What Are SEMA Racking Inspection Guidelines?

SEMA racking inspection guidelines

SEMA racking inspection guidelines are the gold standard of the racking safety industry.

Without SEMA racking inspection guidelines, guaranteeing the safety of any warehouse would be impossible. The advice laid down by SEMA is often echoed by HSE and — in some cases — it becomes law. So, what are the SEMA racking inspection guidelines?

SEMA Racking Inspection Guidelines: SEMA Codes of Practice

However, most SEMA racking inspection guidelines come in the form of SEMA Codes of Practice. These can be downloaded from the SEMA website for a fee, so it’s worth knowing which codes of practice you will need — if any at all!

The best way to do that is to read through HSE’s HSG76 Warehouse and storage: A guide to health and safety. HSE is the British government branch responsible for occupational health and safety. As such, theirs is the first and final word on any issue relating to warehouse safety.

In cases where this general guide on warehouse safety lacks details, it often refers to specific SEMA Codes of Practice. Using HSG76, you can then figure out which SEMA Code of Practice HSE is referring to specifically and search that particular code of SEMA racking inspection guidelines.

SEMA Racking Inspection Guidelines: Technical Bulletins

As well as SEMA Codes of Practice, SEMA also releases technical bulletins which act as supplements, updates, clarifications, or corrections. These bulletins are not mentioned in HSG76, but they contain some good advice nonetheless. What’s more, considering SEMA’s position in the industry, it’s advice worth following. SEMA’s full list of technical bulletins can found on its website.

SEMA Racking Inspection Guidelines: Training Courses

Designed for end users of storage systems and racking inspection professionals, SEMA offers a wide range of training courses. All of these contain various racking inspection guidelines from SEMA — as well as racking maintenance and racking installation guidelines.

This training is referenced by HSE in HSG76, so you know that the guidelines from this training are authoritative. Specifically, the guide refers to the Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme (SEIRS) and the SEMA Approved Racking Inspector (SARI) scheme.

SEMA Load Notices Become UK and EU Legislation

In one instance, SEMA guidelines became UK and EU law because of SEMA’s authority. This was the case with load notices.

SEMA created the first load notices back in the 1980s with the first SEMA Code of Practice for Use of Static Pallet Racking. However, because of the EU’s Directive 92/58/EEC, the legal requirements for signage in the UK would change in 1996 with the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.

Due to this, SEMA had to change its advice on load notices accordingly. Then, SEMA updated its stance on load notices again with the SEMA Load Notices Code 2004. The EU then developed EN 15635. This was inspired by the SEMA Load Notices Code 2004.

In short, the EU influenced SEMA’s stance on load notices and — in turn — SEMA influenced the EU’s stance on load notices. This relationship goes to show how important SEMA racking inspection guidelines are. Even though they are not the law, they can help to create the law in the long run and they are often referenced by lawmakers such as HSE and the EU.

If you want to learn more about the SEMA racking inspection guidelines from the SARI scheme, contact Storage Equipment Experts for racking inspection training from a SARI.

Who Performs Rack Inspections at Santa’s Warehouse?

Rack Inspections at Santa’s Warehouse

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

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

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

How Does Santa Do It? Making the Numbers Work?

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

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

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

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

Rack Inspections Aren’t Done By Magic

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

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

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

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

Who Performs Rack Inspections at Santa’s Warehouse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Racking Inspection Legislation Change in 2018?

Racking Inspection Legislation

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

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

What Is Racking Inspection Legislation?

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

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

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

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

Examples of Racking Inspection Legislation

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

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

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

So, Could Racking Inspection Legislation Change in 2018?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Things to Ask Before Choosing a Racking Inspector

Racking Inspector

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Racking inspections - inspector performing audit

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

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

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

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

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

1. Racking Inspections Are Important

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

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

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

2. The Future of Racking Inspections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Dispelling Health & Safety Myths Is Vital

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

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

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

Simplifying the SEMA Racking Code of Practice: Technical Bulletin No. 1

Damaged racking equipment and unsafe use of racking are the causes of many headaches. In severe cases, it can even be the cause of fatality. While identifying damage is much easier when staff have undergone racking inspection training, choosing the right remedial action can be tricky. Many companies offer repairs that supposedly improve upon the structural integrity of racking equipment, but their methods are often at odds with the SEMA Racking Code of Practice.

For the convenience of all warehouse operators, we’ve created an infographic guide to the SEMA Technical Bulletin No.

1. In it, we take a look at what the organisation advises when it comes to types of racking repairs, some general rules of thumb and a handy traffic light system for classifying damaged racking.

SEMA Racking code of practice: technical bulletin #1 | Storage Equipment Experts

What SEMA Thinks of Different Repair Methods

The myriad of types of repair methods can lead to some confusion, so it’s helpful to see what the SEMA Racking Code of Practice advises in each case. Here’s what the SEMA Technical Bulletin No. 1 recommends:

  • Repairs involving welding are to be avoided in all cases. SEMA does not mince its words here. The sole guidance it provides in relation to welding is as follows: “Such repairs are not recommended.”
  • Repairs to secondary members, such as frame bracings, should be carried out in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines. They should also be covered by the repair company’s warranty and a quality assurance procedure must be put in place.
  • For repairs involving main structural members, specifically racking uprights, the information is much the same as in the previous point. However, this repair should not involve the bending of uprights back into shape. Damaged areas of upright should be cut out and new areas spliced in.

Repairs should also be highlighted during racking inspections. Whilst some warehouses may require more frequent inspections, HSE’s HSG76 recommends a racking inspection frequency of once per year as a bare minimum. These inspections should be interspersed with regular checks from employees who have undergone racking inspection training, in order to keep an eye on racking safety in between expert inspections.

SEMA Racking Code of Practice: The Rule of Thumb for Repairs

While you could spend years studying the various pieces of racking legislation, SEMA Technical Bulletin No. 1 provides a couple of quick rules of thumb. Firstly, it strongly recommends replacing damaged components “like-for-like”. Scrimping on replacement parts may not only void your product warranty, but it may also endanger warehouse staff.

SEMA’s Racking Code of Practice also generally advises against carrying out repairs of damaged components. This doesn’t mean you should replace an entire racking system if become damaged; affected components should be spliced and replaced, rather than being bent back into shape or welded. According to SEMA, any repair that involves the bending of damaged uprights should be avoided.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that SEMA’s advice on repair is backed up by the law. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 emphasises the importance of repairing and inspecting work equipment, such as racking, whenever damage is suspected.

The HSE Traffic Light System

To assist with the troubleshooting of damaged racking equipment. HSE recommends a traffic light classification system which can be used alongside the SEMA Racking Code of Practice. Damage is ranked green, amber, or red depending on its severity, and appropriate actions are suggested for each category.

Green represents damage which does not require remedial work, but which should be monitored at the next racking inspection.

Amber refers to damage which should be remedied, but which is not so severe as to require immediate offloading. However, once loads are removed from this racking, the equipment should not be reloaded until remedial works have taken place. Racking with amber risk category damage should be considered red risk if remedial work has not been carried out within four weeks of first noting the damage.

Red represents severe damage and racking should be immediately offloaded. The normal course of action in this case would be to replace the damaged components with like-for-like parts. Racking with red risk category damage should be isolated to prevent inadvertent use and further risk to warehouse staff.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we know the SEMA Racking Code of Practice inside out. For racking inspection training from SEMA approved racking inspectors, get in touch today.

Pallet Racking Inspection Training and Work At Height

a man looking up at a tall warehouse racking

Pallet racking inspection training is one of the many safety procedures warehouse owners should follow. Working at height safety is another.

When working at height, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and the potential dangers around you. One such danger might be that you ignore racking safety, so it’s important to consider the two safety disciplines together.

In order to do that, though, the definition of terms is vital.

Pallet Racking Safety Is…

Pallet racking safety refers to any kind of procedure designed to make pallet racking — and its use — safer. In the UK, the official safety procedures most relevant to pallet racking come from HSE and SEMA. These safety procedures include pallet racking inspection training, among other things. Pallet racking inspection training and pallet racking inspections in Ireland are not directly recommended by HSA, but there is an informal recommendation.

Work At Height Safety Is…

According to HSE’s HSG76, “work in any place, including above or below ground level, where someone could fall and injure themselves” counts as work at height. In the UK, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 outlines in full an employer’s legal responsibility when asking their staff to work at height. This includes, for example, making sure that people using a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) are either trained themselves or are supervised by a trained person.

Considering Pallet Racking Safety & Work at Height Safety Together

Pallet racking inspection training covers a whole range of procedures for ensuring pallet racking safety through inspections. However, inevitably, the course cannot cover everything. If it did, then HSE would not also recommend annual racking inspections from an expert (such as a SEMA approved racking inspector).

While you should always bear the whole warehouse in mind when thinking about safety, it’s often difficult to consider pallet racking safety and work at height safety at the same time. There are only a handful of specific situations when the two kinds of safety do need to be considered together, though it’s still important to be prepared for said situations.

It’s because of all of this that we have prepared a cheat sheet for the situations when racking safety and work at height safety should be considered together and what you should do in those situations.

#SituationRacking Safety ConsiderationsWork At Height Safety Considerations
1Items falling from rackingItems should be stored properly. While this often means not overloading a racking system, it also means making sure that things are stacked properly and are placed securely. To make sure this happens, always follow the manufacturer’s advice and follow the guidelines for storage set out in the Storage systems chapter of HSG76.The Work at Height Regulations 2005 spells this out as law:

Every employer shall, where necessary to prevent injury to any person, take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the fall of any material or object.”
This section of the law goes on to explain what employers are legally obliged to do to prevent injury from falling objects.
2Climbing on racking which is not designed for climbingIn short, don’t do it.

However, if someone does climb on it (even though they definitely shouldn’t have) the person responsible for racking safety (PRRS) should immediately check for damage.

If there is any visible damage, immediately offload the system and book a racking inspection from a SEMA approved inspector.
Once again, don’t do it.
3Climbing on racking which is designed for climbingUnless it is specifically designed for the purpose of being climbed on, you shouldn’t climb on racking. Even if the racking system is designed to be climbed on, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instruction and don’t add too much weight to the system.
If the system appears damaged after it’s been used, immediately offload the system and book a racking inspection from a SEMA approved inspector.
If racking is designed for climbing, follow the same advice for working on a ladder. Keep three points of contact, don’t overstretch, etc.
Even if racking is specifically designed for the express purpose of being climbed on, do not climb from an elevated working platform into a racking system.

If you want a better understanding of rack safety, Storage Equipment Experts.
Pallet racking inspection training course will outline all the information and procedures that HSE recommends.

Racking Inspection Frequency & Seasonal Temperature Changes

Seasonal Temperature Changes

As winter turns to spring, the change in weather can play havoc on your warehouse, HSE’s stance on racking inspection frequency is that all warehouses need an “expert” racking inspection, such as a SEMA racking inspection, at least once a year. However, should you have any issues with your racking whatsoever, you should also be sure that it receives an “expert” racking inspection as soon as possible.

That responsibility is outlined in regulation 6 of The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Here, it is specified that employers should have their “working equipment”, in this case, a racking system, inspected by an expert in the following instances:

  • After an installation
  • After an assembly at a new site or location
  • At suitable intervals
  • Each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred

Those last two points highlight why a racking inspection in the spring is so important.

Effect of Seasonal Temperature Changes on Storage Systems

The extreme cold of a large warehouse in the winter can make all metals, even steel, significantly weaker and more brittle. This is unfortunate for racking systems because it is during the winter months when racking systems are most under strain, as businesses try to capitalise on the extra business that Christmas typically brings in.

As a result, after months of enduring cold temperatures and storing excess Christmas stock, most racking systems are already in need of a racking inspection. Then, the warm weather of spring comes and makes things worse. This is because of thermal shock. You’ve likely seen this phenomenon before in reverse, as in from hot to cold, but the principle is the same.

You take a glass out of your dishwasher immediately after the wash has finished. The glass is piping hot, but it’s also a hot day and you want an ice cold drink. So you chuck some ice cubes into the glass, fill the glass up with water from the fridge and what happens?

In many cases, nothing. You enjoy a nice glass of cold water none the wiser. However, in many other cases, the glass can suddenly break due to the thermal shock of going from very hot to very cold. The extremity of the shock depends on the speed of the temperature change, as well as the amount of change in temperature. Not all glasses will smash, but the continued thermal shock has the potential to significantly weaken materials in a way which is invisible to the naked eye.

For this and many other reasons, racking systems does not make of glass. Moreover, the good news is that steel, which most racking systems are made of, is a very strong material. As a result, it is the least affected by thermal shock. That said, it is still affected. Over the course of several years, the thermal shock of British weather can take its toll on a racking system and, as spring approaches, a racking inspection is a vital part of checking for this phenomenon.

What is the Ideal Racking Inspection Frequency?

HSE recommends “expert” racking inspections at least once a year — and the “at least” is vital to understand there. The thermal shock of seasonal temperature change is enough of a reason to increase your racking inspection frequency to at least twice a year: once in spring to check that the wear and tear of Christmas and the thermal shock of spring hasn’t damaged your racking system too much; then once in autumn to check that the thermal shock of the oncoming winter hasn’t damaged your racking in time for another busy Christmas period.

In fact, autumn and winter are particularly important times to check for thermal shock because of the UK’s peculiar and unpredictable weather patterns. In 2016, a freakishly warm “Indian summer” was immediately follow by one of the coldest winters on record.

Of course, depending on your warehouse and the amount you use it, you could consider increasing your racking inspection frequency to four or more times a year. The “at least” from HSE is intentionally vague. As the owner of a warehouse racking system, the CDM regulations mean that you are ultimately responsible for the safety of your system. So, if you’re ever unsure, don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you want to increase your racking inspection frequency, contact Storage Equipment Experts to set up biannual, triannual or last-minute.
Racking inspections from SEMA approved racking inspector who is willing to travel to any business in the UK or Ireland.

Does HSA Recommend SEMA Racking Inspections?

SEMA Approved Racking Inspections

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.

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 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.

Racking Inspection Services & Other Tips for Workplace Safety in 2017

A red stamp saying stay safe

2017 has well and truly begun, so here are some top safety tips for this year.

Each new year brings its own set of challenges, and each new challenge brings its own set of dangers. That’s why we here at Storage Equipment Experts are here to give our top safety tips for the year ahead. Alongside our well-reviewed racking inspection services (which include racking inspection training and racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector), there are a couple of other handy tips that we’d like to give out.

We do this because we’re passionate about safety, because we’re passionate about what we do, and because we’re passionate about businesses having a safe 2017.

Write a Health and Safety Policy for Your New Business

A new year might mean a new business venture, but as journalist David Wolinsky discovered, many new businesses don’t even realise that their startup needs a health and safety policy. When a business is small and just getting off the ground, it can be tough to consider the many, many things you need to do. However, this does not get easier. Doing many, many things is what running a company is all about: it’s called business.

With any joy, your business will grow. However, as things get faster and busier, accidents are more likely to happen. That’s why writing a health and safety policy in those early stages is vital. Writing it later on, means that you’re not only running counter to HSE’s advice, but it also means you’ll be trying to implement a health and safety policy in a business where everybody already has a set way of doing things.

By introducing your health and safety policy first, and by making it one of the first things you do in your startup, you are laying a safe foundation for all work performed afterwards. You won’t need to worry about trying to make an unsafe way of doing things safer. Instead, your way of doing things will be safe from the ground up.

Don’t Get Complacent

2016 may have been a great year for your business, and congratulations if it was. However, 2017 is not the year to get complacent. It’s never been the year to get complacent and it never will be, because complacency is what kills businesses.

Nowhere is this truer than with safety. When a business relaxes its attitude towards health and safety, that’s when accidents happen. Rather than using the successes of the last year as an excuse to relax, use them as a motivation to keep pushing forward. Last year was successful because of high standards and a relentless attitude towards improving health and safety. If this year is going to be the same, then relaxing is not the way to go.

Racking Inspection Services from Storage Equipment Experts

We offer three different kinds of racking inspection services, all of which are designed to help businesses to be safer and better.

A FREE Racking Inspection Checklist

Our racking inspection checklist remains an extremely popular racking inspection service and that’s probably because it’s so reasonably priced at £0.00. Yes, it’s free! It was written by our SEMA approved racking inspector and systematically lists which parts of a pallet rack need to be inspected. However, before using our racking inspection checklist, we recommend our pallet racking inspection training (which is run by a SEMA approved racking inspector).

Pallet Racking Inspection Training

While pallet racking inspection training is not a legal requirement (for using our checklist or for inspecting racking), we do recommend it. This is because HSE states that the regular staff inspections should be performed by someone who is “technically competent”. We believe that the best way to ensure this kind of competence is through training from a certified expert — and HSE labels SEMA approved racking inspectors as “experts”.

Racking Inspections by SEMA Approved Inspectors

Performed by the best SEMA approved racking inspector (SARI) in the country and one of the only SARIs to have also passed SEMA’s cantilever racking course, our SARI delivers racking inspections to anywhere in the UK. From our base in London, we at Storage Equipment Experts are well connected to the rest of the country. Remember that HSE also recommends a racking inspection by a SEMA approved inspector at least once a year. So what better way to get 2017 off to a good start than with a visit from us?

Contact Storage Equipment Experts today for the best racking inspection services in the UK!