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Closing the quality circle

05 November 2013

The SEMA year has been one of both consolidation and progress in our mission to be the leading authority on the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by our members, says Jaap Vos, President of Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association 2012-2014. Two years ago, we created a new group for distributors; each company became a SEMA Distributor Company. All 30 of them have proved themselves a most welcome addition to our association and as such, they comp

Since the SDG launched in July 2011, it has vigorously set about the task of launching a programme which will establish clear blue water in the minds of end users between their members and other distributors. As part of an initiative which is both bold and unique in their sector; each SDG member is to be rigorously audited by an external company against 26 measurable checkpoints as part of a bespoke quality assurance scheme. (Our SEMA Approved Installation Companies, SAICs are already audited.) 

The QA programme will be well underway by January 2014 so specifiers will soon be able to benchmark the quality of an SDG member’s products and services against that of non-SDG member. The timetable is for every member to be assessed by April. We don’t anticipate that any of our members will fail but every single pass has to be earned on merit and is certainly not a given!

I’d like to thank the SDG’s outgoing chairman Simon King for his vision and leadership in setting up the SDG quality audit process and also for enhancing standards of manufacturer supply as his other main objective during his term in office. We were delighted to see Moresecure, Storax and Redirack honoured as part of the SDG’s 2013 supplier awards programme.

Leadership and education
SEMA’s core work in partnership with statutory, regulatory authorities such as the HSE and CSCS continues. Our influence and contributions form part of legislation in defining new British Standards. The last 12 months have seen us grasp the nettle to improve rack safety and installation and work to develop two new codes of practice is well underway with their publication dates anticipated in early 2014. 

These two major priorities for the SEMA Technical Committee (STC) were launched in June at the Annual Standards Seminar. SEMA’s Colin Hinton led on the design and use of rack protectors and previewed our authoritative Code of Practice. While physical rack protection should be the last line of defence, the SEMA code will clearly define design and testing requirements and allocate specific responsibilities to suppliers, installers and end users.

Mike Savage presented on 2013 developments to the SEMA Installation Document: Guide to Method Statements for the Installation of Storage Equipment  and the document is being updated. With the blessing of the HSE, the revision is to be formalised as a Code of Practice as it will enable the enforcement process to be more effective. The Code will provide definitive advice on how to develop a method statement for building all manner of racking and shelving installations from 30m high to as low as 2m high, as we know far more people are injured in low fall incidents.

Also at the seminar, Alan Schofield reviewed BS 5454: Archive Shelving & Related Standards Development and Alan Worrell outlined SEMA’s work with ERF/FEM European interfaces. There is to be a five year review of BS EN: 15512, the European CEN design standard and also BS EN: 15620: Tolerances, deformations and clearances. Key to this debate is floor tolerances as uneven surfaces have a substantial effect upon safe FLT operations especially when a mast is fully extended. If one wheel of a truck hits a very small 3mm high bump, a mast extended to full height of say 11.3metres will sway and create 24mm of movement, possibly damaging both truck and racking. (See sketch)

SEMA manufactured products are independently assessed and our interface with the University of Strathclyde has been continued by the University of Salford. The first product design assessments have been completed in a pilot programme and it’s our goal to complete the process for all SEMA manufacturers as soon as practicable.

One Small Step for Man was theme for our well attended Annual Safety Conference on November 7th. Two HSE inspectors covered critical aspects of safety in the workplace. Dr Sarah Haynes reviewed Noise and Hand Arm Vibration in terms of how to control risk and what measures should be adopted. In Asbestos: Is that Still Around? Michael Bone discussed what to do if this hazardous material is encountered, both practically and in terms of legislation.

SEMA’s Richard Taylor and Stewart Howard delivered up to date guidance on establishing and maintaining a safe storage system including racking inspections and action planning. Alan Worrell of SEMA’s technical committee spoke on the latest developments on load notices and referred to best industry practice plus how to conform to legislation.

Other themes by independent speakers included Attachments to FLTs (Dean Mansell of Briggs Equipment), Hearing Protection as Safety Wear (hearing technical specialist, Matthew Green of Arco) and Building a Robust Safety Culture (Harry Gallagher, head of behavioural safety at McNaughton McGregor).

SEIRS installer training
CSCS recognises the unique value of the Storage Equipment Installer Registration Scheme (or SEIRS for short). So much so that anyone installing storage equipment needs a SEIRS card in order to renew their CSCS status. For us, the continued development of industry-specific knowledge, skills and experience is not an option as it’s obvious that a once-and-for-all qualification simply won’t equip an installer for future challenges and changes in legislation. Therefore, it’s mandatory that all of our SEIRS trained installers must attend a refresher course every three years to continue to carry their SEIRS registration card. Training is built upon changes in SEMA’s codes of practice and we manage the scheme via a centralised database. Its success over more than a decade has particularly impressed our European counterparts who are potentially adopting our initiative.

In October and November 2013 alone, we ran 14 SEIRS training courses. New MEWPS content has been added to the Advanced courses and is likely to be included in the Refresher training later. A new shelving course is currently being developed.

‘Noise’ in relation to specific racking activities such as frame assembly has come under scrutiny and work on a new ‘Tool Box Talk’ for the site supervisor to deliver is underway.

More qualified rack inspectors required
The HSE’s guidance on rack safety to warehouse owners and staff is three fold: immediate reporting of damage and defects; visual inspections at regular intervals; and ‘expert’ inspection to be carried out at intervals by competent persons. A qualified SEMA Approved Rack Inspector or SARI is deemed ‘competent’, commits to continual professional development, carries an ID card and can show SARI certification. With the publication date of our Code of Practice on Rack Protection drawing nearer, SEMA would like to hear from committed individuals willing to undergo this most rigorous system of intensive training followed by examination and practical assessment.