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SEMA's approach to Safeguarding Storage

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30 November 2017

SEMA’s approach to Safeguarding Storage

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

When choosing a new storage system, the three key criteria to look for are a safe working environment, accessibility to assets and minimising potential damage to products stored.

On safety, help is at hand from SEMA, or the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association which is the 50-year-old British trade association of the storage equipment industry that’s well equipped to offer holistic structure and support on compliance to purchasers and users of storage equipment. We continually spearhead the drive to promote and extend the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by our members.

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

Our member groups comprise Full Manufacturing Members, SEMA Distributor Companies, SEMA Approved Installation Companies, SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors and SEIRS registered and trained installers. All classes of membership are required to use SEIRS qualified labour.  They all must meet rigorous measures which are laid down on quality control as a condition of belonging to the association. We all come together to share best practice at our Annual Combined Meeting.

During 2017, as the lead body for the storage industry, we have continued to build on existing working partnerships with statutory and other prominent bodies such as the HSE, RoSPA, CSCS and more. We’ve helped our industry colleagues interpret and implement revised CDM regulations and respect the new Sentencing Guidelines. We also represent them on European bodies of standardisation 

We deliver on safeguarding in three key ways; by creating published standards though SEMA codes of practice; by staging industry educational events; and through the provision of industry-specific training. Our work is supported though the development of 75 definitive publications, several informative videos and by communicating with both end-users and industry members through promotional channels.

Don’t risk it at the lights

Whether you’re in your car or in the warehouse, taking risks at traffic lights spells danger. In 2017, SEMA has refreshed its approach to rack inspections. Its popular fortnightly one-day safety course on “Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection for End Users” takes an in-depth look at the need for inspections. The day details how to conduct an assessment and outlines what actions to take when the assessment is completed. Companies who don’t operate a structured approach to rack inspection and repair may risk invalidating their commercial insurance policy.

SEMA operates a nationwide network of SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors (SARIs) who, when he or she undertakes an inspection, provides a report and traffic light system indicates actions required and over what timescale. A Red risk indicates serious damage. Immediate offloading of the rack is required with repairs using the OEM components required, in line with SEMA’s Code of Practice. Amber damage requires ‘timely action’ and normally within a four-week period. Green requires surveillance where defined damage limits are not exceeded as per the SEMA Code of Practice for the Use of Static Racking (available from the SEMA website). The perils of ignoring Green risks are detailed in our blog at http://www.hsssearch.co.uk/page_895747.asp

Events in 2017

SEMA’s first full day technical seminar on 6th June proved to be a major success. Our eight speakers presented to a packed audience, bringing over 60 delegates up to date on European and UK issues facing all those working in the safe manufacture, design, supply and installation of storage systems.

Attendance at SEMA’s annual safety conference and exhibition “Aiming High on 2nd November grew to over 140 delegates when nine speakers including Coca-Cola, ACCO Stationery and Skymark Packaging brands explained their corporate approach to safety and recent measures of improvement. And some 40 years on, SEMA’s traffic light approach is still as fresh as daisy with each case study speaker highlighting its contribution to their safe maintenance regimes. There was input from the HSE on their current positive focus on health and the use of harnesses with MEWPS in construction.

Distributor Group achievements

The latest audit of SEMA Distributor Companies (SDCs) proves outstanding progress has been made since the process was initiated in 2014. Three years ago, the group set out to demonstrate that clear blue water exists between these businesses and other storage industry operators.

The evidence-based assessments for the 30-strong group reveal that every single member has passed scrutiny in 2017 with average scores improving by a comfortable margin to 86%. The percentage achieving Highly Commended has doubled to 61%. This means that every single SEMA Distributor Company can prove that their products and services meet and beat the SEMA QA standard by way of independent certification.

And a hat trick was scored in the SEMA Distributor Group (SDG) Supplier of the Year awards 2017.   For the third consecutive year, both Storax and Troax were selected as suppliers of choice. Storax retained the top honours, with Troax named as runner up.

While national organisations are usually being well resourced on safety issues, SEMA believes that many small to medium sized businesses that could benefit from the expert support offered by a SEMA member company as the pressures on SMEs continue to grow.

For more information, telephone 0121 6016359 or email enquiry@sema.org.uk.

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 seven different courses
  • SEIRS approved by CSCS for Partner Card Scheme
  • Annual safety conference  and regular technical seminar. 
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