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Safety is SEMA’s burning issue

11 November 2016

SEMA’s burning issue always has and always will be delivering on safety in storage says Matt Grierson, President of SEMA, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association.

With almost half a century of service to this industry, the structure and standards which SEMA has needed to develop are to the benefit of everyone who works in our sector.

The principles are simple. Safe storage follows a cyclical approach; safe manufacture offering full traceability of product, safe design to meet SEMA’s strict codes of practice, safe installation by SEIRS qualified labour and a rigorous, structured approach to rack maintenance through inspection and repair.

Our 2016 campaign, Safety’s a Job for All actively supports the initiatives set by statutory bodies. We advised end users that they needed develop appropriate solutions to April 2015’s new CDM regulations where clients are now regarded as the head of the procurement chain and a project is deemed to be more than a construction site. 

We also informed both businesses and installation companies that as of February 2016, new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences came into force. Businesses and individuals now may face much greater fines and more individuals could face custodial sentences for serious offences than ever before.

Our 165-strong membership is a broad church and together they offer a holistic service covering all aspects of service.

Since compulsory independent auditing of SEMA Distributor Group (SDG) members was introduced in 2014, companies are increasingly requesting SDG membership on tender lists as they know that someone else has already done the leg work on health and safety, use of trained labour and correct storage design. We acknowledge that there’s a need to operate UK-wide, so, that’s where the SEMA Distributor Companies come into their own, as collectively, our group network has extensive geographical reach.

Recognised as the governing body of the UK storage industry, SEMA has earned the right to manage our own dedicated, registered training scheme which meets the standards imposed by the Construction Leadership Council. The Storage Equipment Installers’ Registration Scheme (SEIRS) has been approved to operate as a Partner Card Scheme as it meets the requirements of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). 

The SEMA Technical Committee has influence on both European and domestic audiences. There has been a SEMA major upgrade to the design code on Adjustable Pallet Racking (APR). SEMA has updated and published its Code of Practice for the Design and Use of Cantilever Racking Systems and added a Cantilever racking module to its Approved Inspector training programme.

The SEMA Rack Maintenance course continues to be popular with maintenance personnel working in heavily used warehouses. It works in parallel with SEIRS courses by responding to a demand for proper guidance on repairs to rack damage.  

Load notices video

End users have been reminded via an informational video that the SEMA Load Notice is a key safety item. This essential signage gives the main points to workers "on the shop-floor" as they carry out their duties. It also delivers key pieces of specific information and reminders about the most important safety messages and shows who supplied the equipment and whom to contact. There should be a SEMA Load Notice on every installation. As far as the load notice is concerned there are only two logos that are relevant - the SEMA Distributor Company logo and the main SEMA logo. However, it does not give every last piece of safety information. Load Notices is the third in a series of SEMA’s promotional videos which can be viewed on YouTube or via the SEMA website.

SEMA also exhibited at IMHX 2016 and SEMA’s Dagan Hyde delivered a presentation at the seminar at the event pointing out that in terms of ROI, safety is self-funding. His presentation illustrated SEMA’s defining principle i.e. that a well-designed racking system built to SEMA Codes of Practice offer longevity so you can access products at the right time, goods remain merchandisable and staff can work in a safe environment. At SEMA, we always say; “If you think safety’s too expensive, try having an accident”.

SEMA Safety Conference 2016

HSE’s Nina Day set the tone for the conference Safety in the Storage Industry: Meeting Customers’ Expectations, by saying that inadequate equipment, poor communication and insufficient training are key factors in causing workplace safety incidents.

Leading brands spoke of their unique challenges and successes. Asda Store’s, Neil Sheehan manages of 2000 construction projects every year. The business has embraced the 2015 CDM regulations and knows that as client, there is no place to hide in the event of an incident. He believes that nothing is that important that it can’t be done safely. The company has set about simplifying processes and channelling the expertise of its supply chain. Weetabix’s Karen Wheeler presented their safety initiatives and achievements over a 7-year period. A most recent programme, Peer2Peer, has harnessed the support of the unions in order to successfully reduce lost time accident rates.

John Lewis’s Andrew Noble is challenged with the safe use of variable storage methods to take account of peaks and troughs in consumer demand. Travis Perkins’, Helen Ballard operates a structured approach to the design, construction and maintenance of all storage operations to this large multi-branded estate. Simon Ambridge of drinks distributor, Matthew Clark has drawn on the expertise of Primary Authority Manager, Ellie Clark and the business has accessed support from the Better Regulation Delivery Office in order to ensure compliance and consistency UK wide. Birmingham City Council’s Health and Safety Inspector, Terry Mallard explained the protocols of enforcement saying that he uses SEMA’s guiding principles in judging the safety of storage installations.

SEMA’s outgoing President, Matt Grierson summed up by saying; “Today’s conference speakers have illustrated how safety in storage has a direct effect on the lives of workers and end users. From their presentations, it is clear that SEMA’s guidelines and codes of practice together with legislation are providing these organisations with some key elements of a firm structure to adhere to.” The event was sponsored by SESS and Troax.

Key facts about SEMA

• 165 members (including over 100 racking inspectors)

• 100 training courses per year

• 75 definitive technical publications

• Over 5000 SEIRS installers and six different courses

• SEIRS approved by CSCS for Partner Card Scheme