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How does SEMA lead on safe storage

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08 September 2016

Major brands and industry experts will present at SEMA's annual safety conference 'Safety in the Storage industry: Meeting Customers' Expectations on Thursday 3rd Nov at the National Motorcycle Museum'

In 2017, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association, or SEMA, enters its 50th year. This feature looks at its role today, its groups and how they interrelate to lead the UK storage industry towards a competitive, zero accident place to work.

SEMA 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.

SEMA’s job is to provide accurate, generic guidance and a structured approach on how to get the best out of your assets by maximising your building’s space to profitable advantage. This is achieved 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.

The association builds ever closer links with statutory and lead bodies including the HSE, CSCS and RoSPA. It has around 165 members (including racking inspectors), runs circa 100 training courses a year, has published 75 definitive technical documents and since its introduction in 2000, trained over 4000 SEIRS installers.

Three steps to safety

Safe, efficient storage follows a three-step process; design, installation and maintenance and SEMA’s extensive network operates UK-wide.

Full SEMA members

Full membership of SEMA is open to companies who manufacture storage equipment in the UK and supply original equipment.  Investing in R & D, each member’s design is required to be third-party independently assessed, a huge measure of robust manufacture and service. Full members offer up their senior people to SEMA’s technical committee.

SEMA Distributor Companies

SEMA Distributor Companies supply end users with storage systems which meet SEMA standards. They are highly distinguishable in the market as their processes have been independently audited on 25 key quality measures. Firms displaying the SDC logo are up to scratch on health and safety, the use of trained labour and correct storage design. As proof, their certificate is valid for the year shown. The SDC quality standard is beginning to appear as a pre-requisite on many end-user tender forms. Watch a short video at

SEIRS trained installers

In 2000, SEMA recognised need for trained labour and set up the SEIRS registered training scheme for installers which now offers six different courses. Commended by CSCS and RoSPA, there are now over 4000 fully qualified personnel out there. SEIRS is the ONLY scheme which insists on three yearly refresher courses. To support best practice in the workplace, SEMA’s ever popular ‘Toolbox Talks’ for site supervisors now numbers 40.

SEMA Approved Installation Companies

SEMA Approved Installation Companies, or SAICs, are also audited and can show their current certificate. Their installers must be SEIRS registered, of which an appropriate number trained to SEIRS Supervisory level. Watch a demonstration video on safe rack construction here

SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors

Racking collapse and subsequent potential prosecution are simple to avoid where there is a safety culture and that correct protocols for inspection, maintenance and repair exist. It’s the duty of an employer to manage risk to life and property who must always demonstrate a safe system of work. Staff need to be ‘safety aware' in that damage is reported immediately, inspections are undertaken weekly or monthly by a suitably qualified individual and the need to employ an external  qualified rack inspector to undertake a six monthly or annual audit is recognised.

SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors (SARIs) are highly qualified professionals specifically trained to SEMA standards and must undertake on-going Continuous Professional Development (CPD). When visiting sites, their recommendations on implementation are based on a traffic light system. Green requires surveillance where defined damage limits are not exceeded as per the SEMA Code of Practice. Amber damage requires ‘Action a.s.a.p.’ or normally within a four-week period. A Red risk indicates serious damage where repairs with identical new parts are required, in line with SEMA’s Code of Practice.

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