What Is SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association)?

forktrucks in a warehouse SEMA

Health and safety is full of acronyms as SEMA, so let’s explain what one of those acronyms means.

So, What is SEMA?

SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association) is a private organisation which helps to advise HSE, the EU, and the general public about storage equipment safety. It does this through training courses and Code of Practice documents on the installation, use, inspection and disassembly of storage equipment. Some of this advice has become legal practice, but most of the advice remains best practice.

And What is SEMA’s role?

SEMA is the voice of the storage equipment industry in the sense that it talks to the British government on the behalf of the whole industry. When the government makes laws which affect the storage equipment industry, they turn to SEMA to get the industry’s opinion. Equally, if the industry feels that the government can do something for the industry, it is SEMA’s aim and its duty to talk to the government on behalf of the industry in order to do this.

What is SEMA’s History?

Since its formation, SEMA has been providing advice on best practice for people in the storage equipment industry. Since then, it’s reached many milestones on the way. One of these is th SEMA Code of Practice: a series of documents which has been helping the industry since the 1980s. This series of documents — which has been updated throughout the years — explains what end users of racking systems should do in a whole variety of situations.

Another milestone for SEMA was when the SEMA Code of Practice’s stance on load notices helped to shape European and British law in 2004. How this happened all started back in the ‘90s. After EC Directive 92/58/EEC was announced by the EU in June 1992, the UK introduced the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations in 1996. These regulations meant that there was now a legal requirement for how load notices should be.

SEMA modified its Code of Practice in accordance with this legislation. It then updated its stance on load notices again in 2004 with the SEMA Load Notices Code 2004. In 2008, EN 15635 was developed by the EU and it was based on the SEMA Load Notices Code 2004. EN 15635 is a standard which has influenced not just British law, but law across the EU. All of this shows how powerful SEMA’s influence can be.

What is a SEMA Approved Installation Company?

Another milestone in SEMA’s history is the development of training and registration schemes for the storage equipment industry in order to improve standards. There is the Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme (SEIRS), which helps end users to make sure that person installing their storage equipment is qualified.

There are also SEMA Approved Installation Companies (SAICs), which help end users to make sure that the company installing their storage equipment is qualified. Their are even SEMA Distribution Companies (SDCs), which help end users to make that the company they are buying their racking system from is qualified.

What Is a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector?

Finally, when your racking is installed and you are using it day to day, you will need to make sure that a qualified person can inspect your system at least once every 12 months — as recommended by HSE. This is why SEMA developed its SEMA Approved Racking Inspector (SARI) scheme.

In order to become a SARI, you need to have enough of a background in engineering or health and safety to complete a pre-course qualifier. After that, you need to complete an intense training course, pass a final exam and continue to attend top-up sessions and seminars to make sure that your knowledge of the storage equipment industry is up to date.

The failure rate for SARI examinations is high and it’s also high for another one of SEMA’s training courses: the SEMA Cantilever Rack Safety Awareness course. Cantilever racking is a specialist type of racking system. As such, only 42 SARIs in the world are also qualified by SEMA’s to inspect cantilever racking. Our SARI at Storage Equipment Experts is part of this exclusive club.

For rack inspection training or a rack inspection from a SARI who is qualified by SEMA to inspect both pallet racking and cantilever racking, contact Storage Equipment Experts today.

What is a “SEMA Approved Racking Inspector”?

SEMA approved racking inspector

Since 2004, SEMA has been running courses for people wanting to become SEMA approved racking inspector (SARIs). A lot has changed in 13 years, but SEMA’s standards remain the same.

A SEMA approved racking inspector (also known as a SEMA approved inspector or SARI) is a person who has completed one of SEMA’s specialised training courses on racking inspections.

What’s the Difference Between SEMA Racking Inspection Courses and Your Racking Inspection Training Course?

SEMA racking inspection courses (also known as SEMA approved racking inspection courses) are specifically designed for future SEMA approved racking inspectors. According to HSE, people who pass that course are able to deliver “expert” third-party racking inspections for businesses. HSE recommends “expert” inspections such as these at least once a year.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 also recommends that further inspections are needed if work equipment (which includes all racking systems) is damaged in any way. This is why HSE recommends racking inspections from a SEMA approved inspector at least once a year.

There are two kinds of SEMA racking inspection courses: an adjustable pallet racking inspector course and a cantilever racking inspector course. Be sure to ask your SEMA approved inspector which course they have completed.

The course we deliver at Storage Equipment Experts is a racking inspection training course delivered by a SEMA approved racking inspector. This course will make your staff competent enough to deliver the regular staff-led racking inspections which HSE recommends once a week or so, not the expert inspections which it also recommends once a year.

As per the new CDM Regulations, it is your duty as an employer and warehouse owner to make sure that your staff are competent enough to perform any task in your warehouse — including regular staff-led racking inspections. This is why we offer our course.

While the racking inspection training course which we offer is by no means simple, passing the SEMA course to become a SEMA approved inspector is much more difficult. As previously mentioned, inspections from SEMA approved racking inspectors are recommended by HSE and the reason for this is SEMA’s rigid standards.

How Do You Become a SEMA Approved Inspector? Attend the SEMA Approved Racking Inspector Course

Before a person can even begin training for their SEMA approved inspector qualification, they need to complete an initial assessment as a pre-course qualifier. Only when this has been completed can they move on to the next stage, which requires candidates to “complete a specially designed intensive course, written examination and practical assessment”.

The intensive course lasts three days and the practical assessment is observed by people who expect excellent inspection technique, accurate damage assessment and concise reporting. Due to SEMA’s standards, the failure rate for this examination is high and as of 2017, there are only 107 registered SEMA approved racking inspectors in the world.

And we do mean “in the world”. The SEMA approved racking inspection course has a reputation across the globe. That’s why there are SEMA approved racking inspectors in Ireland, Spain, Poland, Finland, the UAE, Singapore, and China.

Most people who gain their SEMA approved inspector qualification are listed as an “adjustable pallet racking inspector” by SEMA. This is because most storage systems are some kind of pallet racking system — but not all of them.

Cantilever racking is becoming a more and more popular form of warehouse storage. As it is so different from pallet racking, SEMA offers a separate extension course on cantilever racking. Only 36 SEMA approved inspectors in the world are qualified SEMA approved pallet racking inspectors and SEMA approved cantilever racking inspectors.

One of those 36 SEMA approved inspectors works right here at Storage Equipment Experts.

How Do You Remain a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector? Remain Committed to Racking Safety

Being a SEMA approved racking inspector is an “ongoing commitment”. SEMA approved racking inspectors are expected to maintain their standards and their knowledge. To do this, SEMA approved inspectors need to be sure they are inspecting racking on a regular basis. Moreover, they should be attending SEMA meetings and seminars, completing any extra relevant courses available and imparting their knowledge to others.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we believe in all of these things. Our belief in imparting knowledge is why we have written articles for a wide variety of publications (both national and international), as well as this blog. We do this to ensure that we impart as much of our knowledge as possible to the warehousing, logistics and construction community. Knowledge is power — and we are firm believers in giving others that power, too.

What Kind of Person is a SEMA Approved Inspector?

As well as a competent pallet racking inspector, a SARI needs certain character traits. At the SEMA meeting on 17th September 2015, Mike Pace outlined the traits of a SEMA approved racking inspector. They have “sound observational skills”, “a robust understanding” and “a keen eye for detail”. Added to this, a SEMA approved racking inspector has “the ability to assimilate technical information” and the ability “to communicate findings clearly and concisely”.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we are proud to have the best SEMA approved racking inspectors in the UK and Ireland. Contact us today!

How do HSE’s New CDM Regulations Affect You?

HSE’s New CDM Regulations UK

On the 17th September 2015, Tony Mitchell from HSE came to speak with SEMA about the new CDM regulations. These new regulations replace the old 2007 regulations which Mitchell conceded were “too complicated”. The idea of simplifying and streamlining the CDM regulations means that responsibilities have shifted and definitions have changed. So how does this affect SEMA approved racking inspectors and others involved in the warehousing industry?

Client Responsibility

In the old 2007 CDM regulations, responsibility for safety was shared between HSE middle management and the person in charge of a project. However, the biggest change to the CDM regulations was the clarification of who a “client” was and their role. Essentially, anybody who now starts a building project is a client and the client is responsible for all safety on site. Putting the onus of responsibility on clients removes the need for a large number of middle managers within HSE. This stripping back of HSE personnel falls in line with the HSE’s promise to reduce spending and reduce overall regulations. However, whether or not this will benefit for the construction industry remains to be seen, and HSE are always eager for feedback on how this affects your business.

SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors and Defining “Competence”

In the HSE’s Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety, they state that any person involved in any work in your warehouse needs to be “competent”. Moreover, they also state that a “technically competent” person should perform a racking inspection at least once every 12 months. HSE recommend SEMA approved racking inspectors calling them “expert inspectors”. From this, it is clear that HSE regard SEMA approved racking inspectors as “technically competent”. By contrast, Mitchell argued at the SEMA seminar that a key problem with the 2007 CDM regulations was that competence was not as clearly defined. He claims that this gave rise to over 300 card schemes and a lot of confusion. In the new CDM regulations, judging the competence of the workforce is now entirely the client’s responsibility.

With that in mind, SEMA’s role is more important than ever. Ensuring that your staff receive racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector is a perfect way to guarantee their competence in the workplace.

Make sure that your warehouse is a technically competent workplace. Contact us for the UK’s best racking inspection training program delivered by the best SEMA approved racking inspector in the South East.