ARTICLE

Safety as standard

28 October 2021

As the industry looks set for yet another record-breaking year, Jaap Vos reviews the association’s achievements in 2021 and how they are raising standards in the warehouse.

WITH THE surge in online sales in the last couple of years driven by the pandemic combined with logistic difficulties resulting from Brexit, warehouse space is at a premium. Demand for additional and new storage space has hit an all-time high with growth predicted to continue for the next five years. Every space is being utilised from small urban units located close to the customer all the way through to large scale mega-sheds for mass distribution channels.

No matter the size or requirements for your warehousing when choosing a new storage system, the key criteria to look for are a safe working environment, accessibility to assets and minimising potential damage to products stored.

As the British trade body for the storage industry, SEMA promote the safe design and manufacture of racking systems. Our groups comprise SEMA Distributor Companies (SDC) working to SEMA’s Codes of Practice, safe installation by our SEMA Approved Installation Companies (SAIC) using SEIRS installers. The circle of warehousing is completed through a rigorous inspection regime with annual checks performed by SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors (SARI). Each SEMA member has a clearly defined role in shaping best practice and together they cover the full supply chain.

Training

SEMA know that training is essential to achieving best practice within the workplace and we are recognised as a governing training body for the UK storage industry. Our courses are approved by the Royal Society for The Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and cover almost every stage of a racking installation. From the training of installers to ensure they meet SEMA guidelines and Codes of Practice, to courses on rack awareness of your storage equipment specifically for the end-user and qualifications for individuals wanting to conduct SEMA expert inspections.

This year we were delighted to open the doors to our new training centre at Burntwood, Staffordshire and implement our popular programme of training. Our new and modernised centre offers all the facilities needed for our courses under one roof. This includes a classroom for the theoretical elements as well as a warehouse where delegates can build racking structures in a practical learning environment, as well as inspect structures that fall under the Rack Inspection training and Rack Awareness courses.

Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme (SEIRS)

As pressures on the storage sector change so has the need to adapt our training. In response to industry demands for a more rigorous assessment-based course for installers, SEMA has been developing a new SEIRS diploma in Adjustable Pallet Racking. Launching in January 2022 the qualification will ensure installers not only meet HSE standards, but significantly the course will also include practical instruction and assessment on installing storage equipment. 

The Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme or SEIRS is the market leading initiative which address the health and safety needs of the industry. Recognised as a best practice example of the industry regulating itself, SEIRS is based on three key components: an installation code of practice, training courses and ID card and registration system.  

NEW SEIRS Training 

By introducing the SEIRS programme, SEMA wants to ensure that each qualified installer has achieved a minimum level of assessed practical skill in the installation of the storage product. The training course will change to encompass two parts. 

Foundation Course – Part 1: Installers new to SEIRS will first attend the Foundation Course, a one-day classroom-based program that pays particular attention to Health and Safety issues that are likely to affect installers on site. It will also involve the practical use of safety harnesses. There are no pre-qualification requirements for delegates unless an installer requires a SEIRS CSCS card. In this case they will need to pass the CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test which is conducted independently of SEIRS by the CITB at one of their test centres across the UK. 

After successfully completing the installer will receive a SEIRS trainee card which is valid for 6 months. 

SEIRS Diploma – Part 2: To maintain the SEIRS qualification or for existing installers who want to renew their in-date SEIRS ID Card, installers will need to successfully pass the two-day Diploma Course. Before the course installers are required to pass either the CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test or hold a Mobile Elevated Work Platform MEWPS 3A and 3B operator certificate.

Day one is a classroom-based element which instructs delegates on how to safely and correctly install and dismantle storage equipment. Day two will require the installer, as part of a small team, to erect and dismantle the storage equipment using mechanically assisted build methods. Delegates will be assessed throughout day two of the course and on passing receive a diploma and full SEIRS card which is valid for 3 years.

If an installer doesn’t pass the practical assessment they can re-apply, and it can be re-taken on the next available Diploma course. An installer will only need to pass the Diploma Course once. After three years their SEIRS card can be renewed by successfully completing a General Refresher course or one of the SEMA higher-level courses (see the SEMA website for more details). 

Staying in touch

This year we were excited to launch our new SEMA website which will be an easier to navigate, user-friendly site that provides extensive information on the work and activities of SEMA and our members. 

Improving the usability of the site we have also improved our training pages. There is now a calendar of our available courses with up-to-date information on availability and the option to book and pay for the training online. 

To find out more visit our new website at www.sema.org.uk

Supporting the website, we have also launched our SEMA LinkedIn page where end-users and members can keep in touch with all the latest developments and news. Follow us by visiting www.linkedin.com/company/semauk

Jaap Vos, president, SEMA

About SEMA

SEMA is the British Trade Association of the Storage Equipment Industry. It is committed to promoting and extending the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by its members.

Member Groups

  • Full Members & Groups
  • Associate Members
  • SEMA Distributor Companies
  • SEMA Approved Installation Companies

SEMA Initiatives

  • SEMA Rack Inspector Training
  • SEIRS Registration Scheme

Key facts

  • 210 members (inc.150+ racking inspectors)
  • 135 training courses per year
  • Over 75 definitive technical publications
  • Over 5000 SEIRS trained installers and seven different courses
  • SEIRS recognised by CSCS for Partner Card Scheme
  • Annual safety conference and two-yearly technical seminar

 
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