowledge and experience that ensures that your warehouse’s safety isn’t undone by the risks presented by damaged or unsafe racking.

We also provide essential training to employees, which teaches the importance of professional racking inspections and how to perform a risk assessment. Our one-day course can be completed at one of our training centres or your workplace. Upon completion, you and your employees will have an enhanced awareness of warehouse safety and the knowledge to carry out internal racking inspections.

Warehouse risks pose a serious threat and are not something to be ignore. At Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved racking inspectors can ensure that your warehouse meets HSE standards. Get in touch today to find out how we can support your safety needs and concerns.

Why Warehouse Safety Is Essential for Small Businesses?

Warehouse Safety

 Good warehouse safety practices are vital for any company, but small businesses are particularly vulnerable if accident or injury should occur.

Thanks to advances in modern technology, most notable of which is the internet, businesses and organisations large and small now occupy a level playing field. While this makes it easier for companies to market themselves and make more sales through eCommerce, businesses are still vulnerable if they experience problems of a financial or legal nature — issues that could easily occur if proper warehouse safety isn’t maintained.

In this post, we’ll highlight why warehouse safety practices are essential for small businesses.

Poor Warehouse Safety Can Lead to Accidents

As a business owner, you should do everything in your power to ensure that your employees are safe at work. This can prove to be difficult in an environment such as a warehouse, but by implementing thorough inspections and training, you can massively decrease the likelihood of accidents happening.

Between 2016 and 2017, over 600,000 people were injured at work in the UK, 39,000 of whom worked in the transportation and storage sector. Accidents including slips and trips, manual handling incidents, and falling from a height are among the most common. These all have the potential to cause serious harm and even death. A death in the workplace is damaging for a company of any size, but, for small businesses especially, the impact it will have on your finances and reputation can be difficult to recover from.

At Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved inspectors carry out professional racking inspections to make sure your workplace complies with health and safety requirements and regulations. We also run one-day training courses that provide business owners and employees with vital warehouse safety knowledge and advice on keeping the workplace safe.

Damage to Products and Equipment is Costly

Small businesses who use warehouses to store their products could run into serious financial problems if they fail to maintain proper warehouse safety. For example, if your storage system fails or an employee accident causes damage to products because they aren’t properly store, they could prove expensive to replace. This is a notable risk for small businesses, which tend to work with much lower budgets, leaving little to no room for error.

Likewise, if damage to products means that you have to delay or cancel orders, it will have a negative impact on your company’s reputation. In the business world, and especially for local businesses, reputation is everything. If customers lose faith in your brand, they won’t hesitate to purchase what they need from your rivals.

Legal Problems Can Spell the End for a Company

When a large organisation appears in the media because an employee has been injured at work, it will leave them with a red face for a while and will make a nice dent in their finances — due to compensation payouts — but, ultimately, you’ll find in time that they recover. An example of this is Amazon, which faced $28,000 fines at the end of last year, due to two employees being kill in its warehouses in the space of two months.

While industry-leading companies may be able to endure legal issues and fines, these types of problems could spell the end for a small business. If an employee slips, trips, falls from a height or has an accident while using machinery (such as a forklift) in your warehouse, the legal fallout could prove to be costly. A small business works on a tight budget and relies heavily on its reputation and taking note of warehouse risks could be a killing blow for what is otherwise a successful company.

Are you a small business owner with concerns about warehouse safety? Here at Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved racking inspectors will ensure that your warehouse equipment meets HSE standards. Get in touch today to find out how we can support your safety needs.

What Is the Purpose of a Risk Assessment?

risk assessment analysis

The term ‘risk assessment’ is commonly used and it’s a vital aspect of modern health and safety. We live in an era where inefficient or negligent safety practices are no longer acceptable and will result in legal action. So what is the purpose of a risk assessment?

These days, there tends to be a lot of focus on marketing and technology when it comes to business, but health and safety is still very much a cornerstone of the business world. Good health and safety practices not only prevent injury in the workplace, but also prevent serious incidents from damaging the reputation of a company.

In this post, we’ll discuss the purpose of a risk assessment and why it’s something that no business owner can afford to ignore.

Why Do a Risk Assessment?

Employers have a duty of care to their employees and a crucial aspect of delivering that is ensuring safety in the workplace. The purpose of a risk assessment is to allow the employer to identify any potential risks and take necessary measures to keep their employees safe.

While the purpose of risk assessment is the prevention of occupational risks, some workplaces are more dangerous than others and it can be difficult to completely eliminate the possibility of an accident occurring. In terms of warehouse safety, there’s a lot to consider, including the storage of heavy objects, working at height, manual handling and much more. Therefore, a risk assessment becomes crucial for reducing and preventing injury — it can even save lives.

Provide Employees with Necessary Training

Another purpose of a risk assessment is to provide employees (and yourself) with the necessary training to ensure that they maintain adequate health and safety practices at all times. On the job training is one thing, but the insight and knowledge of a health and safety professional will open your eyes to all of the potential risks at your place of work.

Here at Storage Equipment Experts, our SEMA-approved inspectors carry out thorough racking inspections to make sure that you are complying with health and safety requirements. We also carry out one-day racking inspection courses — either at one of our training centres or at your workplace — which teach you everything you need to know about warehouse safety. Upon completion, you will have attained the vital knowledge needed to carry out your own internal inspections.

Prevent Damage to Equipment or Products

There’s no doubt that the primary goal of any employer or business is to protect workers from any potential hazards. But another crucial benefit of a risk assessment is that it helps to prevent damage to or loss of product due to insufficient storage or transportation.

This is especially important for companies who operate expensive machinery or store high-end goods, or small business owners who tend to work on a much tighter budget. Damage to products due to accidents in the workplace can be expensive to replace or lead to loss of business, if you have to wait for replacement goods. It could also make your customers lose faith in your company, damaging your reputation and leading to a reduced customer base.  

When it comes to warehouse safety, possessing the correct knowledge of racking systems, ancillary equipment — such as forklifts — storage equipment and different types of damage will give your workers the awareness needed to help them make their daily surroundings a much safer environment.

Are you concerned about workplace safety and think you would benefit from a risk assessment? Contact Storage Equipment Experts today to discuss how we can help. We provide racking inspections to make sure you remain compliant with workplace health and safety regulations.

Why Do a Risk Assessment? It’s All About Reducing Liability

Risk management

What is the point of doing a risk assessment? Do you actually need to do one? Our blog post explores this topic and explains what it’s all about.

The term risk assessment describes the process of carrying out checks to identify potential hazards and other risk factors that may result in harm. The purpose of a risk assessment is to evaluate these hazards and make appropriate arrangements to either negate or control potential injury or other consequences.

Risk assessments are commonly carried out in the workplace. At Storage Equipment Experts, we work with warehouses to secure racking and storage equipment and help put measures in place to satisfy the results of a risk assessment. Workplaces like warehouses aren’t the only places that should consider risk assessments, though. Events, public spaces, entertainment venues and schools are all good candidates for risk assessment processes.

Why Do a Risk Assessment

Why do a risk assessment? Are they actually necessary?

Many people are aware of the often-dubbed ‘overprotective’ nanny state created by the policies of health and safety. As a result, it can be tempting just to ignore such methods of monitoring potential dangers, including risk assessments. In fact, the temptation is more real than you might think, with 65% of UK businesses regularly flouting the rules and guidance put in place by HSE (The Health and Safety Executive).

What could go wrong?

The process of conducting a risk assessment may seem unnecessary at times, especially at small workplaces or for low-key public events, but carrying out an evaluation of potential dangers is always a good idea.

Risk assessments allow you to:

  • Build Awareness of Hazards — If you don’t conduct a risk assessment, it can be difficult to know exactly what could go wrong. Yes, risks may be minimal, but no aspect of life is without risk. A quick read of the workplace deaths recorded by HSE is enough to prove that point. Without performing a risk assessment, you face a lack of preparedness to deal with the issues that cause such fatalities. Imagine there was an issue and somebody was injured — without a risk assessment, you’re risking not having the knowledge or resources to deal with the problem.
  • Identify Who is At Risk: Certain people may be more at risk than others, such as employees in specific roles, performers at a venue or visitors located in a specific area at an event. You don’t want to place a group of people at unnecessary risk, which is why analysing any potential problems — and having plans in place should they happen — is crucial.

With this information to hand, you are then capable of determining whether or not protection is needed. You may conduct a risk assessment and discover all is as it should be and that there are appropriate protective measures in place. However, if you carry out a risk assessment and find there aren’t, you can now take the steps you need to secure your building, warehouse, event or venue.

By carrying out assessments you’ll:

  • Improve the likelihood of preventing injuries, illness or death as a result of attendance to your event, workplace or venue;
  • Meet moral and ethical conventions by ensuring you are not putting people at unnecessary risk. Failing to meet these conventions can irreparably damage your reputation;
  • Meet legal requirements relating to both health and safety and duty of care.

At The End of the Day, It’s About Liability

Moral and ethical implications aside, performing a risk assessment is all about negating liability if a problem was to occur. In the event of disaster, for example, should somebody become injured at your event or place of work, you need to cover yourself against legal action.

Being found liable for health and safety breaches can result in severe consequences. Entities, such as businesses, found guilty of breaking health and safety laws — without having carried out an appropriate risk assessment — face fines in the region of tens of thousands.

What’s more, the individual responsible for managing adherence to health and safety laws, be it an HR rep, event planner or business owner, faces personal liability as well. This can include additional fines and even jail time.

So why do a risk assessment?

Risk assessments allow you to identify potential health and safety problems and take appropriate precautions. In doing so, you create a safer environment that drastically reduces the chance of something bad happening. If the worst were to occur, you have a certain level of protection as you followed the expected processes — providing you did so to a satisfactory standard.

Why do a risk assessment? Because it is a crucial step in ensuring your workplace or venue is safe. At Storage Equipment Experts, we are specialists in racking safety. If you operate a warehouse, contact us today to find out how we can ensure your premises meets health and safety standards, reducing the risk of injury on your property and providing you with essential protection in the case of a problem.

Warehouse Safety Ideas: 5 Steps to Reduce Risk

Warehouse Safety Ideas

Discover simple yet effective methods of reducing the risk to employees working in your warehouse safety, creating a more secure working environment.

A safe warehouse environment is paramount to your business’s survival. If proper safety procedures aren’t in place, accidents can become commonplace in the warehouse environment. The scale of the workforce involved, the machinery used, the extensive use of racking systems and the size of the structure, along with the often heavy items contained within it, all add up to a workplace that is inherently hazardous.

Health and safety problems that result in worker injury or death can destroy a business.

Across the globe, forklift operation regularly ends in injury or fatality — in America alone, 20,000 people are injured by the vehicles each year. Here in the UK, each of the top five most common causes of workplace fatalities has the potential to be caused by the warehouse environment. These are falling from a height, being struck by a moving object, getting hit by a moving vehicle, being trapped under collapsed equipment (such as racking) and death by workplace machinery.

Unfortunately, accidents are sometimes unavoidable. However, there are plenty of steps businesses can take to avoid health and safety breaches that result in legal liability, and live up to ethical codes that mean their workers are secure in their environment.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we are specialists in warehouse safety. We’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country and seen every kind of setup there is. With that knowledge in mind, here are our top five warehouse safety ideas to reduce the risk of accident or injury:

1. Create a Clear Movement System

Warehouses are notorious for containing big pieces of machinery, large crates, and rows and rows of shelving and racking. Navigating this environment can be tricky, especially without a clear line of sight. Such obstacles greatly increase the risk of collision between workers.

This kind of problem can be negated by creating a movement plan. Similar to a road or car park, create a structure of mobility that means you can only move in certain directions through certain areas of the warehouse. These could be one-way passages or the creation of lanes.

By creating a clear path of movement, you reduce the chance of collision by making sure everyone is moving in the same direction. Sign post this warehouse safety idea clearly. Make sure the layout is not only intuitive and easy to follow, but that there is always visible information available about what the flow of traffic is for those who aren’t familiar.

2. Racking Inspections by SEMA Approved inspectors

Racking fills warehouses. Sometimes it can cover near every inch of available space.

Racking houses all your goods and is an essential piece of equipment workers will regularly come into contact with. It is also made of heavy materials and holds heavy objects, some of which can be found at a great height.

Unstable or damaged racking has the potential to cause serious injury or worse. The HSE — the British governing body of health and safety enforcement — recommends that qualified inspectors carry out racking reviews at least once a year. We are also strong advocates of this advice.

Ensuring your racking is secure can avoid a lot of preventable problems. Wear and tear, damage and poor initial construction can lead to weaknesses in racking, which in turn can lead to falls, collapse and instability, putting workers at risk.

Hire a SEMA approved racking inspector, such as us at Storage Equipment Experts, to make sure your warehouse racking is safe to use.

3. Eliminate All Clutter

Any unnecessary clutter has the potential to be a trip hazard, cause entanglement, result in somebody becoming trapped or cause injury due to falling objects. These are dangers that can easily be avoided by presenting workers with a strict policy on maintaining a clean and clear working environment.

Line of sight is essential to avoiding many warehouse problems, as is organisation. Create a strategy that ensures everything has an assigned place to be stored and that storage is done properly without creating a jumbled mess. A mountain of misaligned crates is a disaster waiting to happen. If there is no place for appropriate storage, allocate areas of the warehouse for objects to be placed — out of the way of usual activity — until a secure, permanent home can be found.

4. Employ Automation and Smart Tech

According to HSE, falls from height are the second highest cause of death in the workplace. This isn’t particularly surprising, since working from a height carries great risk. However, there are ways you can reduce the need for employees to carry out work at a height, and this starts with smart technology.

Drones are slowly being introduced to warehousing as automated tools for stock checking. The technology is programmed to check for items, locate packages and even transport them, if possible. This means your workers don’t have to reach high places to identify or move stock.

There are other ways you can utilise smart tech for warehouse safety. Amazon recently patented a device which tracks hand movements and directs employees to the right place, helping them to avoid moving the wrong items or items they don’t have the equipment to hold. Tracking movements also allows you to monitor employees and ensure they are following safety regulations properly.

5. Educate Everyone on Warehouse Safety Ideas and Rules Regularly

Things change, workplaces evolve, new people arrive and people get complacent. Due to the adaptive nature of work and warehousing, a one-off training process in safety is not sufficient. Reminders and updates are required to keep workers on their toes and ensure they are following the correct procedure. Provide regular training sessions that refresh key skills and safety information. If new systems do come into place, make sure everyone is aware and up-to-date.

Time to up your warehouse safety? Contact Storage Equipment Experts today to discuss how we can support your safety needs. Our SEMA approved racking inspectors ensure your warehouse equipment meets the standards defined by HSE.

What Exactly is a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector and Why Do You Need One?

SEMA Approved Racking Inspector

Are you being told you should have your warehouse looked over by a SEMA approved racking inspector? This blog explains everything from who they are to why you need one.

Warehouses involved in the supply and demand business are often stacked to the rafters with racking, pallets and other storage equipment. Constructed using anything from wood to steel and holding products that range from bottled water to flammable goods, racking is a workhorse of the warehouse industry that should never be ignored.

Like all workhorses, the only way to keep operations running smoothly is through proper upkeep.

Your racking systems may seem perfectly adequate and secure, but there are numerous issues that may be affecting them — issues that could result in an unsafe or unstable warehouse environment. Problems with racking can endanger both workers and stock, which means appropriate maintenance is key. Racking inspections allow for the identification of potential problems and hazards including damage, material failure and incorrectly fitted elements.

With the information gained from these inspections, warehouse managers can then take steps to secure their goods, meet health and safety policy and ensure they are following laws relating to duty of care.

Who Are SEMA?

SEMA are an authority on racking inspections safety training. They are recognised across Europe as educators of the highest-quality racking inspectors — such as us here at Storage Equipment Experts.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK governing body responsible for the encouragement, monitoring and enforcement of health and safety practices, advises that warehouses are inspected by a SEMA approved racking inspector at least every 12 months.

What is a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector?

SEMA approved racking inspector is an individual who has undertaken extensive training under an approved SEMA program. This program allows the person to offer racking inspection services that are up to a level deemed satisfactory by HSE.

There are numerous types of racking inspection available. However, if you were to consider them all as different levels of British educational institutions, SEMA would be the top university.

Such training qualifies the SEMA approved racking inspector as a recognisable authority in warehouse equipment inspections. As a result, those who operate warehouses that contain storage equipment should consider hiring the services of a SEMA approved racking inspector over others offering similar services. At Storage Equipment Experts, we offer racking inspections by SEMA Approved inspectors across the UK and Ireland.

But do you really need a SEMA approved racking inspector? Can’t you just check the racking yourself or have somebody else do it?

Why Do I Need a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector?

When it comes to workplace safety, satisfactory — or even second-best — is not good enough.

Racking may seem mundane, but as with everything, there are inherent dangers that come hand-in-hand with its use. The problems faced can vary from issues as small as tripping over loose equipment to major collapses that threaten lives. Those who operate workplaces have a duty of care to their employees and when racking is in use, this extends to ensuring your equipment is maintained to an appropriate standard as to avoid potential hazards.

Racking inspections by SEMA Approved inspectors ensure your racking is checked to the highest possible standards, as dictated by HSE. This not only means a safe workplace for your employees, but it also adds a level of protection in the event of disaster.

There are no laws governing exactly how you should have your racking inspected, only that you need to provide a safe workplace for individuals under standard duty of care practice. However, by following HSE’s recommended practice of using a SEMA approved racking inspector, you have evidence — in the event of any health and safety concern — that your warehouse has acted under the guidance provided by the governing body.

Failure to use a SEMA approved inspected means that, if the worst was to happen, you don’t have that backup to protect your liability. While you haven’t broken any laws, by not using a SEMA approved inspector, you haven’t followed the recommended guidelines either, which reduces your ability to defend your culpability.

The recommendations may not be legislation, but they exist for a reason.

SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors Can Train Your Staff to Spot Problems

Annual inspections from a SEMA approved inspector are important, but it is also important to regularly monitor racking for signs of potential problems. If weaknesses develop or damage occurs six months into your yearly schedule, you’ll want people on your roster that can spot danger before it’s too late.

Identifying the warning signs early on means you can get a thorough inspection carried out before your employees, stock and brand are put at unnecessary and avoidable risk.

Our SEMA approved racking inspectors cannot offer your employees SEMA qualifications, but they can educate them on proper storage equipment safety processes, practices and threat identification. We can ensure employees are aware of a number of common problems, allowing them to act as an early warning system. If your staff know what to look out for and are able to engage in active workplace safety checks, your chances of experiencing a health and safety nightmare are severely reduced.

Are you in need of a SEMA approved racking inspector to carry out checks, or educate your staff on what to look out for and how to properly care for equipment? Storage Equipment Experts has years of industry experience and is fully qualified for the task. Get in touch today.