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SEMA '17 is shaping what safety looks like

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15 February 2017

By Chris O’Connor, the new President of SEMA, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association 

2017 sees SEMA enter its 50th year of service to the handling and storage industry. The underlying theme to our agenda this year is that of “Safeguarding".

We work by continual evolution not revolution, and so 2017 will comprise broadening the scope and reach of SEMA’s firm influence in order to continually shape what safety looks like.

Our programme of work sets out to impact on each of our member groups, increasing rigour among manufacturers, distributors, approved installation companies, racking inspectors and installers. The outcome for end users is surety of compliance and Return on Investment through a four step process, of safe design, quality manufacture, safe installation and safe maintenance.

Each Full SEMA manufacturer member already commits to meeting SEMA’s codes of practice. Their design processes must be assessed and approved by an independent body. 

The members of the SEMA Distributor Group, now consisting of 30 leading Distributor Companies, are due for their three yearly re-audit and the first of these commenced in November. To ensure continuous improvement takes place, the scope of questions has been widened to embrace training, competency, process improvement and customer satisfaction. SEMA Approved Installation Companies (SAICs) are also to submit to an independently audited QA process.

SEMA and its member companies are taking the lead, investing to raise standards and differentiating themselves in the eyes of their customers. SEMA wishes to encourage more like-minded companies who recognise the benefits of operating under the SEMA brand.

SEMA Racking Inspectors (SARIs) number over 100. Levels and types of inspection are now under evaluation in order to ensure consistent service nationwide which is supported by SEMA Technical Bulletin No.5 and an updated code of practice currently in development.

SARI courses are incredibly popular and we are witnessing unprecedented levels of demand including international delegates attending from the Far East including Singapore, Thailand and China to the UAE, together with many of our European neighbours.

SEMA’s international reputation also means that it works extensively alongside European bodies, the European Racking Federation (ERF) and FEM to share its experience and influence in the development of European CEN standards.

SEMA training remains a key remit. In tandem with our revised Code of Practice for the Design and Use of Cantilever Racking Systems, our recently launched cantilever courses have been finely tuned so that both SARIs and end users can derive the greatest benefit.

A key role of any trade body is the development of definitive publications and we have to our credit, circa 75 to date. Brand new with commercial ROI in mind, our Code of Practice on Live Storage has needed updating as it supports that sector of the market where you can’t afford for date-specific products to be sat around in the warehouse. Work is active on this material. 

In addition an update is being carried out on the Guide to installation Method statements which is being turned into a Code of Practice which is more enforceable with a lot of additional guidance on Method Statements. The method statement part is guidance only as it is possible to have a number of safe ways of building the same structure and the SEMA method is acknowledged as being only one.

SEMA is recognised as a governing training body of the UK storage industry and in 2016, we earned the right to manage our own dedicated, registered training scheme which meets the standards imposed by the Construction Leadership Council. The Storage Equipment Installers’ Registration Scheme (SEIRS) was approved to operate as a Partner Card Scheme as it meets the requirements of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). Benefits of an easily identifiable, accredited workforce to main contractors looking to comply with CDM regulations are measurable.

Implementing SEMA’s rationale really does mean that continual investment in safety does deliver on ROI. A well-designed racking system built to SEMA Codes of Practice offers longevity so you can access products at the right time, goods remain merchandisable and staff can work in a safe environment. 


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