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SEMA’s Load Notices Carry Weight

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20 December 2015

SEMA’s Load Notices Carry Weight

Load signs need careful scrutiny by the customer to ensure that they actually do help protect workers from injury. Alan Worrell of SEMA’s Technical Committee clarifies end users’ responsibilities and summarises the origins and value of this key piece of signage.

Why display load signs?  For safety, of course. While safety and warning signs are all around us, it’s easy to forget or to be blasé, but storage equipment carries heavy loads. A typical one-tonne pallet weighs the same as a small car. If it falls from 10m high, it’s doing about 30mph by the time it hits the ground.

All suppliers provide some safety information on load notices. What’s on display can range from just a simple list of dos and don'ts through to the full O&M manual. It’s assumed that all operational personnel are suitably trained but load notices act as timely reminders of important points. Giving specifics of a particular installation is always useful.

Back in the 1980s, recommendations made in SEMA’s Code of Practice for the Use of Static Pallet Racking  comprised a maintenance notice, a warning notice and a load notice; and some older jobs will still have these displayed. Since then, a raft of documentation in terms of EC Directives and British Standards has developed both continual guidance and uniform, safety signage.  

The regulations define four types of notice of specific shape and using specific colours. Still in use today, they represent; prohibition – a sign prohibiting behaviour likely to cause a risk to health or safety (e.g. no smoking); warning – a sign giving a warning of a risk to health or safety (e.g. fire risk); an information sign (such as Muster Point) and a mandatory sign prescribing behaviour (e.g. wear ear protectors).

Official SEMA Load Notice

An official SEMA Load Notice intends to give main points to workers ‘on the shop floor’ as they carry out their duties. It conveys key pieces of specific information and delivers reminders of the most important safety messages. The SEMA Load Notice cannot offer every last piece of safety information.  It is split into three main parts; general safety information, installation specific information and administrative information.

An important safety requirement, SEMA recommends that the Load Notice’s format conforms to the appropriate layout advised in its publication  “Load Notices”*(available from SEMA).

The provider of the Load Notice is supplying a notification of how to load the structure safely. As such, the supplier of the Load Notice is taking on a responsibility for the loading information provided on it. It’s the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the Load Notice conforms to SEMA’s publication *Load Notices and that the correct SEMA logo is displayed. Re-located racking should have its loading integrity verified by either the OEM or through full traceability of the design parameters.

SEMA has spent almost half a century developing the know-how to maximise your assets in three ways; by capitalising on your building’s space to profitable advantage; through the design and installation of storage systems that are fit for purpose while preventing damage to items stored; and with the utmost respect for the health and safety of personnel.

It is the British Trade Association of the Storage Equipment Industry. It is committed to promoting and extending the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by its members.

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