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SEMA Always Aims High

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26 October 2017

By Jaap Vos, President of SEMA, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association

SEMA's influence is well recognised and cultural change has been adopted by some of our best-known companies, some of which have global reach. Our 2017 safety conference on November 2nd will welcome a number of speakers who have embraced SEMA's codes of practice and the association's prescribed methods of racking inspection, maintenance and repair.

We also appreciate the help and support of statutory bodies including the HSE and Worcestershire Regulatory Services. Jenny Skeldon, Inspector at the HSE will set the scene by briefing the audience on the statutory body’s current priorities with reference to inspection strategies, statistics and sentencing guidelines. Ray Cooke, Head of the HSE’s Construction Safety Unit will present findings on the use of safety harnesses with MEWPS from his work on the Strategic Forum for Plant Safety.

Fire protection in warehouses remains a key issue says in-house expert for SIG Distribution, Nigel Gillingham who is their National Fire Protection Officer. With 24 years of experience on the subject, Nigel states that there are two types of protection; active and passive. Passive protection covers the structure of the building and its fabric which needs to comply with Building Regulations Approved Document B2 for non-dwellings. The installation of a sprinkler system is the best example of active protection.

Some Go-To opportunities and examples will be given by Peter Maloney, senior practitioner, Environmental Health, Worcestershire Regulatory Services. He says; "Companies with multi-site operations can often find themselves receiving conflicting advice when seeking to establish a uniform approach to site storage safety. By investing in a Primary Partnership Agreement, specialist can work alongside a business to provide assured advice and help prevent enforcement action being taken."

Stationery leader ACCO brands has some 6500 employees in 21 countries. Lee King who is director of Environment Health Safety & Facilities for Europe manages 17 operations. Eleven are factories with distribution centres and six are distribution centres only. The three leading UK sites are in Halesowen, Workington and Aylesbury. Lee set up an annual audit system "sampling" in depth say ten pieces of equipment or interviewing ten people at a time. The findings outlined issues such as the need to comply with PUWER and LOLER which was acted upon. The company takes safety extremely seriously. Should there be a lost time accident. ACCO's chairman sits on the board of any hearing. The stationery brand also runs a number of focussed events such as Global Safety Day.

David Robertson is a Senior Health and Safety Manager for Coca-Cola European Partners GB Business Unit (CCEP), part of his remit is to support CCEP'S six manufacturing sites across GB to meet legal and ISO requirements.  With 17 years in the CCEP system, he moved to his new role in January 2017 and identified opportunities in the way that racking was being inspected and maintained.  Working with internal stakeholders and with the input from SEMA they have standardised operating procedures, inspection checklists and technical racking training that will help them improve the way racking is managed across the GB network.

Neil Beacock, Health and Safety Officer for Skymark Packaging International explains how the company has managed growing pains; “Skymark has grown to become one of the leading independent manufacturers of flexible film packaging solutions in Europe. I first came across SEMA as part of RTITB training three years ago. Our first task was to look across the board at compliance based on SEMA’s codes of practice. The board supported the removal of outdated equipment and invested in large sections of SEMA manufactured adjustable pallet racking. Film is a heavy product and each pallet weighs in at around one to two tonnes. Our sites operate two 12 hours shifts a day. Racking is audited daily; damaged areas are taken out of commission and SARI inspections are conducted every six months. There’s been a positive knock effect. Employees have seen us invest in their jobs and amazingly, absenteeism has reduced.”

SEMA’s own personnel, Lionel Drage and Alan Worrell complete the line up. Lionel presents on what constitutes an effective sign off and Alan illustrates the “Onion Skin” approach to types of inspection alongside a guideline for the different levels of inspection and associated responsibilities. Leading providers offer guidance information in an informal exhibition during break out periods.

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