Feature Warehouse Safety in W&LN - SEMA's Onion Skin Approach to Rack Inspectionback to list
01 June 2018
SEMA’s Onion Skin Approach to Rack Inspection
Guidance on best practice from SEMA’s Technical Committee
SEMA, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association has refreshed its rigorous approach to rack inspections. There are three main reasons for an inspection (which is not a substitute for deficient, defective or absent specification, design, installation, training or maintenance).
- To check the condition of equipment for health and safety reasons and identify repair work
- To comply with legal requirements, providing a safe place of work and ensure that work equipment is suitable
- To verify that equipment has been installed correctly
Appoint a PRRS
Firstly, appoint a Person Responsible for Racking Safety (PRRS) to maintain safe operation of the warehouse storage system, rack inspection and maintenance records. They need the skills necessary to inspect damage, report and analyse damage data, identify trends, propose/implement action and, most importantly, have the authority to implement action.
SEMA’s “Onion Skin” Approach
The SEMA “Onion” consists of three layers with three overlapping levels of inspection
- Immediate (used to be called the daily) inspection
- Regular (used to be called the weekly) inspection
- Expert (annual) inspection
Immediate inspections require the reporting of all damage and areas of concern to the PRRS who will evaluate the seriousness. Warehouse staff should be encouraged to report damage immediately as they are often the best position to notice if racking has been damaged. Reporting should follow There should be documented procedures with records kept on the follow up action. Keep it simple for effectiveness!
The PRRS should ensure documented inspections are undertaken by a suitably trained individual. Frequency should be weekly or at other intervals based on a risk assessment of the operating conditions of the warehouse, preferably at a quiet time. This inspection should check that Loading is as specified on the safe load notice on the end of the run of racking, correct use is being followed and if there are any missing components.
The expert inspection should be carried out by a technically trained and competent person e.g. SEMA Approved Rack Inspector (SARI). It may be a trained specialist within the organisation, a specialist from the rack supplier, or an outside contractor. Frequency depends upon risk assessment but is usually yearly. A documented report will identify damage and give guidance and comment on other warehouse activities.
Two very different types of SARI inspection prevail. A “damage only” inspection provides a list of damaged items and their location. A full SARI report, also offers far more very useful detail – see SEMA Technical Bulletin 5 and below.
The inspector will use simple measuring equipment, work in a logical, systematic way, and record results of the inspection so that others can act accordingly. Both regular inspection and SARI Expert inspections are normally a visual inspection from ground level, so working at height shouldn’t be necessary. Cluttered aisles make any sort of inspection difficult!
Full SARI inspection
The full SARI inspection will check immediate and regular scrutiny is being carried out; identify/check rack configuration, type and identification of manufacturer and general identification of components. Load notices will be checked for accuracy. It will provide inspection results and classification the damage using the SEMA Red / Amber / Green traffic light reporting system. It will confirm that damaged components are being replaced as required and will report if this is not so. The report will also identify repetitive damage and propose solutions/modifications to avoid or minimise further repetitive damage. Vitally, it will notify of any Red Risks present!
SEMA recommend that a risk assessment and method statement for inspection is incorporated into company procedure. SEMA’s Code of Practice for the Use of Static Racking (is available as a free pdf from . In addition, the a new SEMA Guide to the Conduct of Inspections is also available. Both are very useful documents.
For training or further details, contact SEMA here or call 0121 6016359