What Exactly is a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector and Why Do You Need One?

SEMA Approved Racking Inspector

Are you being told you should have your warehouse looked over by a SEMA approved racking inspector? This blog explains everything from who they are to why you need one.

Warehouses involved in the supply and demand business are often stacked to the rafters with racking, pallets and other storage equipment. Constructed using anything from wood to steel and holding products that range from bottled water to flammable goods, racking is a workhorse of the warehouse industry that should never be ignored.

Like all workhorses, the only way to keep operations running smoothly is through proper upkeep.

Your racking systems may seem perfectly adequate and secure, but there are numerous issues that may be affecting them — issues that could result in an unsafe or unstable warehouse environment. Problems with racking can endanger both workers and stock, which means appropriate maintenance is key. Racking inspections allow for the identification of potential problems and hazards including damage, material failure and incorrectly fitted elements.

With the information gained from these inspections, warehouse managers can then take steps to secure their goods, meet health and safety policy and ensure they are following laws relating to duty of care.

Who Are SEMA?

SEMA are an authority on racking inspections safety training. They are recognised across Europe as educators of the highest-quality racking inspectors — such as us here at Storage Equipment Experts.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK governing body responsible for the encouragement, monitoring and enforcement of health and safety practices, advises that warehouses are inspected by a SEMA approved racking inspector at least every 12 months.

What is a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector?

SEMA approved racking inspector is an individual who has undertaken extensive training under an approved SEMA program. This program allows the person to offer racking inspection services that are up to a level deemed satisfactory by HSE.

There are numerous types of racking inspection available. However, if you were to consider them all as different levels of British educational institutions, SEMA would be the top university.

Such training qualifies the SEMA approved racking inspector as a recognisable authority in warehouse equipment inspections. As a result, those who operate warehouses that contain storage equipment should consider hiring the services of a SEMA approved racking inspector over others offering similar services. At Storage Equipment Experts, we offer racking inspections by SEMA Approved inspectors across the UK and Ireland.

But do you really need a SEMA approved racking inspector? Can’t you just check the racking yourself or have somebody else do it?

Why Do I Need a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector?

When it comes to workplace safety, satisfactory — or even second-best — is not good enough.

Racking may seem mundane, but as with everything, there are inherent dangers that come hand-in-hand with its use. The problems faced can vary from issues as small as tripping over loose equipment to major collapses that threaten lives. Those who operate workplaces have a duty of care to their employees and when racking is in use, this extends to ensuring your equipment is maintained to an appropriate standard as to avoid potential hazards.

Racking inspections by SEMA Approved inspectors ensure your racking is checked to the highest possible standards, as dictated by HSE. This not only means a safe workplace for your employees, but it also adds a level of protection in the event of disaster.

There are no laws governing exactly how you should have your racking inspected, only that you need to provide a safe workplace for individuals under standard duty of care practice. However, by following HSE’s recommended practice of using a SEMA approved racking inspector, you have evidence — in the event of any health and safety concern — that your warehouse has acted under the guidance provided by the governing body.

Failure to use a SEMA approved inspected means that, if the worst was to happen, you don’t have that backup to protect your liability. While you haven’t broken any laws, by not using a SEMA approved inspector, you haven’t followed the recommended guidelines either, which reduces your ability to defend your culpability.

The recommendations may not be legislation, but they exist for a reason.

SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors Can Train Your Staff to Spot Problems

Annual inspections from a SEMA approved inspector are important, but it is also important to regularly monitor racking for signs of potential problems. If weaknesses develop or damage occurs six months into your yearly schedule, you’ll want people on your roster that can spot danger before it’s too late.

Identifying the warning signs early on means you can get a thorough inspection carried out before your employees, stock and brand are put at unnecessary and avoidable risk.

Our SEMA approved racking inspectors cannot offer your employees SEMA qualifications, but they can educate them on proper storage equipment safety processes, practices and threat identification. We can ensure employees are aware of a number of common problems, allowing them to act as an early warning system. If your staff know what to look out for and are able to engage in active workplace safety checks, your chances of experiencing a health and safety nightmare are severely reduced.

Are you in need of a SEMA approved racking inspector to carry out checks, or educate your staff on what to look out for and how to properly care for equipment? Storage Equipment Experts has years of industry experience and is fully qualified for the task. Get in touch today.

What is a “Person Responsible for Racking Safety”?

racking safety

SEMA recommends that every employer with a storage system nominates a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS), but what does that mean?

In an ideal world, everyone would be the person responsible for racking safety. After all, safety should be the concern of every employee and every employer, not just a select few. However, on a practical level, a Person Responsible for Racking Safety is an official role laid out by HSE’s HSG76 and  
SEMA’s Technical Bulletin 3.

Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS)

A Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS) is a person nominated by an employer to take responsibility for ensuring that a racking system is “used, inspected and maintained in accordance with the appropriate regulations and guidelines”.

Does Every Business Need a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS)?

Not every business needs a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS), and there are two reasons for this. The first is that not every business has a storage equipment system — such as a racking system in a storeroom or a warehouse. If you do have one, HSE and SEMA recommends that you nominate a PRRS.

However, there is no legal need to nominate a PRRS even if you have a storage equipment system. HSE does recommend one as an example of best practice, and following HSE’s advice will likely mean that you are following the CDM Regulations 2015 as well as the law in general. Though, there is an important difference between the guidance offered by HSE and the legislation which HSE often writes.

In other words, you don’t need a PRRS, and you are free to take other actions. Though, if the worst should happen and
someone were injured or killed your workplace, you may well be asked to explain why you didn’t follow best practice advice from HSE and what advice you followed instead.

What Does a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS) do?

The PRRS (Person Responsible for Racking Safety) is the person or even a group of persons within the organisation that oversees all things relating to the safety of the racking systems. This would usually include the following:

  • Training of internal staff
  • Deciding and maintaining the frequency of internal inspections
  • Checking the findings of internal inspections
  • Checking the findings of the expert Inspection (recommended at least once every 12 months by a SEMA approved racking inspector)
  • Reviewing any “Red Risk” or repetitive damage
  • Organising and reviewing any remedial works to the racking.

Put another way, any workplace with a warehouse or racking system should have one or more people within the organisation who are able to review all actions relating to the safety of the racking system. This will allow that person — or those people — to make informed decisions where necessary to maintain the safety of the racking.

Who Should I Nominate as My Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS)?

The person you nominate as your Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS) should be more than just “competent”. HSE’s guide on warehouse safety and the CDM Regulations 2015 strongly stress the importance of “competence” of staff, because every member of staff should be competent.

Your PRRS should be more than that. They should be a person who knows rack safety inside and out and who can inspect a racking system by themselves using a
racking inspection checklist. It should be someone who has had rack inspection training for this task, who is able to identify each part of a rack system and who can tell whether a part is being misused, damaged, or missing.

In short, we wouldn’t recommend that anyone be nominated as a PRRS unless they have received racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector and unless they are using a racking inspection checklist.

Is a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS) a Racking Inspection Expert?

No, a PRRS does not count as racking inspection expert. This distinction is important to understand because HSE and the European Committee for Standardisation recommend an inspection at least every 12 months from a third-party racking inspection expert. HSE then labels a SEMA approved racking inspector as an example of this sort of expert.

A racking inspection expert is someone who specialises in inspecting racking systems as a job and has been trained by SEMA. Being a SEMA approved racking inspector is a full-time job in its own right, so your PRRS will not qualify as a racking inspection expert.

To make sure that your PRRS is ready to inspect your workplace or to receive a racking inspection by SEMA Approved inspector, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for a FREE consultation on both of these services.

Why the UK Needs SEMA Racking Safety?

SEMA racking

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

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

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

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

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

SEMA Racking Safety Has Helped to Make British Workplaces Some of the Safest in the World

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

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

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

What Does SEMA Racking Safety Have to do With Any of This?

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

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

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

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

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

SEMA Racking Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. SEMA Racking Safety Is Internationally Respected

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

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

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

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

3. SEMA Racking Safety Is Not The Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

What Does the SEMA Code of Practice Say About Load Notices?

man in warehouse checking racking and load notices

Businesses who ignore the SEMA Code of Practice’s advice on load notices run the risk of more than fines.

The SEMA Code of Practice states that load notices are safety notices for racking systems which are included on all racking systems provided by SEMA approved distributor companies. Load notices explain to the end users of a racking system how the system should be used and what the system’s limitations are.

The advice is approved by HSE, but it is not the only advice that end users need to follow when using racking. Rather, load notices are intended as summaries or quick reminders of HSE approved advice for the safe use of racking.

Load notices do not replace the need for employers to train their staff on the safe use of racking systems, for example.
All SEMA approved racking systems have had SEMA load notices on them since the 1980s. These notices have since been updated with input from the SEMA Code of Practice, HSE, and the EU.

According to HSE, not every racking system provider needs to be a SEMA distributor company. However, HSE’s HSG76 states that all racking systems need some kind of load notice and refers to SEMA’s advice on load notices as an example how load notices should be. To understand SEMA load notices a bit better, it’s good to understand their history.

Brief History: SEMA Code of Practice Creates SEMA Load Notices; EU & HSE Improve Them

The earliest SEMA load notices were mentioned in the original SEMA Code of Practice for Use of Static Pallet Racking in the ‘80s. Some SEMA approved racking systems still have these load notices. However, SEMA load notices have since evolved because of input from the EU, HSE, and updates to the SEMA Code of Practice itself.

EC Directive 92/58/EEC was announced by the EU in June 1992. This EU directive outlined the ways health and safety signs at work should look. EU directives are not the same as EU regulations. An EU directive sets out an objective to be achieved and it is then up to each individual member state to achieve this objective in its own way.

As a result, it wasn’t until four years later that the UK turned this EU directive into British law, with the implementation of the
Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. SEMA load notices were modified to adhere to these regulations.

The main changes were to the colours and the designs of the different kinds of notices on the racking equipment. The original SEMA load notices used their own design as outlined in the original SEMA Code of Practice. These new ones now adhere to the national standard for safety signs and subsequent SEMA Codes of Practice have been updated accordingly.

Red circular signs with white backgrounds and black pictograms are used for prohibition. Yellow triangular signs with yellow backgrounds and black pictograms or text are used for warning. Green rectangular signs with white pictograms or text are used for instruction. Blue rectangular signs with white pictograms or text are used for mandatory actions.

You may notice how all safety signs in workplaces across the UK follow these regulations. “No smoking” signs are red. Caution of fire signs are yellow. “Fire exit” signs are green. “Hardhats must be worn in this area” signs are blue. SEMA load notices now adhere to these same regulations as well.

What Do SEMA Load Notices Say?

Different racking systems have different load notices, but most follow a similar structure. A typical SEMA load notice outlines the need for regular racking inspection from a SEMA approved inspector, the need to adhere to the SEMA Code of Practice, and the need to contact the supplier of the system if you unsure about anything as yellow warning signs. A mandatory action is given in blue that all damage should be reported to the racking safety officer. Finally, a red sign prohibits climbing on a racking system or altering the racking system. All of this information is listed on the left of the load notice.

On the right of the load notice are the maximum load recommendations for each shelf, as well as the maximum bay load. Bear in mind that the maximum bay load is often less than the sum total of all the shelf loads.

For example, if you have a system with four shelves and each shelf can handle two loads of 1,000kg, but the bay load is 5,000kg, you must make sure that your total bay load is below 5,000kg. Each individual shelf combined might be able to handle 8,000kg, but the bay load is there to tell you how much your whole racking system can handle at one time.

If you have any questions about SEMA load notices, don’t hesitate to contact Storage Equipment Experts. Remember that following the advice given on a SEMA load notice is not a replacement for racking inspection training or expert racking inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

For professional racking inspection services from a SEMA approved racking inspector with acute knowledge of the SEMA Code of Practice, contact Storage Equipment Experts today.

A Quick Guide to SEMA Safety

Young female supervisor communicating with foreman at warehouse

SEMA safety is a big umbrella with lots of different elements of storage equipment safety beneath it.

The Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) is something of an authority when it comes to storage equipment safety. Though their advice is superseded by HSE (Health and Safety Executive), SEMA safety is vital because it is much more specific. SEMA safety doesn’t contradict HSE safety. Rather, it expands on the advice given in HSE HSG76 and then goes into much more detail.

In this quick guide to SEMA safety, you’ll learn about the most basic and important aspects of SEMA safety and how to follow them.

1) The SEMA Code of Practice

More or less every conceivable instance of storage equipment safety is covered in the SEMA Code of Practice. This code is not one document, but many different documents which you can purchase from SEMA at various prices. Not all documents are relevant to all storage equipment users or warehouse owners. Their “Guide to the Specification of Freestanding High Bay Racking and Clad Racks”, for example, is not needed for those warehouse owners who don’t use freestanding high bay racking or clad racks.

If you find HSE HSG76’s advice lacking with regards to your specific storage equipment safety query, these guides are a good place to start. However, if you want to know more about specific elements of racking safety, there are other options.

2) Racking Inspection Training from a SEMA Approved Racking Inspector

The SEMA approved racking inspector program is by far the most rigorous safety program SEMA runs. This is closely followed by the SEMA Cantilever Racking Inspection course. As a result, there are only 104 SEMA approved pallet racking inspectors in the world (with inspectors based in Spain, the UAE, Singapore, and even China) and only 35 SEMA approved cantilever racking inspectors in the world.

A warehouse owner or storage equipment user does not need to take either course. The program is designed for people who want a career as a SEMA approved racking inspector, rather than someone who just wants to know how to operate their racking safely.

For the latter person, we would recommend our racking inspection training course performed by a SEMA approved inspector. Our SEMA approved racking inspector is one of the few people to have passed both the SEMA pallet racking inspection course and the SEMA cantilever racking inspection course. For that reason, our racking inspection training course is one of the best in the UK (with rave reviews from Tate Modern, Hayden’s Bakery, Dunlop, White Stuff, and many others).

If you want to learn about some of the elements of SEMA safety specific to your racking system, but are a little intimidated by the scale of the SEMA Code of Practice, we’d highly recommend our racking inspection training course.

3) SEMA Technical Bulletins

The SEMA Code of Practice is often updated — or elements of it are clarified — with technical bulletins. It’s important to keep an eye out for these as they are often reactions to things happening in the industry. The SEMA Technical Bulletin No. 3 clarifies SEMA and HSE’s interpretation of the use of rack protectors (among other things) in response to people’s incorrect use of them.

These bulletins are a key part of SEMA safety and are great because they are often backed up with direct quotes from HSE HSG76. In other words, these bulletins help storage equipment users to understand HSE HSG76 in context.

4) Racking Inspections by a SEMA Approved Inspector & Staff Racking Inspections

As previously mentioned, SEMA runs different courses in order to train SEMA approved racking inspectors (SARIs). Both HSE and SEMA recommend racking inspections from SARIs at least once a year. HSE also recommend regular inspections from “competent” staff. At Storage Equipment Experts, we believe the best way to ensure that your staff are “competent” enough to perform the regular staff-led inspection HSE recommend is through our racking inspection training course: a course delivered by a SEMA approved racking inspector (SARI).

The importance of “competence” is also echoed in the CDM regulations 2015. As a result, this makes training doubly important.

5) Other Elements of SEMA Safety

SEMA safety also includes many other aspects, such as correct practice for storage equipment installation, storage equipment repair, and the dismantling of storage equipment. Each element of racking safety is covered somewhere in its Code of Practice. Most of the emphasis of HSE warehouse safety and SEMA safety is on the use of racking (as this is what warehouse owners and storage equipment users will spend the bulk of their time doing) but it’s important to pay close attention to the other elements of SEMA safety too. If the worst happens, your racking might need repair or dismantling. When it does, you’ll be glad that what to do is covered by SEMA safety.

For a greater understanding of SEMA safety, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

Rack Safety Inspections in Ireland: What Does The Law Say?

warehouse racking with stock

We offer rack safety inspections to Irish businesses as well as British ones.

When it comes to health and safety, Irish law is made up of two parts: the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and EU health and safety law. It is these two bodies that decide the laws concerning rack safety inspections in Ireland.

What is the HSA?

The HSA is the governing body for all things health and safety in Ireland. In that sense, it is like OSHA in the United States of America or HSE in the United Kingdom. Relative to OSHA and HSE, however, it was formed quite recently. OSHA was formed first in 1970, HSE was formed a few years later in 1974, but it wasn’t until 1989 that the HSA was formed.

What this means is that many of the health and safety rules and regulations which affect Irish workplaces are new. This is also true for warehouse safety and rack safety inspections, specifically. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, which forms the basis for almost all Irish workplace safety law, was passed in 2005 and was updated as recently as July 2016.

The act is general. It refers to “inspectors” and “inspections” many times, but it does not use the word “warehouse” or “racking” once. The act is intended to apply to health and safety as a whole and outlines the legal responsibilities of different workplace roles. In this sense, it is like the UK’s CDM Regulations 2015. In fact, just as with the CDM Regulations, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act needs to be read with reference to other legislation to understand the law and government recommendations regarding rack safety inspections.

The HSA’s Relationship With the EU and HSE

EU health and safety law affects Irish health and safety law directly; many EU health and safety acts are referenced in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act. Added to this, there is the influence of HSE which, despite operating in the UK, is still referenced by HSA. In the HSA’s brief guide to warehouse safety, it refers to HSE’s Warehousing and storage: A guide to health and safety as a resource that Irish businesses should use.

Both HSE and the EU have recommendations and legislation regarding rack safety inspections. So, though HSA doesn’t have anything specific to say regarding rack inspections, it refers to two bodies (and has laws based on one of those bodies) that do have specific rack inspection recommendations.
In the HSE guide which HSA refers to, the advice is that all businesses should have a rack safety inspection from an “expert” at least once a year. It identifies SEMA approved racking inspectors by name as an example of a racking inspection expert. At Storage Equipment Experts, we offer rack safety inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

The same guide also recommends more regular inspections from “technically competent” staff. For this, we recommend our racking inspection training course, which is performed by a SEMA approved racking inspector.

The EU health and safety legislation which HSA refers to also has recommendations for racking inspections. It too states that racking inspections should be performed at least annually by an external expert, as well as by technically competent staff. As a member of the EU, this advice applies to Ireland. As a member of the EU at the time when this legislation was written, it also applies to the UK (and there is no real reason why this racking inspection legislation in the UK would change when it leaves the EU).

What Does All This Mean for Rack Safety Inspections in Ireland?

In short, all businesses in Ireland should have regular racking inspections. Businesses that don’t perform regular racking inspections are running contrary to the Irish government’s advice. Though HSA does not mention racking inspections themselves, it does mention the advice of both HSE and the EU: two bodies that do recommend racking inspections.

As a member of the EU, Ireland and its businesses are bound by the racking inspection legislation and the recommendations it makes. As a country which refers to HSE on matters of warehouse safety, Ireland and Irish businesses should heed HSE’s advice about annual inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector.

If you’re an Irish business looking for racking inspection training or racking inspection by a SEMA approved inspector, look no further than Storage Equipment Experts. Our services are recommended by big and small businesses from every imaginable industry.

Don’t Stay Silent about Warehouse and Racking Safety!

Warehouse and Racking Safety UK

Warehouse and racking safety requires carefulness, regular rack inspections, and workers who are free to speak up about potential problems.

Warehouse and racking safety is not a dogma; it is a dialogue between employees, employers, customers, safety experts, and the government. Everyone should have a say in how our warehouses can be made safer because warehouse and racking safety affects everyone.

However, while this is something which we at Storage Equipment Experts believe in, it is evidently not an idea shared by everyone. Workers at a supermarket distribution company were recently fired because they raised concerns over health and safety. Silencing whistleblowers does not help to make warehouses safer. The fear that employees are not allowed to talk about warehouse or racking safety leads to a culture of danger and worker exploitation.

The recent trial over the conditions at Sports Directs’ main distribution warehouse shows what happens when employees are not free to express their concerns over safety. Workers were pushed to the limit in extremely unsafe conditions and, as a result, the centre was forced to make 83 ambulance calls over the course of two years.

The Law Requires Safety Inspections: Warehouse Racking Inspections, Forklift Inspections, and Many Other Safety Inspections

Employers are legally obliged to ensure that their warehouse is being operated in accordance with HSE standards. These regulations are in place because they save lives and they should not be ignored. Employees should be encouraged — not punished — for raising health and safety issues, especially when those issues concern the law.

With regards to warehouse and racking safety, employers are legally required to make sure their racking is inspected by a safety expert — a SEMA approved rack inspector — at least once a year. Should an employee notice a problem, they should mention this to their employer. In fact, HSE encourages employers to conduct rack safety inspections of their own on a regular basis.

Employers should not be quiet about warehouse and racking safety. Rather it is both a legal requirement — and good business — to make sure that they are actively involved in a frank and open discussion about warehouse and racking safety. This is why we provide racking inspection training from a SEMA approved inspector.

Safe, Smart, and Confident Employees are Better for Business

Businesses with employees who are educated on safety issues are better for several reasons. For a start, safety training of any kind helps to motivate employees as they feel more invested in and a bigger part of the team.

Both warehouse racking inspection training for small businesses and warehouse racking inspection training for big businesses have the psychological benefits that come from spending money on human capital. However, the other reason safer and smarter employees are better for business is cold hard cash.

Rack Safety Inspections Now Mean Bigger Profits Later

OSHA calculate that businesses who spend more on safety save money in the long run. Specifically, for every dollar a business spends on safety, they can save up to six dollars. This makes perfect sense. Rack safety inspections are a small expense, but the potential returns on this investment are huge.

After failing to adhere to warehouse safety standards, the international beer-giant Anheuser-Busch had to pay a jaw-dropping $162,000 fine.

A racking expert’s inspection could’ve prevented this expense. Ignoring warehouse safety may cost more than fines.

Casualties and — in some tragic cases — fatalities are the very real result of failing to invest in racking safety.

Businesses and their staff have no reason to stay silent about warehouse and racking safety.

Open dialogue on safety benefits the warehousing, logistics, and supply chain sector, fostering improved operations for all.

Don’t be silent and don’t ignore racking safety! Contact Storage Equipment Experts for a quote on your next warehouse racking inspection.

A Beginner’s Guide to Rack Safety Inspections and Racking Inspection Checklists

SEMA Approved Racking Inspections

At Storage Equipment Experts, we instruct businesses on pallet racking safety. Fully-fledged racking inspection training and comprehensive racking inspection checklists are not the only things that we do. One of our most useful services is a basic introduction to racking inspections.

Our infographic should serve as a starting point for businesses who want their staff to learn more about racking inspections and how racking inspection checklists work. It’s a great graphic to print out and put around your workplace. And it’s yours for free! Of course, that’s not the only free thing we offer at Storage Equipment Experts…

Our Racking Inspection Checklist is Free and Easy-to-Use

If you want to carry out your own regular internal racking inspections (as recommended by HSE), you can download our free and easy-to-use racking inspection checklist right here. Before using it though, we would strongly recommend also undergoing racking inspection training.

Our infographic is a great introduction, but for a detailed course on how racking inspections are performed look no further than our racking inspection training course. This course will give your staff the confidence and knowledge to carry out regular internal racking inspections in accordance with HSE’s recommended “traffic light” racking safety system. For this, you can use our racking inspection checklist.

Our Infographic, Our Racking Inspection Checklist, and Our Racking Inspection Course: The Perfect Trilogy

Great things come in threes, and that’s why we recommend using our infographic alongside our checklist and racking inspection training for the perfect three-pronged approach to racking safety. However, racking safety still has one more important element: expert rack safety inspections.

Rack Safety Inspections from Racking Inspection Experts

These safety inspections are required by law — and for good reason. Though our infographic, checklist, and training will help you with the day-to-day upkeep and inspection of your racking, a certified expert is required by HSE to visit your warehouse at least once a year. HSE recommends SEMA approved inspectors for this job. After all, damage is not always obvious. There are some things which require a racking inspection expert to spot.

For the non-experts though, this infographic serves as a great place to start. Understanding the basics is simple when you break it down, and so that’s just what we’ve done with our infographic.

Rack Safety Inspections

Rack safety inspections are all about knowledge and discipline. That’s why we are keen to share that knowledge as much as possible. At Storage Equipment Experts, we are here to teach you everything you need to know to perform your own regular internal racking inspections. And we are also here when you need an expert racking inspector — a SEMA approved rack inspector — to spot something you might have missed and to give you the advice you need to keep your racking, your warehouse, and your business safe. Our job is to help to you do your job better and safer. Whatever your business, contact us for your next rack safety inspection.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to call in the experts. Contact us for your next SEMA-approved racking inspection.