As SEMA celebrate their 50th anniversary, Jaap Vos, President of SEMA, sets out their accomplishments and looks forward to the next half century.

Since the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association first launched in 1968, SEMA has forged its reputation for excellence to become the lead voice on safe storage practice. Today, over 165 SEMA member businesses, together with committees and training initiatives, combine their knowledge, skill and expertise as the British Trade Association of the Storage Equipment Industry. SEMA’s mission is our commitment to promoting and extending the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by our members. Whether your business is small, medium or large, our guidance is easily available so you can operate a safe working environment and stay within the law.

So where did it all start?

In 1968, a group of storage manufacturers came together with the collective aim of sharing best practice and improving industry standards. Even before the HSE set up in 1975, SEMA members wanted to distinguish themselves from the rank and file and in 2019 we still lead where others follow. Our provision embraces:

Technical excellence that’s well connected The work of our Technical Committee is well renowned, providing definitive technical guidance, codes of practice and other publications. Leadership continues at both national and European levels through membership of the British Materials Handling Federation (BMHF) and Le Federation Europeenne de la Manutention (FEM). SEMA is the UK National Committee Member of one of FEM’s seven product groups; Racking and Shelving. Thought leadership events for both industry and end users complete the picture.

Both HSE and Local Authority senior personnel attract end-user attendance as key speakers at SEMA’s events.


SEMA manufacturers and associates rank among the very best in the world. They are largely (but not all) members of global manufacturing organisations for whom the principles of quality, safety and reliability are fundamental to long standing market success. And so, they are best placed to provide advice on safety risks and other essential requirements.

Under the remit of due diligence, we seek to prove that SEMA products are some of the very best on the market. Members are compelled to continuously engage in independent product design assessments carried out by the University of Salford. We are reviewing the technical processes required in the design of racking materials which will fit neatly into our manufacturing quality assurance scheme.

Rack Inspection & Rigorous Maintenance SEMA advocates a rigorous approach to rack inspection, maintenance and repair through a regime of (typically) daily, weekly and annual (expert) inspections. SEMA has some 120+ Approved Inspectors who are highly qualified professionals and who complete the SEMA circle of quality by undertaking rack inspections at end-users’ premises. They conduct racking and storage condition assessments, reports and recommendations so that all places of employment can operate as safe environments. SEMA’s acclaimed traffic light system of categorizing rack damage has been adopted as the industry standard and is employed widely in the UK, across Europe and globally.

Groups & Training

Through SEMA’s interconnected structures, our membership groups provide to the market audited distributors and installation companies who can prove their credentials by working to relevant codes. They are routinely, independently audited to meet our stringent QA criteria. What’s more, all the training that we deliver is approved by the Royal Society for The Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Working with Statutory Authorities

Over half a century, SEMA has forged close working relationships with the statutory authorities including the HSE, local authority health & safety inspectors, RoSPA and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSS). The Storage Equipment Installers’ Registration Scheme (SEIRS) is recognised by the CSCS as it meets CLC criteria for their Partner Card Scheme.

SEMA mitigates risk for you

All SEMA members actively help you mitigate risk. From a broad base, each contributes to a central repository of intelligence leading to continual improvement which is shared appropriately among the membership. As every project is unique and SEMA manufacturers have developed the most comprehensive range of systems, we are best placed to respond to legislative change and to offer the most comprehensive support to customers, whatever their need. While national organisations are usually well resourced on safety issues, SEMA believes that many small to medium sized businesses that could benefit from the expert support offered by a SEMA member company as pressure on SMEs continues to grow.


1968 SEMA established – manufacturer group

1970s SEMA engages with HSC/HSE/ERF

1974 Health and Safety at Work Act

1975 Health and Safety Commission becomes HSE

1980 SEMA Design Code introduced

1980 circa Joined BMHF

1992 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

1994 HSC reviews Health and Safety regulation

1994 CDM launched – revised 2015

2000 SEIRS launched

2002 SEMA Rack Safety Awareness Course launched

2003 First SEMA Safety Conference

2004 SEMA Approved Inspector qualification launched

2005 HSG Work at Height

2006 SEMA Approved Installation Company initiative

2007 Warehousing and storage: HSE guide to Health and Safety

2011 SEMA Distributor Group launched

2015 SEIRS becomes CSCS Partner Card

2019 SEMA celebrates 50th Anniversary


• 165 members (including over 100 approved inspectors)

• 100 training courses per year

• Over 75 definitive technical publications

• Over 6000 SEIRS installers and seven different courses

• SEIRS recognised by CSCS for Partner Card Scheme

• Annual safety conference and two-yearly technical seminar.

For more information, telephone 0121 6016 359 or email


Comments are closed.

Get Warehouse & Logistics News delivered to your inbox for FREE
Join over 45k subscribers