Our first question this month asks about Load Notices and our second asks about SEMA Approved Racking.

Load Notices

Q. Hi I was looking at our Load Notices, I was just wondering how many should be used? Is there a recommendation on how many racking bays the signs should be fitted to.

A. There are no formal requirements on this point which depends on the circumstances of your particular application.

The fundamental requirement is that the operative is given the information to allow him / her to use the racking safely. This could be information on a drawing providing the user can prove that this information has been given to all the people that need to know this information. This is difficult, so HSE and SEMA recommend a load notice so that anyone who needs this information has access to it. (See ‘HSG 76 Warehousing and Storage – A guide to Health and Safety’ which is a free download from the HSE website.) As an example, if a whole of a block of racking in a single warehouse is serviced through a single door and is all to the same rack configuration a single sign on entry might be deemed acceptable as all drivers will see it as they enter the warehouse. If every run of racking has a different configuration then a different sign is required on each run (and sometimes more than one sign if the racking varies in type down the run). I think the most we have seen is four different signs on one end frame, indicating four different configurations down one aisle – a bit confusing, but it seemed to work for that company!

No written rules on this, however most people, even if all their rack is the same configuration tend to put a sign on every other double run of racking. It boils down to your specific risk assessment for the operations in that warehouse I am afraid!

SEMA Approved Racking

Q. We have some racking that requires installation. My question is does all racking need to be SEMA approved. The racking we require has a limit of 250kg, does this have to be SEMA Approved or is SEMA just for Pallet Racking?

A. Over the years SEMA has lead the way in developing codes of practice and standards in the UK with a requirement of SEMA membership being dependent on an independent audit of not only design and manufacturing but also of installation which is where the ‘installation training’ comes in.

This is referred to by the Health and Safety Executive in various publications, HSG 76 being most well-known that provides advice on such matters. (HSG 76 is a free download from HSE web site by the way and is well worth acquiring.) The fact that the loading on your installation will be relatively light does not affect the requirement that it should provide a safe method of storage and operatives are not endangered in the process. Having said this there is no ‘legal’ requirement for racking or shelving to be SEMA approved, or to be installed by SEMA trained or any other specifically named training organisation. The requirement is that the people involved must be competent in their work, and need a way of demonstrating how they earned that competency.

If an organisation chooses to ignore, or go against the advice given in HSE or SEMA guidelines it is possible to do that, however thought should be given to what would happen if a serious accident or injury occurred as a result of ignoring this ‘state of the art’ guidance!

Similarly in terms of supply, purchasing from a SEMA Manufacturer ensures that the quality of design manufacture and installation is independently assessed. However a non-SEMA overseas supplier for instance, selling into the UK could claim that they follow the requirements of the SEMA codes (which are publicly available), however the independent confirmation is not there, and some thought probably needs to be given to what the route of redress would be in the event of problems and how difficult that would be if it for instance redress had to be sought outside the UK legal framework.

The 2018 SEMA Safety

Conference has been scheduled for Thursday, 1 November; the venue will be the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull.

SEMA runs a one-day safety course on Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection. These courses are aimed at end users, giving an indepth look at the need for inspections, how to conduct an assessment and what actions to take when this is completed.

SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors Qualification is aimed at professionals who conduct rack surveys as an integral and significant part of their duties. SEMA has 26 publications in stock – Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Offices. SEMA runs a USERS Club designed to benefit purchasers and users of storage equipment. Members receive newsletters, access to specialised events and discounted rates.