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Aiming for zero accidents

03 November 2014

Jaap Vos, President of the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association 2012-2014 looks at SEMA’s sphere of influence, concerns and achievements over the last 12 months.

With the ultimate aim of arriving at a zero-accident working environment, for 50 years the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (or SEMA) has continued to lead and influence on safety across a wide spectrum of our industry. 

The year 2014 has been no exception. Our five groups which comprise SEMA manufacturers, SEMA distributor companies  (SDCs), SEMA approved installation companies (SAICs), the SEIRS installer training programme and SEMA approved racking inspectors (SARIs) are each engaged in the implementation of industry best practice at all stages of storage design, installation and maintenance. Their initiatives are broad ranging.

Preventing falls from height was a key theme at SEMA’s November Annual Safety Conference "Safety in the Storage Industry: Working towards Zero Harm”. Unfortunately, HSE statistics still cite falls from height in the food and drink industries as the third highest cause of fatal injury, (comprising 20% of fatal accidents) and they also result in around 80 major injuries each year. The main point to note is that risk assessments need to follow laid-down statutory hierarchy.

HSE Inspector Michael Bone outlined how the body operates the ‘Fee for Intervention’ scheme where those who break the law are liable for the recovery of the HSE’s costs related to the incident.

Other themes comprised PUWER and CE marking; interacting with the Regulator and how best to guard against enforcement action; the end user’s responsibilities in implementing a safe place of work; choosing the right forklift for the application and how the employee can be expected to minimise forklift damage to adjustable pallet racking; how the correct use of lighting contributes to a safer working environment and the standard applicable to eye protection.

Stadco Automotive’s Simon Randall talked about the challenges and successes faced by this international Tier-One supplier of automotive products and services in order to enhance its safety management system across the board.

SEMA’s technical committee (STC) continues to tackle potential safety risks. At the health and safety conference, the group’s chairman Steve Cowen addressed one area of real concern, that of rack repairs. The STC is currently developing a technical note on the practice of rack repairs by straightening bent uprights using a hydraulic ram. It is envisaged that their guidance will be available in early 2015.

This year has seen a number of new publications in the market place. Launched at the annual standards seminar in Q2, the SEMA Code of Practice for the Design of Adjustable Pallet Racking has been fully revised and is now available at a cost of £149. The SEMA Guide to Erection Tolerances has also been revised. The SEMA Guide to the Specification of Mezzanine Floors has been withdrawn as other information is readily available from other sources.

SEMA’s ever popular ‘Toolbox Talks’ for site supervisors have been expanded to include Noise during Storage Equipment Installation and Personal protection: Dust.  A full set of all 39 guidance notes is available on CD Rom priced at £72. SEMA is working on a new Guide to Erection Tolerances for installers and users; and how to design pallet gates on mezzanines with safety in mind.

Every SDC member has now been rigorously audited against 25 measureable checkpoints by independent QA assessors, QCS International. Over 40% of our members scored over 80% and 12 of our number scored over 90%. Yes we lost a couple of firms along the way but that’s a good thing as our QA system is robust! However, we’ve gained three more so a big welcome to Stodec Products Ltd, PD Industrial and The Racking Installation Co. Ltd.

When purchasing a storage system you can now easily check on a storage firm’s quality credentials, by asking to see the supplier’s current SDC Audit Certificate.  The certificate is proof that the leg work has been done for you. With an SDC member, the correct health and safety standards are in place, they use only trained labour, storage is correctly designed and the firm carries appropriate insurance.

A short video on the benefits of choosing a SEMA Distributor Company and a list of regional members can be found at sema.org.uk/SDC.

Storax and Moresecure remained victorious at the SDC Supplier of the Year awards 2014. This year it was Storax that scooped the top honour with Moresecure as runner up, reversing last year’s rankings.

The merits of choosing a SEMA Approved Installation Company are about to be launched in digital media. Finishing touches are being made to a best practice film set in a 66,000 sq. ft. warehouse with 221 bays over 11 levels. It will demonstrate how adjustable pallet racking is safely constructed in a real, live build pallet racking project, using the trained and qualified personnel of a ‘SAIC’. SEMA is inviting likeminded quality installation companies to apply for membership.

SEMA’s programme of courses has been RoSPA approved. Recently, the leading certification card scheme for construction the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) backed SEMA’s requirement for SEIRS installer training to be on-going in the storage equipment industry on the basis that safety is of paramount importance and that regulations continually evolve. Refresher training is seen an integral and essential part of this mission.

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.