Racking Inspection Frequency & Cemetery Inspections: What Does “Inspection” Mean Legally?

Racking Inspection Frequency & Cemetery Inspections

Racking Inspection Frequency & Cemetery Inspections: What Does “Inspection” Mean Legally?

With so much health and safety law dependent on inspections, defining it legally can literally be a matter of life and death.
An enormous part of warehouse safety is racking inspection frequency, which HSE spells out in HSG76 — Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety. In the guide, HSE recommends a SEMA racking inspection at least once a year. It also recommends racking inspection training so that staff can inspect a warehouse’s storage systems on a more regular basis, using a racking inspection checklist.

While all of this sounds very clear, the tragic death of Ciaran Williamson shows how one person’s definition of “inspection” can differ from another’s with terrible consequences.

“Ad Hoc Inspections” Vs. The Legal Requirement for Inspections

The sad incident occurred at a cemetery in Glasgow. While playing with his friends, a loose headstone collapsed and killed the eight-year-old Ciaran Williamson on 26th May 2015. Following his death, questions were raised about how this could have happened.

Unlike with warehouses, HSE does not spell out exactly how cemeteries should be inspected or who they should be inspected by. In fact, there is some discrepancy about the issue. This is made clear in a 2012 briefing from Parliament about unsafe headstones in cemeteries.

an excert

From this extract, it becomes clear that public opinion on who should inspect cemeteries, or whether they should be inspected at all, differs by quite some margin. However, because this is a council by council issue, public opinion is often swayed towards inspections in the face of tragedy. This is likely why, after the death of Ciaran Williamson, local councils across the whole of Scotland ended up inspecting 30,000 headstones.

The lack of clarity about who and when cemeteries should be inspected was exposed during the November 2016 trial regarding the tragedy on 26th May 2015. Mr Brown, representing Glasgow city council, was accused of misleading HSE with his definition of “inspection”.

While he claimed that the cemetery had been inspected, he conceded that it was done on an “ad hoc” basis, that there was no record, and that inspections were “a fairly unplanned activity”, despite previously telling HSE that there was a “formal process of inspection”.

Is There Any Legal Guidance on Cemetery Inspections?

Though HSE doesn’t have much to say about cemetery inspections specifically, the Local Authorities’ Cemeteries Order 1977 makes it clear that local councils are the ones responsible for maintaining safe cemeteries. In this piece of government legislation, the extent of the council’s right to maintain cemeteries is laid out in a fair amount of detail. Despite a 2004 case from a grave owner questioning local councils’ right to maintain cemeteries, the court upheld the right of all councils to do so by referring to this 1977 piece of legislation.

In 2009, probably in an attempt to make the legal situation clearer, the Ministry of Justice released its guidance on cemetery maintenance. The guidance expresses in more explicit detail councils’ right to maintain cemeteries for safety purposes. With regards to inspections, though the Ministry of Justice does recommend inspections are done as part of a regular process and that there is a record of inspections, it does not say much about what an inspection should consist of, who should perform one, or how often one should happen.

This vaguery is likely intended so that councils can make their own judgement about how best to inspect a cemetery. Much of the public’s negative attitude and concern about cemetery inspection may stem from the respect that people have of cemeteries. However, as is clear with the sad case of Ciaran Williamson, the public are also concerned about safety and aware of the dangers of uninspected cemeteries.

The problem with this vagueness is that it allows for council workers such as Mr Brown to carry on performing “ad hoc” inspections for years without anyone noticing.

Racking Inspection Frequency and Legal Requirements

All of this contrasts sharply with the recommended racking inspection frequency and legal requirements for racking inspections. As mentioned earlier, HSG76 from HSE recommends an inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector at least once a year. They label this as an “expert” inspection. HSE also recommends racking inspections from staff using a traffic light system. They label these as “regular” inspections.

The definition of an inspection depends on the industry, as well as the government legislation and guidance surrounding it. An inspection for a cemetery simply needs to be recorded, performed regularly and done with respect for the grave owners — whereas an inspection for a warehouse is either “regular” (i.e. performed by a member of staff under HSG76 guidelines) or “expert” (i.e. performed by a SEMA approved racking inspector in accordance with SEMA guideline no. 6 – guide to the conduct of pallet racking and shelving surveys).

For an expert racking inspection, or to help your staff to perform regular racking inspections, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for racking inspection training and racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

Racking Inspectors UK: Everything You Need to Know

2 racking inspectors in the uk looking at a clipboard

Racking inspectors in the UK come in many different forms. So we wanted to break it all down for you.

Racking inspection regulations in the UK are broken down pretty clearly by HSE. However, despite this, it’s easy to be confused. Storage Equipment Experts are among the best racking inspectors in the UK. In fact, we like to think we’re the best. Still, don’t just take our word for it; read our testimonials on our pallet racking inspection training and SEMA approved rack inspections.

All of which makes us best qualified to explain what a racking inspector in the UK is, what they should be, and what they should not be.

Bad Racking Inspectors in the UK: Unqualified and Unreviewed

The government reviewed its CDM regulations in order to simplify things for both racking inspectors in the UK and those who need to use the services offered by racking inspectors. At this point, the regulations are still quite young and the jury is still out on whether or not they have improved racking inspection regulations.

The old regulations allowed for the proliferation of card schemes and people calling themselves “racking inspection experts”. The new regulations mean it is up to the “client”, the person ultimately responsible for the safety of people in a given space — whether that’s a building site, a workplace, or a film-set — to decide who qualifies as a racking inspection expert.

On the upside, this simplifies things. In one fell swoop, it put an end to the legitimacy of many of these card schemes. On the downside, though, this now allows for anyone to call themselves a “racking inspection expert” — card or no card, scheme or no scheme, qualification or no qualification. So how can you sort the wheat from the chaff?

For a start, a bad racking inspector in the UK will not have the glowing reviews that we at Storage Equipment Experts do. Still, there’s more to it than that.

Good Racking Inspectors in the UK Have Passed the SEMA Approved Racking Inspector Course

While HSE still leaves the ultimate decision up to the client, the exact wording used in its guide to warehouse safety is important. It states that “expert” racking inspections need to be performed once a year by an outside party. It then cites SEMA approved racking inspectors (SARIs) as an example of this sort of “expert”.

HSE racking inspections” do not exist. Rather, HSE cites one — and only one — example of a racking inspection “expert”: a SEMA approved racking inspector. Beyond that, it is up for the “client” to decide who they want inspecting their racking.

The Best Racking Inspectors in the UK? Look no Further…

With over 100 qualified SEMA approved racking inspectors in the UK, it can be hard to decide who to choose. Still, there are many, many reasons why you should choose Storage Equipment Experts:

  • We offer racking inspections by SEMA approved inspectors and racking inspection training delivered by a SEMA approved racking inspector.
  • Our SEMA approved racking inspector is one of only 34 people who has also passed SEMA cantilever racking inspection training.
  • Our SEMA approved racking inspector is the only one in the London area, is willing to travel all over the UK, and can to do so easily because of London’s unrivaled transport links to the rest of the country.
  • We have designed the most authoritative SEMA racking inspection checklist in the UK.
  • We have glowing reviews from the Tate Modern, Dunlop, and Dairy Crest (the parent company of Clover, Countrylife Butter, and Cathedral City Cheese).

Now that you know why we’re the best racking inspectors in the UK, be sure to get in touch for your annual racking inspection by a SEMA approved inspector or for racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector!

The G20 and Warehouse Racking Inspections: Warehouse Safety’s Role in Global Trade

Global Racking inspections

Many things will be discussed at 2016’s G20 summit, and this includes warehouse racking inspections.

This year’s G20 summit is special for many reasons. It will be the first G20 summit to take place in China, the first G20 summit for Prime Minister Theresa May, and the last G20 summit for President Barack Obama. With so much going on, it’s perhaps hard to imagine that the twenty most powerful people in the world will be discussing warehouse racking inspections. And yet there’s strong evidence to suggest that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

The UK’s Record on Workplace Safety and What it Means for the G20.

The UK can proudly state that it has a lower workplace fatality rate than any EU country. It can also state that it has been steadily decreasing workplace fatalities since 1997, though critics would rightly point out workplace fatality and injury rates have plateaued since the Conservatives took power in 2009. Voted in on a manifesto which openly admitted to cuts to public spending, the Conservative government have done just that with regards to HSE, which could in turn explain the plateauing of workplace fatalities and injuries.

The UK’s enviable track record on supply chain safety can be explained by HSE’s rigorous attitude towards warehouse safety and warehouse racking inspections. Without an annual warehouse racking inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector, as per HSE’s advice, it is very likely that the British supply chain would not be as safe as it is.

All of this has a big impact on supply chain safety — an important part of trade — and will therefore be extremely relevant at the G20 when the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, begins trade talks with China and the US. With the UK leaving the EU, and with May herself outright stating that “Brexit means Brexit”, the UK will need to increase its trade relationships with its biggest importers outside the EU. Even the most ardent Brexit supporter will have to admit this will come with some challenges considering that, before the vote, seven of the ten biggest importers of British goods were all EU countries.

Outside the EU, the UK’s biggest trade partners are the US, who make up 11% of all overseas British trade, and China who make up 5.7%. Eurosceptics have reason to believe that this figure is likely to increase due to something called the “Rotterdam effect”, where UK goods that are exported to EU countries are then exported again overseas. Outside the EU, Eurosceptics would argue that the UK can cut out the middle-man, so to speak. Moreover, British trade with the EU has been steadily decreasing since 2009, as British trade with the rest of the world has been increasing. If this trend continues, the UK’s position in global trade will become stronger, not weaker, as a result of Brexit. At the G20, the world will see whether or not this is the case.

Warehouse Racking Inspections in China? A Cause for Concern.

However, by the far the biggest issue with regards to the UK trading with China is not the UK’s attitude towards warehouse racking inspections and supply safety, but China’s. Last year, two deadly warehouse explosions in Tianjin killed 173 people and raised major concerns about the country’s warehouse safety standards and workplace safety standards in general.

The tragedy would not be so bad were it a one off, but this is sadly not the case. Even China’s state-owned and heavily-censored newspaper, China Daily, admitted that workplace fatalities and accidents in 2015 were “too high”. With the death toll at 68,061 for the year 2015, “too high” might be something of an understatement.

To put it another way: in the US, less than 13 people die in accidents at work everyday. In China, this figure is 186. Even when you account for the difference in the population of the US and the population of China, the workplace fatality rate in China is still four times higher than in the US.

So should the UK seek to increase trade with a country where workplace fatalities are so high? One the one hand, the UK might want to steer clear of Chinese businesses. This is especially true considering the nuclear espionage charge hanging over the Chinese government-affiliated business with a one-third stake in building the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear power station.

On the other hand, the UK should not be put off with trading with a government that represents a sixth of the world’s population. China doesn’t have the best record with regards to workplace safety, but things are improving and the government certainly seems committed to increasing safety in its supply chain.

In fact, trading with the UK might well encourage China to change its approach to warehouse safety and warehouse racking inspections. After all, safe businesses make more money, and the Chinese government must be aware that making its businesses safer will be better for the country’s economy in the long term. Perhaps the G20 will inspire China to adopt the UK’s system of yearly warehouse racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

Whatever the result of the G20 summit, we at Storage Equipment Experts will play our role in the UK’s continued high-standards of workplace safety. We will do so by continuing to deliver the best warehouse racking inspections in the UK!

The UK, HSE, The EU, and Racking Inspections: The Pros and Cons of Brexit in an Infographic

two road signs pointing in opposite directions, one saying Brexit and the other European Union

Racking inspections in the UK and HSE’s attitude towards racking inspections are subject to change now that the UK is leaving the EU. But is this a good thing or a bad thing?

The costs of Brexit are a matter of debate, and this is just as true for racking inspections and HSE. In our infographic, we present the facts. However, what you take away from the facts are a matter of opinion and personal decision making.

For example, the UK joined the EU in 1973. Just one year later, in 1974, HSE was formed. Since 1974, workplace fatalities have fallen by 86 per cent and workplace injuries have fallen by 77 per cent. Those are the facts, but people’s interpretations of those facts may vary wildly.

On the one hand…

Some might say that the EU and HSE’s relationship have been integral in reducing workplace fatalities. Moreover, if the UK had not joined the EU, they would have had no reason to create HSE. The dramatic fall in deaths and fatalities in British workplaces is almost entirely related to our EU membership and, outside of the EU, those fatalities and injuries are likely to increase.

The EU has been instrumental in holding British governments to account with regards to workplace safety. Outside the EU, the HSE will have less influence. In fact, outside the EU, there is nothing stopping the British government from drastically reducing the influence, and therefore the effectiveness, of HSE.

On the other hand…

Correlation is not causation. There is no data to suggest that, without the EU, HSE would have been less effective. In fact, you could just as easily argue that, without the EU, HSE would have been more effective. It would have had more control over the way it makes health and safety laws and, as a result, it would have been better at creating and implementing those laws.

What’s more, there is no reason to suspect that HSE was formed because the UK joined the EU. Most people, including HSE themselves, point to the Flixborough warehouse tragedy as the real reason behind the formation of HSE. The EU had nothing to do with it. The British government has no reason to negatively change the way HSE operates when it continues to do such a great job year after year.

What Will Brexit Mean for Racking Inspections and Warehouse Safety in the UK?

We don’t know what exactly is going to happen to HSE and workplace safety as a result of Brexit, but we do have a better idea of what will happen to racking inspections and warehouse safety. Being intimately involved with the changes in the racking safety and warehousing industry over the years, we can say with confidence that SEMA will continue to big a part of HSE’s future. What is more, we at Storage Equipment Experts will continue to deliver high-quality racking inspections, racking inspection training, and warehouse racking inspection checklists to businesses across the UK.

However, what is less certain is what will happen to HSE and workplace safety in general. As we explained earlier, the situation is not black and white. So, with our infographic, we’ve attempted to present the facts as they are and look at both sides of Brexit: the pros and the cons.

Brexit Pros and Cons for racking inspections UK Infographics by Storage Equipment Experts

What Will Brexit Mean for HSE’s Stance on Racking Inspections?

HSE may change as a result of Brexit, but HSE’s stance on racking inspections is unlikely to change much — if at all. The EU was once part of HSE and SEMA’s relationship, but HSE and SEMA’s relationship has never depended on the EU.

For Britain to continue to be a major economic player on the world stage, our high racking inspection standards, and health and safety standards in general, will need to be maintained. Whatever happens as a result of Brexit, Storage Equipment Experts will continue to do our best to make sure that our racking inspection services remain as good as they have always been across the whole of the UK.

Times change, but the racking inspection services at Storage Equipment Experts will remain of the highest quality. Contact us today for a quote on your next racking inspection by a SEMA Approved inspector.

The Difference Between Racking Inspectors in the UK and Abroad

Racking Inspectors uk

In the UK, HSE are the government board responsible for health and safety at work, and they recommend that a SEMA approved racking inspector visit a warehouse for an expert inspection at least once a year. However, this idea is not a given. Overseas, racking inspectors and the racking inspection industry can range from quite different to completely unrecognisable.

Racking Inspectors, Racking Inspections and Racking Safety in the USA

Oscar Wilde once quipped that “we really have everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.” Well over a century later, this aphorism still holds true… to a certain extent.

OSHA is the US’s federal bureaucracy in charge of workplace safety. As a result, OSHA  resembles HSE in several ways. The two bodies differ when it comes to the issue of racking safety. While HSE has a pretty clear definition of what racking safety involves, OSHA does not. This has led people like business journalist Travis Rhoden to criticise OSHA for their lack of clarity.

In OSHA’s 2002 document Materials Handling and Storing, racking inspections are not mentioned once. Inspections are referred to in general, with OSHA recommending that regular warehouse

inspections be conducted by staff, but racking inspections specifically are not mentioned. Because of OSHA’s vagueness, Rhoden recommends that businesses make sure their racking is inspected and their staff know how to do racking inspections as well.

When writing for American publications, we have always recommended expert racking inspections and racking inspection training. The laws may be different, but the standards should remain the same.

Racking Inspectors, Racking Inspections and Racking Safety in Australia

The Australian government’s racking safety regulations can vary by state, but it is Victoria’s racking safety regulations that are most similar to the UK. Work Safe Victoria, the state’s department of health and safety, recommend pallet racking inspections once every six to twelve months. Much like HSE, inspections from a “technically competent” person are recommended. They also use a traffic light system for internal inspections.

Racking Inspectors, Racking Inspections and Racking Safety in Canada

Similar to Australia, racking inspection regulations in Canada can vary by province. In Ontario, warehouse safety inspections are carried out by the Ministry of Labour who expect that warehouse staff are trained enough to carry out daily racking inspections. This system emphasises the need for pallet racking inspection training for staff In the UK,

HSE also recommends that staff carry out internal inspections. It does not specify the regularity of these inspections, but if your staff receive pallet racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector then daily racking inspections can easily be done.

In many English-speaking countries, racking inspectors and racking inspections are still a big part of warehouse safety. Racking safety transcends political and cultural boundaries, and the reason for this is that it’s the right thing to do.

Contact Storage Equipment Experts today for pallet racking inspections and pallet racking inspection training from the UK racking inspection experts who know that safety is safety, no matter where you are!

Damage Isn’t Always Obvious: 4 Reasons We Need Racking Inspection Experts

Racking Inspection Experts UK

When most people think of warehouse dangers or damage to racking systems, they think of sensationalised stories or videos where racking system failures lead to disasters that are so extreme they are almost farcical.

However, with most cases, racking system damage is not as obvious as this. In many cases racking system damage is subtle, and that’s why we need racking inspection experts.

We Need Racking Inspection Experts Because Signs of Damage Differ From Brand to Brand

At Storage Equipment Experts, we are more than happy to inspect a wide variety of racking systems. Not all racking systems are the same, and the subtle differences between different racking systems are vitally important when it comes to inspection. What might seem normal for a Dexion storage system may be completely abnormal for a Mecalux storage system.

We Need Racking Inspection Experts Because Damage Can be Different by Pallet Racking Type

Even within a given brand, pallet racking types can still vary. This is why we have developed a pallet racking identifier to help businesses with their internal racking inspections.

Internal racking inspections are something which HSE state should be carried out by staff on a regular basis, alongside racking inspections from a racking inspection expert at least once a year. Our SEMA approved racking inspectors serve warehouses across the country, ensuring that any UK business can receive an annual, expert racking inspection. As for the internal inspections, this is why we provide pallet racking inspection training, a racking inspection checklist and a pallet racking identifier.

This identifier helps you to compare what your pallet racking should look like with what it does look like. Of course, there are bound to be some differences, but how much difference is safe? And what exactly constitutes damage with regards to each pallet racking system?

When the answer is not obvious, that’s when we need racking inspection experts. They dedicate their lives to knowing the answers to these questions. SEMA approved inspectors spend years studying what safe pallet racking is and what it is not, regardless of type, brand, or any other variation.

We Need Racking Inspection Experts Because Damage Sometimes Requires Maths to Spot

If a bend in your racking system is easily visible, then anyone can tell you that you have a problem. The reason we need racking inspection expert is because not all bends are obvious. Sometimes noticing a bend requires some expert know-how. SEMA approved inspectors have specific calculations in mind when they are figuring out whether a given piece of storage equipment is indeed bent and what the best course of action should be as a result.

We Need Racking Inspection Experts Because Damage is not Solved Easily

SEMA approved inspectors are racking inspection experts whose role is not just to tell you that you have a problem. Rather, racking inspection experts are there to help you solve your storage system problems. This is why we provide rack inspection training for businesses across the UK to help you to spot damaged racking earlier. The earlier the damage is spotted, the easier it is to fix. This law holds true in many walks of life, including racking system safety.

Damage isn’t always obvious. There is a whole spectrum of damage between safety and disaster. Before this particular warehouse found themselves in a situation where they called the ambulance 76 times over a two year period, there would have been many other warning signs. Racking inspection experts are there to spot warning signs as early as possible.

Concerned about your pallet racking system? Contact Storage Equipment Experts, the racking inspection experts who are SEMA approved in the UK.

The Sturdy Relationship Between Racking Inspections And HSE

Racking inspections

HSE and the racking inspections industry are two major players in the world of warehouse safety, and their strong relationship is based on a common goal: safer warehouses across the UK. The HSE and racking inspection experts have often worked together to achieve this goal, and here are just some examples of when they have…

HSE recommends pallet racking inspections from SEMA approved racking inspectors

HSE recommends that relevant businesses have an “expert” pallet racking inspection at least once every 12 months. They state that the person tasked with carrying out the inspection should be “technically competent” and cite SEMA approved inspectors as an example of this kind of competence.

They go on to state that businesses should conduct internal pallet racking inspections using a traffic light system: red is an immediate emergency, amber is a situation that requires attention as soon as possible, and green means that the system only requires regular attention. This traffic light racking inspection system is designed so that all staff members have the same idea about what constitutes safe racking and what does not.

Of course, the best way to ensure that your staff are up for the job of using this system to perform racking inspections is to book a place on one our rack inspection training courses and/or use our racking inspection checklist. The rack inspection training course is delivered by a SEMA approved racking inspector and the checklist has been designed by a SEMA approved rack inspector.

Both are specifically designed to be an introduction to racking inspections for people who want to abide by HSE regulation with regular staff-led racking inspections alongside side regular visits from an expert, a SEMA approved racking inspector.

HSE respect the racking inspection industry’s opinion

At June 2015’s SEMA Seminar, Matt Grierson confirmed that HSE agreed to legally enforce SEMA’s ‘Guide to Method Statements’ if SEMA could turn it into a formal Code of Practice. Whether or not this actually ends up happening is still a big maybe. Grierson admitted that getting the relevant experts needed to write the code has proven tricky.

Still, the fact that HSE respects SEMA enough to turn something they have written into law is evidence of their respect for the racking inspection industry. The expert judgement of SEMA approved inspectors has not gone unnoticed by HSE, and it is this expectation that keeps the quality of our racking inspections by SEMA Approved inspectors and our racking inspection training so high.

HSE are present at the big racking inspection events

September 2015’s SEMA Safety Conference was a big day for the racking inspection industry, and so it should come as no surprise that HSE were well represented at the event. Of particular note was Rob Shaw, who delivered an in-depth talk about how slips, trips, and falls can be reduced in the warehouse, something which he has written a lot about for HSE and HSL.

Shaw’s expertise was well received, and his dedication to reducing accidents in warehouses echoed the general theme of the event.

SEMA approved inspectors are proud of what they know, but they also recognise that they are a cog in a much larger machine. Warehouse safety is a large industry made of many different people in many different fields trying to bend the arc of history towards safety.

For that to happen, the racking inspection industry needs the support, knowledge, and respect of HSE. We are happy to say that we have all three of those things, and we give those things back to HSE in return. The relationship between HSE and racking inspections will mean only good things for the future of racking inspections and the future of warehouse safety.

Contact Storage Equipment Experts for the “expert” and “technically competent” racking inspections by SEMA approved inspectors and racking inspection training that HSE recommend.

Start 2016 with Racking Inspections And Training from SEMA Approved Inspectors

Racking inspection training UK

If there’s one New Year’s Resolution that warehouse owners should stick to, it’s making sure that their pallet racking inspections systems are as safe as possible. January is a great month to make sure your business has a post-Christmas visit by a SEMA approved racking inspector.

Racking safety and the Christmas gone by

The stress of Christmas may be over, but your pallet racking systems will have taken quite a lot of stress this holiday season too. The festive months of November and December are usually the busiest for commerce and for businesses in general. This extra business is great news for sales, but it can be bad news for racking safety if you ignore your warehouse’s needs. Now that your warehouse is quieter, it’s the perfect time to assess your storage systems with a pallet racking inspection.

Racking Safety and the Science of Temperature

The science of cold weather can be fun for those who are interested in the magic it can do, but this same science also means that the cold can have a negative effect on the metal in your warehouse. Metal contracts in the cold and expands in the heat.

This expansion and contraction, across your whole warehouse during the cold months of January, can mean that your racking is under stress even if it is being used with the utmost care. If your staff have racking inspection training, then they can check on the effects of this. Still, if you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to call a SEMA approved racking inspector.

A New Year, a New Start…

Make 2016 the year that you nip safety issues in the bud. HSE recommend a traffic light system for the racking inspections: green means okay, amber requires attention, and red requires immediate attention. This year, keep all your racking green and make your warehouse a zero accident workplace. Motivation in business is a big thing when it comes to sales and marketing but It is not utilise in workplace safety. At Storage Equipment Experts, we believe in motivating staff for safety. The start of a new year, and the extra push of racking inspection training, is a great way to achieve this motivation.

Begin this new year with a newfound knowledge of pallet racking safety. Contact SEMA Racking Inspections today for a pallet racking inspection and racking inspection training from the UK’s best SEMA approved racking inspector.

Top 5 Reasons Why HSE Recommend Racking Inspections by SEMA Approved Inspectors

Racking Inspection

It is well known that HSE advises all warehouses have a racking inspection by a SEMA Approved inspector at least once a year, but why is this? There may be other health and safety organisation out there, but here are five reasons why SEMA is the number one when it comes to racking inspections.

1) SEMA’s Philosophy is About Safety Perfection

When Matt Grierson became the president of SEMA, he said that “the safety job’s not done until the industry becomes a zero-accident place to work”. This uncompromising attitude towards achieving the highest safety standards is the cornerstone of SEMA’s philosophy. However, SEMA don’t just talk about safety; they make it happen…

2) SEMA Deliver Results When it Comes to Safety

SEMA was founded in 1970, four years before the government introduced its Health and Safety at Work Act. Since then, HSE and SEMA have worked together to reduce deaths and injuries in the workplace. Between 1974 and 2014, fatal injuries in the British workplace fell by 87%. Between 1974 and 2012, non fatal injuries in the British workplace fell by 77%. Together, HSE and SEMA have helped to make racking systems, and the British workplace in general, much safer.

3) SEMA Have Developed Long Standing Relationships

The British safety industry’s faith in SEMA, when it comes to racking inspection or otherwise, may be why they are the only UK member of FEM (the European Federation of Materials Handling). From this, it is clear that both the British workforce and HSE trust SEMA with racking inspections and warehouse safety both at home and abroad. Added to this, SEMA are also affiliate with organisations like Dexion and the BMHF (the British Materials Handling Federation).

4) SEMA are Always on the Front Line of Racking Safety

SEMA are a big presence when it comes to safety. They take their message directly to the warehousing, distribution, and logistics industry with articles for Warehouse News on racking inspections and racking safety. SEMA are also keen to deliver seminars and training programs and this leads us to the fifth reason the HSE recommend racking inspections by SEMA approved inspectors…

5) SEMA Look to the Future of Racking Safety

In their June 2015 seminar, SEMA outlined their plans for the next 12 months: addressing the environment, developing their relationship with HSE, and creating digital versions of codes. Not long after that, SEMA ran a cantilever training course in July where they also talked about the future. And in November 2015, SEMA will hold their annual safety conference where they will, once again, make plans for the months and years ahead.

With their lengthy relationships with other prestigious British safety institutions, SEMA demonstrate a respect for racking safety’s past. Through their articles for leading safety publications, they demonstrate an understanding of racking safety’s present. And with their seminars and conferences, SEMA demonstrate bold plans for the future of racking safety. So it is no wonder that HSE recommend racking inspections by SEMA approved inspectors.

Contact SEMA Racking Inspections to ensure that your racking is inspection by the only SARI in the London area!

Safe Use and Careful Maintenance of Warehouse Racking Systems


Warehouse racking systems is one of the most space-efficient forms of storage there is, capable of holding tonnes of goods in a minimal footprint. But the combination of vertically stacked heavy loads and fast-moving workplace transport (commonly forklifts) around these stacks brings its own set of risks.

Minimising these risks involves concentrating on the following three areas:

  • ensuring racking is built, loaded and, if necessary, modified in line with manufacturers’ guidelines
  • encouraging safe behaviour among employees loading and unloading or working around racking
  • monitoring any damage to racking frames and ensuring repairs don’t compromise their strength.

Shelf life

Racking systems should be installed by competent assemblers in line with the codes published by the of the storage trade body, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (SEMA) (www.sema.org.uk).

Manufacturers are required to provide safe loading data for all racking systems. For new installations, SEMA members will supply load data notices for you to display at the end of each run of racking, stating the maximum loading weights for bays and individual beams and the height of the first beam level.

All beams should have safety locks fitted. These low-cost components are designed to prevent the beam being raised accidentally when the pallet below is lifted, potentially dislodging two or three 1000kg pallets, bringing them down on the driver and anyone else below.

Any changes to beam levels need to be made with careful reference back to the manufacturer or supplier – get their confirmation, in writing, that the racking has the capacity to cope with the configuration you want. As Figure 1 (see over) shows, raising a lower beam by a few centimetres affects the loading capacity of the whole frame.

Set and enforce adequate handling clearances between pallet loads and the racking frame around them. SEMA specifies a minimum clearance of 75mm between the top of the load and the beam above and on each side. These are absolute minima and the more clearance you can allow, the safer your operation. Too little clearance above a load makes it difficult to remove the load without hitting the beam above. Above all, pallet loads should not be stored hard up against frames; this risks damaging the frame uprights and bracing members.

Good Housekeeping

As noted already, the combination of slim frames and constant movement of heavily weighted vehicles (4.5-tonne forklifts, for instance) around and between them in warehouses and depots means that it is wishful thinking to expect that racking will not sustain knocks at some point. Your aim should be to keep those knocks to a minimum and to be aware of every one the system takes.

Strictly enforced rules on safe driving, speed limits, observing floor markings – all the standard features of a workplace transport policy – are the starting point. Left to their own devices, lift-truck drivers may assume there is enough of a safety margin left in the construction of good racking to allow for limited damage. This safety factor may well exist, but you must not let employees take it for granted. Part of their job descriptions should be to work in a way that avoids damage to the frames while loading or unloading or simply working near the racking.
Removable column guards or guard-rails are options to prevent lift trucks getting too close to the racking structure. Corner uprights are especially exposed and worth protecting and/or painting a bright colour to make them highly visible.

All workers should be trained to keep aisles between racking free of anything that might obstruct vehicles. Pallet loads or debris will reduce the clearance for drivers, making it more likely they will collide with the surrounding frames. Good housekeeping will not only help avoid slips and trips but also contribute to vehicle safety. In a recent incident, a wire-guided forklift was deflected by some shrink-wrap packaging left on a warehouse floor which broke the wire contact, causing the truck to career into nearby racking.

Any combination of alterations, damage and misaligned loading can compromise the frame structure to the point of collapse, even when it is not overloaded. You need to monitor and assess any damage to the racking structure, and this means anyone working around the racking needs to understand the importance of reporting any damage, whether it is the driver who clips the frame turning at the end of a bay or the depot manager noting a beam deflection during a stock-check.

Your racking should be inspected at least annually by a SEMA-approved rack inspector. Ideally you should contract an independent inspector without ties to a supplier/repairer then act quickly to fix any defects they report.
It’s not just the condition of the racking that needs monitoring. The state of the pallets placed on the racks can also affect overall stability and safety, so these need watching too. You should have a system of reporting damaged pallets so they can be removed and returned to the pool for repair or disposal.

Under Repair

Where monitoring or an independent inspection throws up damage to uprights or beams that could compromise safety, the bay should be offloaded and employees warned not to use it until remedial repair work is completed. The usual course is to replace damaged sections with like-for-like components. Splicing new sections into damaged areas or welding in “foreign” sections into existing racking is not an adequate form of repair. Check that anyone working on your racking can prove their competence with a SEIRS card that shows they have been through SEMA’s Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme, which is supported by the HSE.

Racking is literally part of the furniture in warehouses and depots, but that does not mean you can afford to take it for granted in your health and safety assessments.