A Guide to Warehouse Safety in Ireland

Racking inspection courses

How can you ensure the safety of your staff and equipment in Ireland?

Warehouse safety should be a major concern, regardless of where your business operates. While Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority (HSA) covers many aspects of workplace safety, it’s always best to take a holistic view. From manual handling to pallet racking inspections, here are a few important warehouse safety procedures that you should be following. For even more advice, take a look at our infographic below.
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Does HSA Recommend SEMA Racking Inspections?

Racking Inspection Checklists - Racking Inspections Infographics at Storage Equipment Experts

We deliver SEMA racking inspections to businesses in Ireland.

Though it never mentions SEMA racking inspections specifically, Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority does indirectly recommend SEMA racking inspections. To understand how this is the case, it’s important to look closely at HSA’s advice.

HSA and Legislation

HSA’s website contains a list of all the legislation which pertains to health and safety in Ireland. It doesn’t have all the legislation in full on the website, but the most important piece of legislation is there: the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. This cornerstone act addresses many issues, but it doesn’t mention SEMA racking inspections or warehouse safety specifically. It does, however, refer to the EU law which HSA is obliged to follow.

The EU’s guide on Steel Static Storage Systems recommends racking inspections from experts and competent staff at least once a year. Because Ireland is a member of the EU, Irish businesses are expected to follow this advice. However, the guide does not outline exactly what the EU means by “experts” and what qualifies as “competent” staff. This leaves many Irish businesses at a bit of loss.

Are SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors “Experts”?

England’s own health and safety board, HSE, claims that they are. In its guide to warehouse safety, HSE cites SEMA racking inspections by SEMA approved racking inspectors as an example of “expert” inspections.

It’s true that HSE is the health and safety body for the UK, so its advice doesn’t necessarily have to be followed by Irish businesses. However, when it comes to warehouse safety, HSA itself refers to HSE’s advice. On its page addressing warehouse safety, HSA directs readers to the exact HSE guide which labels SEMA approved racking inspectors as experts.

So, Does HSA Label SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors “Experts”?

Irish businesses need racking inspections from a racking inspection expert at least once a year in order to follow the EU’s advice. In the absence of other advice or indication as to who qualifies as a racking inspection expert, it’s fair to assume that HSA would consider SEMA approved racking inspectors experts.

In short, the advice from HSA is not very clear. However, when HSA’s advice is taken in combination with the EU’s advice, it becomes clear that SEMA approved racking inspectors do qualify as racking inspection experts and that all Irish warehouses should have a SEMA racking inspection at least once a year.

A Few More Reasons Irish Businesses Need SEMA Racking Inspections…

At Storage Equipment Experts, we offer SEMA racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector. In other words, we offer “expert” inspections from an “expert” inspector. However, alongside this, there are a few other reasons why Irish warehouses should have SEMA racking inspections from us:

  • As of 2017, both Ireland and the UK are still members of the EU. Even when the UK does leave the EU, its EU-influenced racking inspection legislation will likely not change. This means that the laws regarding warehouse safety are very similar in both countries.
  • Both countries use similar pallet racking systems and have many other similar laws and cultural norms when it comes to safety. As a result, the warehouses and the racking systems are often the same.
  • Ireland is extremely accessible from the UK and vice-versa. At Storage Equipment Experts, we offer UK-wide coverage and are more than happy conduct an inspection in Ireland, too.
  • We also offer racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector for businesses that want their staff to be “competent” enough to perform the regular staff-led racking inspections that the EU and the HSE warehouse safety guide referenced by HSA both recommend.

If you’re still undecided about whether or not expert racking inspection services from Storage Equipment Experts are right for you, take a look at our testimonials page.

No matter where your business is in the UK or Ireland, contact Storage Equipment Experts for an expert SEMA racking inspection today. From our base in London, we’re happy to inspect warehouses anywhere in the UK or Ireland.

Rack Safety Inspections in Ireland: What Does The Law Say?

warehouse racking with stock

We offer rack safety inspections to Irish businesses as well as British ones

When it comes to health and safety, Irish law is made up of two parts: the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and EU health and safety law. It is these two bodies that decide the laws concerning rack safety inspections in Ireland.

What is the HSA?

The HSA is the governing body for all things health and safety in Ireland. In that sense, it is like OSHA in the United States of America or HSE in the United Kingdom. Relative to OSHA and HSE, however, it was formed quite recently. OSHA was formed first in 1970, HSE was formed a few years later in 1974, but it wasn’t until 1989 that the HSA was formed.

What this means is that many of the health and safety rules and regulations which affect Irish workplaces are new. This is also true for warehouse safety and rack safety inspections, specifically. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, which forms the basis for almost all Irish workplace safety law, was passed in 2005 and was updated as recently as July 2016.

The act is general. It refers to “inspectors” and “inspections” many times, but it does not use the word “warehouse” or “racking” once. The act is intended to apply to health and safety as a whole and outlines the legal responsibilities of different workplace roles. In this sense, it is like the UK’s CDM Regulations 2015. In fact, just as with the CDM Regulations, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act needs to be read with reference to other legislation to understand the law and government recommendations regarding rack safety inspections.

The HSA’s Relationship With the EU and HSE

EU health and safety law affects Irish health and safety law directly; many EU health and safety acts are referenced in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act. Added to this, there is the influence of HSE which, despite operating in the UK, is still referenced by HSA. In the HSA’s brief guide to warehouse safety, it refers to HSE’s Warehousing and storage: A guide to health and safety as a resource that Irish businesses should use.

Both HSE and the EU have recommendations and legislation regarding rack safety inspections. So, though HSA doesn’t have anything specific to say regarding rack inspections, it refers to two bodies (and has laws based on one of those bodies) that do have specific rack inspection recommendations.
In the HSE guide which HSA refers to, the advice is that all businesses should have a rack safety inspection from an “expert” at least once a year. It identifies SEMA approved racking inspectors by name as an example of a racking inspection expert. At Storage Equipment Experts, we offer rack safety inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

The same guide also recommends more regular inspections from “technically competent” staff. For this, we recommend our racking inspection training course, which is performed by a SEMA approved racking inspector.

The EU health and safety legislation which HSA refers to also has recommendations for racking inspections. It too states that racking inspections should be performed at least annually by an external expert, as well as by technically competent staff. As a member of the EU, this advice applies to Ireland. As a member of the EU at the time when this legislation was written, it also applies to the UK (and there is no real reason why this racking inspection legislation in the UK would change when it leaves the EU).

What Does All This Mean for Rack Safety Inspections in Ireland?

In short, all businesses in Ireland should have regular racking inspections. Businesses that don’t perform regular racking inspections are running contrary to the Irish government’s advice. Though HSA does not mention racking inspections themselves, it does mention the advice of both HSE and the EU: two bodies that do recommend racking inspections.

As a member of the EU, Ireland and its businesses are bound by the racking inspection legislation and the recommendations it makes. As a country which refers to HSE on matters of warehouse safety, Ireland and Irish businesses should heed HSE’s advice about annual inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

If you’re an Irish business looking for racking inspection training or a SEMA approved racking inspection, look no further than Storage Equipment Experts. Our services are recommended by big and small businesses from every imaginable industry.