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.

Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace?

who is responsible for safety in the workplace

With so many other things to worry about when running a business, it can be hard to know who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace. However, the answer is simpler than you might think…

who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace? One the one hand, everyone is responsible for safety in the workplace. Employers, employees, clients, and even members of the public or visitors — every single person who steps into a workplace is responsible for their own safety and the safety of others.

It’s nothing less than common sense and common ethics. If we imagined that safety was somehow the job of someone else, the buck would forever be passed to someone else. By emphasising that there is no single person who is responsible for safety in the workplace, we can make sure that everyone takes responsibility. When that happens, accidents are much less likely.

As SEMA says in its video on load notices, “safety is everyone’s job.”

All that said, the legal question of who is responsible for safety in the workplace is a little less settled than the moral question. In other words, in the case of an injury in the workplace, it is not the case that everyone would be legally responsible for the injury.

So, Legally Speaking, Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace?

Legally speaking, everyone is responsible for safety in the workplace — but not everyone is responsible for the same thing and not everyone has the same amount of responsibility. The bulk of the responsibility rests with the employer, but an employee, a visitor, or even a member of the public has some responsibilities as well. HSE lays out employer responsibilities on its website.

You couldn’t give all of the legal responsibility for safety to the employer, because that would mean that any accident in their workplace would be their fault. So, if an employee decided to purposely injure another colleague, the employer would be accountable. This is obviously absurd, and that’s why an employee needs some responsibility for safety as well.

Equally absurd would be if everyone was equally responsible for safety. If employees are ask to perform a task without the correct training or safety equipment, it is not their responsibility to know what safety equipment or safety training they should have had. If an injury were to occur in that instance, the employer would be legally responsible.

HSE lays out employee responsibilities (including agency worker and temporary worker responsibilities) on its website.

There are also other instances of responsibility. A member of the public who walks into a workplace uninvited and who winds up injured because they ignored safety regulation is responsible for their own safety. A contractor who created a fault while working on a piece of equipment might be held responsible if that equipment goes wrong.

You might also be an employee who is a safety representative elect by a union. HSE lays out safety representative responsibilities on in its website. The two most important pieces of legislation with regards to safety representatives are the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 and the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996.

Finally, there is “client” responsibility as defined in cases covered by the CDM Regulations 2015). The CDM Regulations outline responsibility for safety in construction or design projects. This includes building sites, but it also includes film sets, music sets, and television show sets. In cases like these, the employer is harder to define.

As such, the term ‘client’ refers to “any person for whom a project is carried out”. In projects covered by the CDM Regulations 2015, the client is responsible for many of the things for which an employer would ordinarily be responsible.

Figuring out Who is Responsible for Safety in the Workplace

In order to know who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace, the best thing to do is to research the relevant law to look at the relevant guidelines. For warehouse safety, the owner of the warehouse or the employer is responsible for most safety, but employees have responsibilities, too.

HSE also recommends one particular employee to be nominate as the PRRS (Person Responsible for Racking Safety). This employee will have more responsibilities than other employees, though this is not a legally binding matter. It’s something which HSE advises in HSG76, but HSG76 is a guide and not legislation.

The PRRS should perform regular rack safety inspections alongside expert inspections from a SEMA approved racking inspector once every 12 months. We also recommend that a PRRS is trained by a SEMA approved racking inspector in order to help them with their regular inspections.

As you can see by this point, knowing who is responsible for safety in the workplace entirely depends on the industry you’re in, the relevant legislation, and the relevant guidelines. However, as a shorthand, making sure that safety is everyone’s job will go a long way towards making your workplace safer.

If you’re looking for racking inspection training from a SEMA approved racking inspector for your PRRS or your annual inspection from a SEMA approved racking inspector, contact Storage Equipment Experts today for a FREE consultation.

SEMA Safety: Being Safe According to SEMA

SEMA safety

Safety is important to SEMA, and the organisation has spent countless years developing its own safety protocols.

SEMA safety is the safety standard for the storage equipment industry. SEMA stands for the Storage Equipment Manufacturer’s Association, and this self-appointed title is hard-earned. If something is safe according to SEMA, it should be considered safe by everyone using any kind of storage system. Here are some of the key tenants of SEMA safety.

SEMA Safety Tip #1: Read The Codes of Practice

Codes of Practice are the backbone of SEMA safety. In these documents, SEMA codifies the laws of safety as it sees them and some of the documents have even helped to influence both British and European legislation.

Of course, these Codes of Practice aren’t always the law. As such, the best place to start for a guide on safety is HSE’s HSG76. This guide also isn’t the law, but it’s a best practice guide from the British government and following it is usually enough to stay within the law. For certain specific issues, the HSE guide will direct to relevant parts of the SEMA Code of Practice.

SEMA Safety Tip #2: Check Load Notices

One such Code of Practice which influenced European and British legislation is SEMA’s stance on load notices. A big part of SEMA’s influence on storage equipment safety the world over are these load notices which the organisation has been developing since the 1980s. Paying close attention to them is a key part of SEMA safety.

Load notices usually look something like this.

A safety load notice

On the left-hand side, warnings are issued in yellow, instructed actions are issued in blue, and prohibited actions are issued in red. This colour coding system falls in line with the EU Directive on safety signs and the corresponding British law on safety signs.

On the right-hand side, the top right-hand corner contains information about the date the system was supplied and the product reference number. Below that, a pictogram of a storage system indicates the maximum storage capacity for the system. Note that this storage capacity will be different for different systems. Below all this on the right-hand side, the supplier is listed.

Checking a load notice is not designed to replace racking inspection training or other safety protocol. Rather, it acts as a handy reminder of some the most important aspects of storage equipment safety.

SEMA Safety Tip #3: Use SEMA Approved Suppliers and Installers

As a standard maker for the whole industry, there is a list of SEMA approved racking suppliers and SEMA approved installers or installation companies. These three kinds of approval can be checked with a variety of badges and cards.

SEMA is an acronym which loves to create acronyms. So, prepare yourself…

Firstly, there are SEMA Distributor Companies (SDCs). These are companies which produce and supply storage equipment systems and have been approved by SEMA to do so. SDCs are part of the SEMA Distributor Group (SDG). As part of the SDG, SDCs have to maintain the highest possible standards in the storage equipment industry.

Secondly, there are SEMA Approved Installation Companies (SAICs). These are companies which have been approved by SEMA to install storage systems. Just likes SDCs, SAICs have to maintain the highest possible standards in the storage equipment industry in order to call themselves SAICs.

Finally, there are members of the Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme (SEIRS). These are individuals — rather than companies — who have been approved by SEMA to install storage systems. The same usual high standards are required for members of the SEIRS to remain members.

In summary, in order for end users of racking systems to properly adhere to SEMA safety. They should buy all their storage equipment from SDCs and make sure it is installed by a SAIC or a member of the SEIRS.

SEMA Safety Tip #4: Use SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors

However, in order to really follow SEMA safety, the most important acronym for end users is SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors (SARIs). Both SEMA and HSE recommend that end users book a visit from a SARI at least once every 12 months. SARIs can also perform racking inspection training for your staff so that they are competent, as recommended by the CDM Regulations 2015. What’s more, racking inspection training also helps your staff to perform the regular staff-led racking inspections which HSE recommends.

SARIs have to pass pre-course qualifier, complete a rigorous and intense training course, attend multiple seminars on SEMA safety, and receive continuous assessment in order to become a SARI and to remain a SARI. As SEMA approved schemes, though, the aim of this rigorousness is the upkeep of the highest possible safety standards.

Follow SEMA safety with a visit from a SARI today. Contact Storage Equipment Experts for nationwide coverage of the UK and Ireland!