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 the 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!

5 Things a SEMA Approved Inspector Can Do in The UK & Ireland

A SEMA approved inspector pointing to warehouse racking

SEMA approved inspectors can offer many different services vital to warehouse safety across the UK and Ireland.

A SEMA approved inspector is anyone who has received an approved inspector qualification from SEMA. In HSE’s eyes, SEMA approved inspectors are racking safety experts. HSA in Ireland also references the same HSE guide which labels SEMA approved inspectors as racking safety experts in its guide to warehouse safety. As such, there are many things that SEMA approved inspectors, as racking safety experts, can do in the UK and Ireland.

1. Racking Inspection by a SEMA Approved Inspector

First and foremost, the most important service that a SEMA approved inspector can provide is a racking inspection by a SEMA approved inspector. HSE recommends racking inspections from SEMA approved inspectors at least once a year and, as previously mentioned, HSA Ireland references this HSE guide in its advice on warehouse safety.

Both countries are also, as of 2017, subject to EU law, which also recommends annual inspections from an outside expert at least once a year. SEMA approved inspectors definitely qualify as experts.

2. Racking Inspection Training from a SEMA Approved Inspector

Alongside annual inspections from an outside expert, the EU also recommends regular inspections from a technically competent staff member. This same sort of recommendation is echo in Canada and Australia, too.

Precisely how you can make sure your staff are competent enough to inspect your racking on a regular basis is left up to the employer. In the UK, the CDM Regulations spell out that this decision is entirely the “client’s” (the employer, warehouse owner, or racking system user).

SEMA approved inspectors can offer a vital service here. By providing staff with racking inspection training, you can be confident that they are technically competent enough to perform this sort of regular racking inspection.

3. Write a Racking Inspection Checklist

For your staff to perform these inspections, they will need some sort of checklist alongside their training to make sure that they don’t miss anything out in their inspections.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we offer racking inspection checklists for FREE! You can download them from our website for no charge whatsoever. Our guide was written by a SEMA approved inspector, so that’s one more important service which SEMA approved inspectors are able to provide.

4. Write a Blog On Racking Safety

This blog is a kind of free service, too. Written by a SEMA approved inspector, the Storage Equipment Experts blog features free advice on warehouse safety in general and racking inspection safety specifically. From a business perspective, there are many benefits of blog writing. However, we also write this blog because we are proud to provide a racking safety resource to anyone on the internet who might need it.

5. Travel to Anywhere in the UK or Ireland

Being a SEMA approved inspector is seen as a mark of safety expertise the world over. That’s why there are safety inspectors in Poland, the UAE and even Singapore. The title is not easily earn and the ability to know a safe racking system from an unsafe one requires immense attention to detail.

SEMA approved inspectors are able to teach this skill to an extent but, because of the multitude of factors involved, SEMA approved inspectors are also willing to travel to sites all over to make sure that a racking inspection is done right.

At Storage Equipment Experts, we are willing to inspect any business in the UK or Ireland. We are one of the few businesses in the UK or Ireland which offers this level of coverage and we are proud to do it in the name of safety.

For a racking inspection or racking inspection training anywhere in the UK or Ireland from a SEMA approved inspector, contact Storage Equipment Experts today!

Do I need an inspection by a SEMA Approved Rack Inspector? Defining Warehouses and HSE Law

SEMA Approved Racking Inspection

HSE recommends that British warehouses receive an annual racking inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector. But what counts as a warehouse in HSE’s eyes? Does your business need a an inspection by a SEMA Approved rack inspector?

At Storage Equipment Experts, we’ve written a lot about warehouse safety: from warehouse racking safety safety tips to how the EU has influenced warehouses and warehouse racking safety. However, what we’ve not done is define warehouses in the eyes of HSE.

This definition is extremely important. After all, HSE recommends that warehouses receive a racking inspection by a SEMA Approved inspector at least once a year. So what exactly is a warehouse, and does your business have one? The answer is not as simple as you might think.

What is a Warehouse?

“A warehouse is a large building where goods are stored, and where they may be catalogued, shipped, or received, depending upon the type.” That’s one definition, but when you really break it down, it’s actually quite vague and not entirely correct.

For one thing, not all warehouses are buildings in and of themselves. Argos warehouses are often attached to the main body of the building precisely because their business model depends on synchronising a consumer-friendly shop floor with an employee-friendly storage system. So if a warehouse can be attached to the building itself, how does a warehouse differ from a storeroom?

HSE’s Definition of a Warehouse

HSE does not give an absolute definition of a warehouse and, throughout their guide on warehouse safety, they refer to stockrooms and warehouses interchangeably. This is because HSE recognises that every storage system is different and a government definition of what counts as a warehouse and what doesn’t is not helpful. The important thing is safety.

HSE’s guide on warehouse safety comprehensively lists every possible risk that a warehouse or stockroom could have. It then makes safety recommendations based on those risks. For example, not all warehouses use fork-lifts, but those that do need to adhere to HSE’s guidelines on forklift safety, which includes forklift training.

So rather than defining what a warehouse is, HSE’s advice covers every possible aspect of the warehouse. They then recommend that warehouse owners follow the advice that applies to them. This is because, with the new CDM regulations, the responsibility ultimately lies with the warehouse owner. HSE’s advice is there as a guide, and it is the employer’s responsibility, not HSE’s, to follow the advice relevant to them in order to make their employees safe “as far as is reasonably practical”.

In other words, if tragedy strikes and a claimant can prove in a court of law that the accident occurred because HSE’s advice was not followed, then the claimant could argue that their safety was not assured as far as was “reasonably practical”.

So Does My Warehouse Need a Racking Inspection by SEMA Approved Inspector?

If your warehouse includes a racking system, then the answer is yes. Unlike forklifts, racking systems can be found in basically any incarnation of a warehouse. After all, if you don’t have a racking system, then your warehouse is essentially useless — that cialis generique is unless you are using your warehouse for artistic purposes.

However, the real semantic issue — with regards to a racking inspection by a SEMA approved inspector — concerns the term “racking”. In this instance, HSE is very specific:

The term “racking” is used to describe a skeletal framework, of fixed or adjustable design, to support loads generally without the use of shelves.

“Without the use of shelves” and “skeletal framework” are important parts of this definition. After all, the stockroom of a small bookshop certainly wouldn’t be considered a warehouse. And besides, no-one would argue that the shelves of said bookshop need a racking inspection by SEMA approved inspector.

However, the distribution centre for a large book supplier definitely does count as a warehouse. And its racking systems would require a yearly inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector in order to adhere to HSE regulations.

Racking Inspections by SEMA Approved Inspectors are about Common Sense

As has been previously mention, the new CDM regulations mean that the bonus of responsibility is ultimately on the warehouse owner to ensure the safety of their staff “as far as is reasonably practical”. “Reasonably practical” is the important phrase. Do the shelves in the stockroom of your popup Christmas Card shop require a racking inspection by SEMA Approved inspector? Probably not. Unless your Christmas Card shop is — in fact — some enormous storage facility where people can buy cards in bulk, then you are likely in the clear.

Does your warehouse need a racking inspection by SEMA approved inspector? If you’re unsure, the answer is probably yes. Contact Storage Equipment Experts to make sure your warehouse receives the annual racking inspection by SEMA approved inspector it needs.

5 Sciences that a SEMA Approved Inspector Needs to Understand

SEMA Approved Inspectors UK

At Storage Equipment Experts, we have spoken at length about the high standards involved in becoming a SARI (SEMA approved racking inspector) as well as the high the standards involved in remaining a SARI. Recently, SEMA themselves have announced that they now expect even more from SEMA approved inspectors. To put it in their own words, “safety legislation just got tougher!”

SEMA were referring to the new CDM regulations that were announced in April 2015 and came into force in February 2016. More than ever, these new regulations mean that SEMA approved inspectors are vital to your warehouse’s safety.

Being a knowledgeable SARI involves a lot more than most people realise. It’s not just a matter of metal and measurements, racking inspections involve using a lot of knowledge from a lot of different fields. Mathematics, physics, environmental science, philosophy, and psychology are all things that a SARI needs to understand in order to do their job properly. So let’s run through these five sciences and explain why a SEMA approved inspector needs to understand them all…

Euclid in Your Warehouse: Why do SEMA Approved Inspectors Need to Understand Mathematics?

“Wait, is maths even a science?” might be the first question you will ask upon reading this. The best answer to that question is “maybe”, but it’s not the sort of philosophical quandary which affects the day to day life of a SARI. Rather, what a SARI is concerned with is whether the measurements of a piece of racking equipment match up with what SEMA and HSE deem as safe.

One of the many things that racking inspectors are looking for when they perform a racking inspection is how bent a piece of racking is. If the bend is obvious, then that spells trouble. However, less obvious bends require measurement and an understanding of mathematics is need to figure out whether or not the bend is a serious one or not.

Einstein in Your Warehouse: Why do SEMA Approved Inspectors Need to Understand Physics?

The way metals interact with each other in a warehouse, the way one racking beam interacts with the whole storage system and the way loads interact with each other on a pallet racking system are all examples of times where an understanding of physics can be helpful. Your average SARI is not going to be helping you to travel through time anytime soon, but they do need to understand some of the main rules. Weight is potential energy, and if a SARI does not respect that fact then that potential energy could cause an actual disaster.

Al Gore in Your Warehouse: Why do SEMA Approved Inspectors Need to Understand Environmental Science?

There is a strong correlation between how safe a business is and how sustainable a business is. For this reason, understanding environmental science can be extremely helpful for improving business safety. With regards to staff, safety and sustainability in the workplace both mean respect for your environment. In other words, being a safe employee means respecting the warehouse environment.

And if they respect the warehouse environment, then they are more likely to respect the wider environment. With regards to management, sustainability and safety both require long-term planning, attention to detail, and diligence. All of this equates to less accidents, less needless waste, and a safer, more sustainable, more profitable business.

Long-term planning is key here. Both safety enthusiasts and environmental enthusiasts know that results can take a long time to manifest themselves. Sometimes it is as much about raising awareness and creating a culture of safety and sustainability as it is about implementing protocols.

Safety expert Aishwarya Nair agrees and also argues that sustainability should be a core value in all businesses alongside safety. The two work well together, and so any knowledge of environmental science can be extremely helpful to SEMA approved inspectors.

Socrates in Your Warehouse: Why do SEMA Approved Inspectors Need to Understand Philosophy?

Philosophy is about asking big questions, and the biggest question in warehouse safety is one which requires a bit of philosophical pondering: is a zero-accident workplace possible?

We believe that it is, but we didn’t arrive at that conclusion on a whim. We have considered the question of the “zero-accident workplace” before and not everyone feels the same way. So while Matt Grierson, SEMA’s president, argues that zero accident workplaces should be the main goal, the EU see it as “more of a way of thinking than a numerical goal”. This is definitely philosophical territory, and so it is worth explaining why we believe that SEMA approved inspectors should be aiming for zero accidents as a numerical goal.

We rid the world of smallpox deaths in 1979, we rid the whole of the Americas of rubella in 2015, and we are close to eradicating malaria from the whole of Europe. It would have been easy to think that, “some people are bound to die of smallpox”.

However, the facts bear it out; nobody dies of smallpox anymore. The zero accident workplace is a big philosophical commitment, but this value theory affects the way we do business at Storage Equipment Experts. We believe in a zero accident workplace and it moves us forward.

Freud in Your Warehouse: Why do SEMA Approved Inspectors Need to Understand Psychology?

As we mentioned before in a previous blog post, the British government are currently looking into how psychology can affect workplace safety. The Health and Safety Laboratory’s argument, essentially, is that employees with the wrong kind of mental state are more likely to involve themselves in accidents. This theory makes sense. If you have no respect for your employer and have little regard for yourself, why would you care about safety?

Under the right supervision, employees can develop a positive work ethic which will help to make them safer employees. Understanding workplace psychology means understanding the value of respecting your employees.

There are ways to show your staff that they are respected and valued, but one of the best ways is through pallet racking inspection training. Training of any kind helps employees to feel like they are being invested in, but our rack inspection training course has the added benefit of teaching employees about racking and warehouse safety as well.

Science and safety are complex disciplines that come in many different forms. At Storage Equipment Experts, we know that our knowledge of racking inspections is informed by, and helps to inform, the body of science around it. With our services, we aim to improve both racking inspection safety and the science of racking inspection safety as well.

It’s not rocket science! Contact Storage Equipment Experts today for expert racking inspections and rack inspection training from the smartest SARI around

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 see, 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.