Basic Warehouse Safety Rules: How to Ensure Employee Compliance

Group portrait of industry workers

Are your employees ignoring basic warehouse safety rules? Follow our expert advice to ensure staff remain compliant at all times.

The term ‘health and safety’ has developed a bit of a stigma in recent years. Overcomplicated rules and regulations, seemingly inane workplace policies and other practices have led many to see the HSE — the UK’s governing body of health and safety management — as a bloated creation of unnecessary safety enforcement.

The result is that many people ignore the health and safety rules their workplaces have put in place. It is not uncommon to find employees disregarding company policy because they don’t respect the significance of the health and safety measures established.

Of course, there is no smoke without fire. Health and safety rules have taken some steps in the wrong direction in the past. A 2011 study outlined a number of ‘pointless’ EU laws that forced British businesses into costly and unnecessary risk avoidance strategies.

However, overzealous laws do not mean health and safety is completely without merit. Workplaces like warehouses carry a risk of injury and even death. Proper and appropriate health and safety is critical to avoiding such risks, which means employees must comply with company policy.

But in a world where health and safety is known for being mostly superfluous, how do you achieve this?

Encourage High-Priority Safety Culture

What does encouraging a safety culture mean? It means getting your employees to understand the importance of basic warehouse safety rules and why they are in place. Stressing the significance of your health and safety rules is imperative to workers actually understanding why they exist.

A strong way to do this is to show examples of potential injuries that can occur should health and safety rules not be followed. If you can find real-life circumstances and examples that illustrate your point, use them.

The aim is to cultivate a safety-conscious culture within your warehouse, where your staff not only respect the policies in place, but actively work to ensure they are followed. Encouraging employees to report breaches is another tactic you can employ. This means that not only will you find out if people are ignoring rules, but that workers will be more likely to follow them as there are more eyes observing their actions.

Avoid Unnecessary Safety Regulations

Part of making sure people respect and understand the importance of your basic warehouse safety rules is ensuring you’re not implementing unnecessary or pointless policies.

You must follow HSE law and duty of care when constructing workplace regulations. However, if you overstep the mark and go beyond what you have to do, you may find employees become less concerned with following certain rules.

If some rules are broken because they are deemed ridiculous, all rules are at risk of being ignored.

Create a dialogue with your staff about health and safety rules. Find out what they think about the regulations in place and work together to create policies that meet legal requirements, while also establishing regulations that employees feel are acceptable and legitimate. Involving your staff helps them engage more with the rules and ensures they place more significance on following them.

Conduct Regular Training

Part of compliance is knowing what you actually have to do, yet confusion at work is not uncommon. In fact, 50% of workers aren’t entirely sure of all their responsibilities. If employees aren’t even clear on what their job is, how can they be clear on all elements of health and safety?

Regular training works to accomplish two things:

  1. It refreshes workers on basic warehouse safety rules and ensures they are aware of exactly what is expected of them;
  2. It ensures they are aware of any new additions to your warehouse’s health and safety policy, such as changes in how to perform certain tasks.

Training means that all your workers know how to be compliant. If they know how to comply, they can’t break the rules by mistake.

Carry Out Spot-Checks

Training is important for compliance, but it’s important to know if your education platform is working.

Conduct spot-checks to find out. This involves not only randomly monitoring employees in the normal work environment, but also testing them. Ask your staff questions about how they would complete certain tasks that require basic warehouse safety rules to be followed.

Random spot-checks can lead to resentment if done improperly, so be sure to take an unbiased approach. This means monitoring and testing all individuals in the same way, no matter what position of authority they hold.

Ensure Consequence for Non-Compliance

Unless there is a health and safety breach as a result of negligence or non-compliance, there is no legal requirement that somebody face punishment as a consequence for ignoring health and safety.

That responsibility falls to the business.

Instigating a clear policy for non-compliance is an unfortunate but necessary task when it comes to combating disregard for health and safety rules. If your employees see no consequence for breaking rules, other than a slap on the wrist, then they’ll continue to do so. In continuing with such behaviour, they put others and themselves at serious risk.

Employees who do not comply with your basic warehouse safety rules must be disciplined accordingly, with punishments appropriate to the severity of the misconduct.

Reward Those Who Follow Basic Warehouse Safety Rules

Those who break the rules should be punished, but those who follow them shouldn’t be forgotten. Reward and incentive schemes are powerful tools for compliance and improving overall productivity. Staff who receive rewards for their efforts are, on average, 50% more engaged with their workplace than those who don’t, and are more motivated, too.

Engagement with basic warehouse safety rules is crucial to guaranteeing compliance. Having people motivated to comply is just a bonus. But how do you reward an employee for following the rules?

Every workplace will have their own unique reward system, as only you will know how to best incentivise your staff. However, here are a few tips. Reward those who:

  • Regularly pass spot-checks
  • Report safety issues without prompting
  • Are observed carrying out appropriate safety processes
  • Are reported to be following regulations properly by floor managers.

Warehouse staff need education in all types of safety procedures, including the use of racking and storage equipment. Our SEMA approved racking inspectors at Storage Equipment Experts can offer training on staying safe at work.

Who is Responsible for Safety in the Workplace?

workplace safety

With so many other things to worry about when running a business, it can be hard to know who is responsible for safety in the workplace. However, the answer is simpler than you might think…

Who is responsible for safety in the workplace? One the one hand, everyone is responsible for safety in the workplace. Employers, employees, clients, and even members of the public or visitors — every single person who steps into a workplace is responsible for their own safety and the safety of others.

It’s nothing less than common sense and common ethics. If we imagined that safety was somehow the job of someone else, the buck would forever be passed to someone else. By emphasising that there is no single person who is responsible for safety in the workplace, we can make sure that everyone takes responsibility. When that happens, accidents are much less likely.

As SEMA says in its video on load notices, “safety is everyone’s job.

All that said, the legal question of who is responsible for safety in the workplace is a little less settled than the moral question. In other words, in the case of an injury in the workplace, it is not the case that everyone would be legally responsible for the injury.

So, legally speaking, who is responsible for safety in the workplace?

Legally speaking, everyone is responsible for safety in the workplace — but not everyone is responsible for the same thing and not everyone has the same amount of responsibility. The bulk of the responsibility rests with the employer, but an employee, a visitor, or even a member of the public has some responsibilities as well. HSE lays out employer responsibilities on its website.

You couldn’t give all of the legal responsibility for safety to the employer, because that would mean that any accident in their workplace would be their fault. So, if an employee decided to purposely injure another colleague, the employer would be accountable. This is obviously absurd, and that’s why an employee needs some responsibility for safety as well.

Equally absurd would be if everyone was equally responsible for safety. If employees are asked to perform a task without the correct training or safety equipment, it is not their responsibility to know what safety equipment or safety training they should have had. If an injury were to occur in that instance, the employer would be legally responsible.

HSE lays out employee responsibilities (including agency worker and temporary worker responsibilities) on its website.

There are also other instances of responsibility. A member of the public who walks into a workplace uninvited and who winds up injured because they ignored safety regulation is responsible for their own safety. A contractor who created a fault while working on a piece of equipment might be held responsible if that equipment goes wrong.

You might also be an employee who is a safety representative elected by a union. HSE lays out safety representative responsibilities on in its website. The two most important pieces of legislation with regards to safety representatives are the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 and the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996.

Finally, there is “client” responsibility as defined in cases covered by the CDM Regulations 2015). The CDM Regulations outline responsibility for safety in construction or design projects. This includes building sites, but it also includes film sets, music sets, and television show sets. In cases like these, the employer is harder to define.

As such, the term ‘client’ refers to “any person for whom a project is carried out”. In projects covered by the CDM Regulations 2015, the client is responsible for many of the things for which an employer would ordinarily be responsible.

Figuring out who is responsible for safety in the workplace

In order to know who is responsible for safety in the workplace, the best thing to do is to research the relevant law to look at the relevant guidelines. For warehouse safety, the owner of the warehouse or the employer is responsible for most safety, but employees have responsibilities, too.

HSE also recommends one particular employee to be nominated as the PRRS (Person Responsible for Racking Safety). This employee will have more responsibilities than other employees, though this is not a legally binding matter. It’s something which HSE advises in HSG76, but HSG76 is a guide and not legislation.

The PRRS should perform regular rack safety inspections alongside expert inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector once every 12 months. We also recommend that a PRRS is trained by a SEMA approved racking inspector in order to help them with their regular inspections.

As you can see by this point, knowing who is responsible for safety in the workplace entirely depends on the industry you’re in, the relevant legislation, and the relevant guidelines. However, as a shorthand, making sure that safety is everyone’s job will go a long way towards making your workplace safer.

If you’re looking for racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector for your PRRS or your annual inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for a FREE consultation.

Why The UK Needs SEMA Racking Safety

workplace safety and safety procedures folders on a desk

SEMA racking safety is the cornerstone of warehouse safety in the UK. Without SEMA’s input, our nation’s warehouses would be very dangerous places.

It’s easy to not appreciate how safe British workplaces are. Far too often, the words “health and safety” are synonymous with a nanny state. Stories about “health and safety gone mad” are by far the most popular representations of health and safety in the media, but they are by no means an accurate or fair picture.

The UK needs SEMA racking safety because it helps to reduce the number of people who die at work. Yes, extreme examples of overprotective business owners refusing to do tasks as basic as heating baby milk on the grounds of health and safety are annoying, but there are two things to know about these sorts of stories.

Firstly, the stories themselves are seldom ever the result of an actual health and safety law. 99% of the time, these events happen either because business owners misunderstood the law or because they wanted to be extra careful. However, the truth is that there is no law banning conkers from British playgrounds, selfie sticks from nightclubs, or pins from pin the tail on the donkey games. These are all examples of the all-too-common health and safety myth.

Instead, there are headmasters of schools and business owners who want to avoid risk. If that means upsetting people, at least they can always blame “health and safety” and avoid losing face.

SEMA racking safety has helped to make British workplaces some of the safest in the world

The second and most important thing which those sorts of stories miss is how much SEMA racking safety and other health and safety legislation has helped to make the UK a safer place. For the last year-long period that we have data (2016 to 2017), 137 people died at work in the UK. Each one of those deaths is a tragedy, but when you compare that figure to other countries and other periods in history, you begin to see how far the UK has come.

To begin with, 137 is 85% less than the nearly 700 people who died a year at work in the UK during the 1970s, in a period where nearly 6,000 people who died at work every year in the UK at the start of the 20th century. Though, it’s not just history which shows how invested the UK is in workplace safety. With a workplace fatality rate of 0.4 per 100,000 workers for 2016/2017 and of 0.5 over the last few years, the UK is the safest country in Europe in terms of the workplace fatality rate.

Beyond Europe, the UK has a much lower workplace fatality rate than other countries. The United States has a workplace fatality rate of 3.6, which makes the UK a 900% safer place to work.

What does SEMA racking safety have to do with any of this?

SEMA racking safety one of the many things which help to keep British workplaces so safe. HSE can’t afford to maintain safety all by itself, especially not when its budget is continuing to be cut. As such, private organisations like SEMA are needed to make sure that safety inspectors are trained and that updates to guidelines for racking safety best practice are published.

HSE often defers to SEMA racking guidelines and SEMA racking services in its guide to warehouse safety. The reason for this isn’t just because SEMA is a trustworthy organisation which understands rack safety. It’s also because it’s cheaper for HSE to outsource this sort of work to an organisation like SEMA.

As such, SEMA racking safety is part of the success story of British workplace safety. Without SEMA rack guidelines, its services, or SEMA racking safety inspectors, the UK would not be able to maintain such high standards of workplace safety.

To make sure that your warehouse maintains the highest safety standards, contact us today for a SEMA racking safety inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

What is a Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment form on a desk

Risk assessments are essential to workplace safety, but what are they exactly?

Without a risk assessment, your workplace could well be breaking the law. Yet, the reason you might not have performed a risk assessment might not be because you’re trying to be dangerous. It could simply be because you don’t know what a risk assessment is.

So, what is a risk assessment? And how can businesses perform them?

What is a risk assessment and what is a safety inspection?

A risk assessment is not just a safety inspection. A risk assessment is an evaluation of all the potential dangers in your workplace, followed by a series of planned actions designed to remove, reduce and minimise those risks. Every business in the UK with more than five employees is legally required to perform a risk assessment — from a local bakery to the BBC.

A workplace safety inspection is a different thing entirely, though it’s also important. It involves checking for damage on a specific piece of work equipment and figuring out whether or not that piece of work equipment needs some kind of repair.

How is a risk assessment performed?

Now that you can answer the question “What is a risk assessment?”, it’s time to actually perform one. A risk assessment involves five simple steps and none of these are designed to create unnecessary paperwork.

Rather, the aim is to make your workplace as safe as possible. Some of it might involve common sense, and that’s okay. Apply that common sense to come up with some common sense safety regulations.

1. Identify potential hazards

If you know what is a risk assessment and what is not a risk assessment, the first step should be very obvious. However, just in case, the first stage of a risk assessment is to — well — assess risks. Though, what does that mean in practice?

Have a look at your workplace and figure out where accidents could happen. Start by looking at the manufacturers’ recommendations on work equipment and the hazards they highlight. Then, take a look at your injury log book. Seeing how people have been injured in the past gives you a pretty clear idea of what’s dangerous about your workplace.

Next, consider some of the non-routine things you do in your workplace. If you have a delivery from a certain company only once every three months, there might be many ways in which you are unprepared for it. Then, consider the long-term health effects of your workplace. A long-term exposure to noise or cold could be a problem for your employees.

2. Consider who these hazards might impact

Your employees will be the first people who come to mind, but certain workers might be in more danger than others. People with pre-existing health conditions, people with disabilities, or pregnant women might be affected by a potential hazard which doesn’t affect the rest of your workforce.

Beyond your workforce, there are customers, clients, and even neighbouring businesses or members of the public that could potentially be injured by some of the hazards in your workplace. If they are, you are the one at fault.

3. Decide what to do about the hazard

Once you have identified all the potential dangers in your workplace and who they might endanger, you need to try and remove all of those dangers, but only as much as is reasonably practicable.

For example, a set of stairs might have many dangers, so the safest thing to do would be to remove the stairs entirely and replace them with a lift, or do your entire business on one floor. However, doing either of those things would not be reasonable at all. So, consider the reasonable actions you could take instead.

You could make sure that no items are stored on the stairs, that people don’t run on the stairs, that there are no wet surfaces on the stairs, and that the stairway is well lit. This sort of thinking needs to run throughout your entire workplace. If it’s possible to remove a risk, remove it. If it’s possible to restrict access to a risk, restrict. If it’s possible to reduce a risk, reduce it.

4. Record and evaluate your risk assessment

Doing all of the above steps means that you know what is a risk assessment and what is not a risk assessment. That’s great. However, you will need to legally prove that you know what a risk assessment is. In order to do that, you’ll need to record your findings.

Although, if you have less than five employees, you will not need to provide proof that you performed a risk assessment in order to stay within the law. For businesses of that size, you are still expected to know what a risk assessment is and to have performed one, but you don’t need to write anything down.

According to HSE, in order to have performed a suitable risk assessment in the eyes of the law, the following needs to have happened:

  • A proper check was made
  • You asked who might be affected
  • You dealt with all the obvious significant hazards, taking into account the number of people who could be involved
  • The precautions are reasonable and the remaining risk is low
  • You involved your employees or their representatives in the process

If you can prove all of that in a short written risk assessment report (a template for one can be downloaded from HSE) then you will have done enough to perform a risk assessment within the eyes of the law.

The final thing to do is to make sure that you review your risk assessment. If anything changes about your workplace (if new employees are hired, new equipment is brought it, or the layout of the workplace changes), make sure that you update your risk assessment accordingly.

What is a risk assessment for?

A risk assessment is for you, your employees, and anyone else who has any contact with your workplace. It’s for all of you and all of your safety. Contrary to opinion, it’s not for HSE. Yes, if you have more than five employees, the paperwork needs to be there so that HSE can prove you have performed a risk assessment. Yet, that should not mean that you imagine a risk assessment as something which needs to be done for the sake of doing.

A risk assessment exists as a record of workplace safety and as a way of guaranteeing that workplace safety is a priority.

I have a warehouse. Can you help me with my risk assessment?

At Storage Equipment Experts, we offer SEMA approved racking inspections and racking inspection training for businesses across the whole of the UK and Ireland. If you want your staff to have the skills to help you with your warehouse’s risk assessment, our racking inspection training course will give them the tools they need to identify all of the hazards associated with storage equipment and what they can do about those hazards.

What’s more, our SEMA approved racking inspections can also help to identify all of the hazards associated with storage equipment and what they can do about those hazards. This service consists of a visit from a SEMA approved racking inspector and is a service recommended by HSE once every 12 months.

In short, our racking inspection services can help you with your risk assessment. So, if you don’t know where to begin, contact us today for a FREE consultation about our racking inspection services.

3 Most Common Racking Inspection Legislation Violations

3 most common racking inspection violations

Racking inspection legislation can be difficult to understand. As such, there are some very common violations.

Violating racking inspection legislation isn’t an okay thing to do, but it is a surprisingly common occurrence. Many businesses which are otherwise run smoothly and professionally can find themselves committing a racking inspection violation not through negligence, but through ignorance. So, how can businesses avoid these mistakes? And what are the most common kinds of racking inspection legislation violations?

Side note: what is racking inspection legislation?

Racking inspection legislation violations are dependent on the idea that a law relating to racking inspection was violated. However, the truth is that what most people consider to be racking inspection law is actually just a recommendation.

Yes, these recommendations are backed up by HSE, SEMA, and the EU. What’s more, these recommendations are echoed in the CDM Regulations 2015, which is a law. Yet, the only hard piece of racking inspection legislation in the UK comes in the form of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998.

Sections five and six of this document outline the need for work equipment inspections after a system has been installed, if the system has been damaged or changed in any way, and at “suitable intervals”. This legislation is vague, but it forms the backbone of all of the recommendations HSE, SEMA, and the EU make.

1. Performing “inspections” without a process

Without a proper framework, a racking “inspection” is really just someone looking at a racking system and scratching their head. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, there’s absolutely no use in staring at a pallet rack and expecting to find something. As such, it should come as no surprise that a kind of ad hoc process like this doesn’t stand up in a court of law as an inspection. The tragic case of Ciaran Williamson is evidence of this.

The boy was crushed to death by a headstone which fell onto him. When probed about safety inspections, the council stated that they had performed them on the gravestones. However, HSE argued that the council’s “ad hoc inspections” didn’t classify as proper inspections because there was no system in place.

This same line of logic can be applied to racking inspection legislation. If your inspection system doesn’t include some kind of racking inspection checklist or isn’t backed up by racking inspection training, do your staff even know what to look for? How can you tell what they have looked for? And what actions will be taken if they find something?

Section five of PUWER 1998 insists on a log for maintenance inspections, and this is expanded upon in HSE’s HSG76 and the EU’s EN 15635. Both recommend using a traffic light system to keep track of racking inspections. A green light means that the system is fine, an amber light means that the system is damaged enough that it needs to be offloaded and repaired as soon as possible within the next four weeks, and a red light means the system needs to be offloaded and repaired immediately.

Our racking inspection training combined with our racking inspection checklist helps employees and employers to implement a racking inspection process with a traffic light system.

2. Misunderstanding “once every 12 months”

It’s extremely common to come across a business which has never had a racking inspection. Either there is no system in place, the system in place is not followed, or the business didn’t properly understand what their duties were. Businesses with a basic understanding of racking inspection frequency might insist on the odd inspection.

However, HSE’s recommendation that there should be an inspection once “every 12 months”. It’s a good rule to follow (as it helps to give a definitive answer to what a “suitable interval” is according to PUWER 1998), but it is not the same as once a year. The former would suggest that an inspection in January 2017 followed by an inspection in December 2018 is perfectly acceptable. Yet, while that is still technically “once a year” it’s not “once every 12 months”, as the two inspections are separated by nearly 24 months.

3. Ignoring “exceptional circumstances”

“Once every 12 months” and “at suitable intervals” can be easy enough to follow, but the biggest mistake people make is ignoring the caveat in PUWER 1998 which states that work equipment should also be inspected if “exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred”.

In other words, has something changed about your rack system that could make it less safe? In even simpler terms, is it damaged? If you’re not sure, it’s best to err on the side of an inspection as the law refers to something being “liable” to cause danger. The mere act of it worrying you means it’s liable.

To make sure that you don’t violate racking inspection legislation, contact SEE today for racking inspection training, a SEMA approved racking inspection or a FREE racking inspection checklist.

SEMA Racking Safety: 3 Things End Users of Racking Must Know

SEMA racking filled with pallets

To end users of storage equipment, racking safety can get very confusing, and the aim of SEMA racking safety is to clear that confusion up.

If you own a business with a storage system or warehouse of some kind, you’ve probably heard of SEMA or SEMA Racking Codes of Practice. You might also think that the acronyms and regulations which HSE and SEMA refer to when talking about racking safety are complicated and contradictory.

So, to simplify and summarise SEMA racking safety, here are the three things which you must know.

1. SEMA Knows More About Racking Safety Than HSE, HSA, or the EU

This seems like a strange thing to say. After all, HSE is the official public safety organisation of the UK government and HSA is the official public safety organisation of the Irish government. What’s more, the safety regulations of both the UK and Ireland should also be superseded by those of the EU.

The pecking order is obvious. Laws are made by the EU, the UK follows EU laws as an EU member (at least for now), and SEMA follows UK laws as a British organisation. While this is how it should work in theory, it’s not necessarily how it works in practice.

The reason for this is that organisations like HSE and the EU often defer to experts on specific topics, and racking safety is a very specific topic. As such, SEMA racking safety has become standard not just across the UK, but across the entire EU.

An example of this is the SEMA Load Notices Code 2004. It was used to develop EN 15635, a European Standard adopted by all EU countries. In turn, HSE’s HSG76 bears a lot of similarities with EN 15635, which makes sense, as the UK also adopts European Standards.

What’s more, HSG76 also refers to SEMA directly throughout the guide. HSG76 gives general advice, but it defers to SEMA on specific issues.

Taken together, all of this makes it clear why SEMA racking safety is the standard for racking safety across the UK and the EU. This would explain why there are SEMA approved racking inspectors working across the EU, as well as across the UK.

2. SEMA Racking Safety Is Internationally Respected

Because of the influence HSE has had — and continues to have — on the EU, it’s not surprising to discover that there are SEMA racking safety inspectors in Poland, Ireland, Finland and Spain. However, it might come as a surprise to some end users to discover that there are SEMA racking safety inspectors working in the UAE, Pakistan, China, and Singapore.

One possible reason for this is because of the way in which global standards organisations are connected. The European Standards Organisation — which is related to the EU but not necessarily a part of it — is the body which adopted the SEMA Load Notices Code 2004 to develop EN 15635.

Because of Europe’s importance for global trade, this EN standard would then have likely influenced other standards organisations across the world. It’s likely for this reason that Australia and Canada’s advice on rack safety is so similar to Europe’s and SEMA’s.

SEMA racking safety is a standard recognised across the world. In part, the European Standards Organisation’s influence helps with this, but it also speaks volumes for how timeless and universal SEMA’s advice on rack safety is.

3. SEMA Racking Safety Is Not The Law

Considering how influential SEMA racking safety has been across the world, it seems odd that SEMA Codes of Practice are not legally binding in the UK or anywhere. Yet, this is exactly the case — and it’s all to do with the onus of responsibility.

In short, it is not the job of the British government — or representatives of the British government — to regularly inspect warehouses for safety. HSE only tends to get involved in cases where a breach of safety will likely to lead to a fine. These are the sort of horror stories which make headlines, but it’s not how the bulk of warehouse safety inspection is carried out.

Rather, HSE defers to “expert” rack safety inspectors. It uses SEMA as an example of an expert body which qualifies expert inspectors, but it doesn’t insist that warehouse owners use SARIs. In HSE’s own words, they are “free to take other action”.

If safety standards were to slip in your warehouse and HSE were to inspect it, the first question asked would be: what have you done to ensure the safety of your employees and other people who have been in this warehouse? If you follow HSE’s advice by adopting the SEMA racking safety practices which HSE refers to, you will “normally be doing enough to comply with the law”.

If you took “other action”, the onus of the responsibility is on you, as the employer, to prove that this “other action” is enough. According to the CDM Regulations 2015, you will also need to prove that your workforce is “competent”. SEMA qualifications are the best way of doing this, but they are not the only way.

It’s for this reason that many people choose to follow SEMA racking safety anyway, even though they are “free to take other action”.

To book your annual SEMA racking safety inspection, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for a FREE consultation.

SEMA Racking Inspection Guidelines: How Often Should a SARI Visit?

A racking inspection being carried out following SEMA racking inspection guidelines

SEMA racking inspection guidelines are simple, but they are still not understood by everyone

Starting a new business is hard. To go from that initial rush of excitement on an idle Monday morning when your idea first struck you — and you scribbled it on the nearest scrap of paper you could find — to a venture which actually creates enough profit for you to live comfortably is a long and difficult journey.

As such, it’s hardly surprising that not every business person knows the ins and outs of every guideline they need to follow. Along with everything else a first-time entrepreneur needs to learn, SEMA racking inspection guidelines can sometimes take a back seat. They shouldn’t, of course, because following them is the best way of making sure that you are following the law.

Inspections from SARIs (SEMA approved racking inspectors) are recommended by both SEMA racking inspection guidelines and HSE’s HSG76. SARIs are expert rack safety inspectors with a background in engineering, who have attended SEMA’s intensive SEMA approved inspectors qualification course. SARIs also need to attend regular top-up seminars and courses to make sure that their knowledge is cutting edge.

Because the demands of being a SARI are so high, there are only 100 of them working in the UK as of March 2018. The high standard of the SEMA-approved inspector’s course and the SARIs it produces is why both SEMA and HSE recommend inspections from them.

But, how often do these inspections need to be?

How Often Should a SARI Visit According to SEMA Racking Inspection Guidelines?

At least once every 12 months. There are other factors which will mean you will need more regular inspections, but SEMA racking inspection guidelines require that you have an inspection from a SARI at least once every 12 months.

Side Note: SEMA Racking Inspection Guidelines Are Not the Law

SEMA racking inspection guidelines often come in the form of Codes of Practice. While these have helped to inspire HSE regulations, EU Standards and some pieces of UK legislation, they are not the law in and of themselves.

Rather, in HSG76, HSE often refers to SEMA racking inspection guidelines as examples of best practice. So, while SEMA racking inspection guidelines have the official backing of the UK government, that’s not the same as the law. In HSE’s own words, people are “free to take other action”. SEMA racking inspection guidelines are the best way of doing things, but they are not the only way.

A key example of this is with how often a SARI should visit. HSE recommends an “expert” inspection once every 12 months and it says that SARIs are expert inspectors. However, you are “free to take other action”.

Should a SARI Visit More Than Once Every 12 Months?

According to both SEMA racking inspection guidelines and HSE guidelines, there are instances when a SARI should visit more than once in a 12-month period. According to the Provision and Use of Working Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, if work equipment has been damaged, moved, recently installed, recently reinstalled, or if anything has happened to it which might affect its performance, it needs to be inspected.

Racking systems count as work equipment. So, in order to follow PUWER 1998 and SEMA racking inspection guidelines, you should book an immediate inspection from a SARI if your racking has been damaged, moved, recently installed, recently reinstalled, or if anything has happened to it which might affect its performance. If in doubt, the best thing to do is to talk to a SARI to see if you should book an inspection.

To talk the SARI at Storage Equipment Experts, contact us today. We offer a FREE consultation and can tell you in a matter of minutes whether or not your racking system needs a SEMA-approved racking inspection.

Where to Find a Storage Rack Safety Inspection Checklist

Storage rack safety inspection checklist

If you’re looking for a storage rack safety inspection checklist, look no further

A storage rack safety inspection checklist is a great way to help you or your staff members perform the regular rack inspections which HSE and SEMA recommend. You can download a FREE storage rack safety inspection checklist from Storage Equipment Experts right here:

If you’re wondering what you might need a storage rack inspection checklist for and how to use it, here’s how it works.

Storage Rack Safety Inspection Checklists Should Only Be Used by People Who Have Received Rack Safety Inspection Training

Checklists are a great way of helping people to make sure that their inspections are thorough and accurate, but they need to be used in conjunction with rack safety inspection training. We do not recommend that untrained people use our rack safety inspection checklist to perform inspections.

The reason for this is that untrained staff members will not know what to look for on the checklist. The checklist makes what needs to be inspected clear and easy to understand, but this is only the case if the person using the checklist is trained. Without the training, people won’t know what to look for. This is why workplace training is so important.

What Does a Storage Rack Safety Inspection Checklist Include?

The storage rack safety inspection checklists we provide contain a list of the different parts of a racking system in a graph. This allows you to record if and when each part was inspected and whether any further action was needed after inspection of that part. The checklist mirrors the traffic light system outlined in HSE’s HSG76.

Green means that the part is perfectly fine and no further action is needed at this time.

Amber means that the part is faulty or damaged in some way and this means that the system needs to be offloaded as soon as possible within the next four weeks so that a repair can be performed.

Red means that the part is faulty or damaged to such a degree that the system needs to be immediately offloaded and repaired.

Even a Properly Used Storage Rack Safety Inspection Checklist is not Enough on its Own

As well as regular inspections from trained staff using a rack safety inspection checklist with the traffic light system recommended by HSE’s HSG76, a storage system needs an inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector (SARI) at least once every 12 months. If you do this, you will be following HSE’s advice on rack safety inspection to the letter and will “usually be doing enough to comply with the law”.

What’s more, according to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998, there are instances where you may need further inspections — such as when your storage equipment has been moved or damaged.

HSE and SEMA’s attitude to rack safety inspections can seem overwhelming. Inspections are recommended by both experts and staff members and both the frequency and the thoroughness of these inspections needs to be guaranteed by several different checks and balances.

Yet, all of this is done in the name of safety — and it’s working. Since HSE’s inception in 1974, workplace fatalities have fallen by 85% and workplace injuries have fallen by 79%. This sort of success should not be overlooked, especially when people complain of an overreaching health and safety culture.

More needs to be done to reduce workplace fatalities further, and it starts by maintaining the standards we already have through using things like storage rack safety inspection checklists.

To make sure that your staff receives the rack safety inspection training they need to properly use our storage rack safety inspection checklists, contact SEE today for a FREE consultation on your next rack inspection training session.

Why You’ll Need a SEMA Racking Inspection Course in 2018

SEMA racking inspection course 2018

2018 is a year which promises a lot, so be sure to be prepared when it comes to racking safety

If you’re a small business owner in charge of a storage system, 2018 is the perfect year to make sure that you and your staff are prepared with regards to racking safety. There are many ways to do this — and a SEMA racking inspection course is one of those ways.

Of course, not all SEMA racking inspection courses are the same, so there are other reasons why you might need a SEMA racking inspection course this year.

Three Reasons to Get a SEMA Racking Inspection Course in 2018…

1. You Want to Become a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector (SARI)

Becoming a SARI is a big commitment, and the first part of that commitment is taking the SEMA Approved Inspector Qualification. So, if you want to start work as a SARI in 2018, this is the SEMA racking inspection course you’ll need to take.

However, not just anyone is able to take the course. Would-be SARIs need to complete a pre-course assessment to see if they are able to train to be a SARI. Most who wind up being SARIs have a background in engineering or something similar. The pre-course assessment is designed to separate the people who are sincerely ready for the commitment and the people who are not.

After the pre-course qualifier comes the course itself. This is an intensive three-day course with a very high rate of failure. It’s why there are only 109 SARIs as of 2018. The reason for this is to ensure the best possible standards. After the course, SARIs need to commit to continuous development by attending courses and top-up seminars when needed. Not doing so means that someone could lose their status as a SARI.

If that level of commitment sounds right for you, 2018 could be the year you take a SEMA racking inspection course and become a SARI.

2. You Are an End User Who Wants to Learn More about Racking Safety

There are a variety of reasons why the end users of a racking system would want to learn more about racking safety or would want their staff to learn more about racking safety. Some are looking to adhere to the law, some are looking to improve employee engagement, and some are just interested.

The CDM Regulations mean that the idea of “competence” is more important than ever. In short, if you own a warehouse, it is your legal responsibility to make sure that the staff working in it are competent. What’s more, HSE’s HSG76 stresses that “technically competent” staff perform an internal, staff-led racking inspection regularly. This is alongside the annual inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

Both the CDM Regulations and HSE’s HSG76 are a reason that you might want you and your staff to attend a racking inspection course. Doing so will likely ensure that you and your staff are competent both in the eyes of HSE and the CDM Regulations.

3. You Are an End User Concerned About Brexit

With the lack of knowledge surrounding Brexit, investing in you and your staff’s knowledge and overall engagement with a racking inspection course is a great response. Moreover, without the EU’s influence, British safety organisations such as SEMA may become much more influential players in terms of racking safety legislation post-Brexit.

Put all that together and end users have a pretty compelling reason to learn more about SEMA’s take on racking safety with a SEMA racking inspection course in 2018. As well as SEMA’s course for would-be SARIs, SEMA also offers a rack safety awareness course aimed at end users.

Alternatively, you could take our racking inspection course. Delivered by a SEMA approved racking inspector, the racking inspection course at Storage Equipment Experts can be delivered at our training centre in London or at your workplace anywhere in the UK or Ireland. This is unlike the SEMA course, which can only be delivered at its training centre.

During our course, our SEMA approved racking inspector will tell you everything you need to know about SEMA’s approach to racking safety, as well as all of the relevant British and Irish legislation which affects racking safety.

To book a racking inspection course led by a SEMA approved racking inspector, contact us today for a FREE consultation.

Become a SARI & 4 Other Benefits of SEMA Racking Inspection Training

SEMA racking inspection training

SEMA racking inspection training is the industry standard for rack safety

SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) racking inspection training has many benefits. One particular SEMA racking inspection course, for example, is the best way for anyone with a background in engineering to become an “expert” third-party racking inspector in the eyes of HSE (Health and Safety Executive). This particular course (the SEMA approved racking inspectors scheme) is the one which HSE references directly in HSG76 and — as such — it’s often seen as the industry standard.

However, the benefits of SEMA racking inspection training go beyond adhering to HSE’s recommendations…

1. SEMA Racking Inspection Training Creates SARIs

The most obvious benefit of taking SEMA racking inspection training is that you become a SEMA approved racking inspector (SARI). Though, not all SEMA racking inspection training qualifies people to become SARIs.

Other courses — such as the SEMA Cantilever Racking Awareness Course — is designed for SARIs who want to improve their knowledge of cantilever racking safety. Taking this course doesn’t make you a SARI, but it makes you a better SARI. That’s why our SEMA approved racking inspectors are some of the only SARIs in the world to be SEMA approved pallet racking inspectors and a SEMA approved cantilever racking inspectors.

2. SEMA Racking Inspection Training Creates Trainers…

For end users of racking — such as business owners and their employees — the SEMA racking inspection training courses designed for SARIs are not useful. It is for this reason that we developed our racking inspection training course. This course is delivered by our highly qualified SARI.

We can do our racking inspection training at our London training or at your workplace. Whatever option best suits your business’ needs, we can deliver.

3. …Which Creates More Potential Trainers

The beauty of knowledge is how it can spread. As such, once someone has taken one of our racking inspection training courses, that person likely qualifies as “technically competent” in the eyes of HSG76 and the CDM Regulations 2015.

This person should be your business’ Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS). Their job should be to perform the regular internal racking inspections which HSG76 recommends are performed by someone “technically competent”.

This person can then help to train others on matters of racking safety as well through basic demonstrations. While this is no substitute for a racking inspection training course, it’s helpful to have as many people as possible in your company who are familiar with racking safety.

4. SEMA Racking Inspection Training Saves Taxpayers’ Money

Without getting too tangled in the weeds about politics and the decisions of politicians, it is a fact that HSE funding has been decreasing under both the coalition and the Conservative governments. Some see this decrease as a good thing. Others see this decrease as a bad thing.

Regardless of your opinion, it is also a fact that SEMA racking inspection training courses are a way to cut down on government spending. In the past, HSE was the organisation responsible for interceding in the operation of many businesses across the UK.

With less money to spend, HSE now focuses on being the voice of health and safety instead. It helped to create public safety legislation and it also creates guidance documents which explain this legislation in layman’s terms. Organisations like SEMA are private organisations that act as a liaison between HSE and end users. As HSE spending goes down, SEMA’s role grows in importance.

5. SEMA Racking Inspection Training Makes Britain and Ireland Safer

SEMA racking inspection training may only play a small part in the safety of the UK, but it still plays its part. As part of the EU, yearly inspections from an “expert” racking inspector in Ireland are also recommended under EN 15635. What’s more, HSA specifically refers to HSE’s HSG76 — which recommends yearly inspections from an “expert” racking inspector and identifies SEMA approved racking inspectors as “experts”.

Over the past few years, workplace fatalities and injuries have both been on a general downward trend in the UK. This can’t be pinned down to one phenomenon, but SARIs and safety inspectors of all kinds have certainly contributed greatly to this.

For racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector — either at your workplace or at our training centre in London — contact SEE today for a FREE consultation.