Q. We have a warehouse containing high level pallet racking and use this to store palleted products.
What are the recommended inspection times for this type of racking? Is it annual by a competent person and if so would the competent person be expected to have undertaken some form of training on racking inspections to demonstrate competency?
A. SEMA recommends that racking inspections should be carried out on an onion skin approach. First of all the equipment operators are the first line of defence and should always be encouraged to report damage as it occurs. In order to achieve this there should be a ‘no blame’ culture or nothing will ever be reported. Also the operators need to see that things happen as a result of reporting some damage or again nothing will be reported.
The second line of defence should be a regular supervisors’ weekly patrol inspection carried out with the express purpose of checking the racking. This should be done at weekly intervals, normally at a standard walking pace, keeping documented records of the inspection and action points resulting from the inspection. SEMA run one day ‘Rack Awareness’ courses at West Bromwich where a supervisor can obtain some training about what is required from inspections.
The final level of protection is the formal inspection that should be carried out every 6 or 12 months depending on the level of activity in the warehouse. A high throughput warehouse operating 24/7 would be at the lower end of the range and indeed might need inspections every three months in some circumstances. In slower moving single shift environments the inspection could be at the top end of the scale. This would be the competent person inspection that you refer to and while HSE are keen to ensure a high standard in such inspectors they will not insist that it is work that can only be done by people with a certain level of qualification. SEMA run a SARI (SEMA Approved Rack inspector) qualification whereby a rack inspector can demonstrate the level of training and competence to a client – this course is of a very high standard and has a significant failure rate! If you need such a person you will find an up to date list of qualified SARI inspectors together with contact details on the SEMA web site www.sema.org.uk
Having said all the above it is possible for an inspector to demonstrate his competency by means other than this course and this would be a matter between the inspector and the client.
Status of installers/suppliers
Q I work in a warehouse that has medium duty racking that is 3 metres high and holds 2 ton per shelf. There is some damaged racking and some new racking is to be installed to the same specifications.
However this racking is getting repaired / installed by a non SEMA registered company and I am worried that this might be against HSE rules. Can you please comment on this situation?
A. First of all there is no legal requirement in the UK to have any particular qualification to work in the supply or installation of racking. It might be good practice to do this and in the event of an accident or a collapse there might be some serious regret by a purchaser if there was no third party confirmation of the standard of material being supplied or the quality of the installation process. However this is a contract arrangement between supplier and purchaser and is therefore a case of ‘buyer beware’.
We believe that most of the reputable rack manufacturers in the UK are SEMA members and as part of this membership undertake to have their design, manufacture and installation systems independently checked by British Standards Institution twice per year under the SEMA run QAS 2000 scheme.
Unfortunately this is not the case with non-members and as we said above there is no legal restriction on someone setting up in business importing racking from a low cost overseas manufacturer and providing loading information and installation services to whatever standard they might choose. This would be a contract between the supplier and the customer and if anything went wrong then the legal redress would follow this route. The problem is that such a supplier might have little in the way of assets to claim against in the event of a judgement going against them. It has to be said that most suppliers are very sound organisations and a good long term experience of your supplier is very desirable.
However the choice of supplier/installer is ultimately a commercial arrangement though SEMA would recommend as good practice the use of a SEMA member for supply and SEIRS trained installers to provide a high class build.
SEMA Technical Enquiries
We hope you find the above articles, and those in previous editions, interesting. If you have a query send it to us by fax or email and we will do our best to have it answered by one of our technical experts.
SEMA Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection Courses
SEMA runs a one-day safety course on Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection. These courses are aimed at end users, giving an in-depth look at the need for inspections, how to conduct an assessment and what actions to take when this is completed. These courses are normally held at the SEMA headquarters but arrangements can be made to hold them at the delegates’ premises.
SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors Qualification
This qualification is aimed at professionals who conduct rack surveys as an integral and significant part of their duties. It involves delegates undertaking an in-depth SEMA Course, together with an examination and practical assessment. CPD will be an important part of the qualification, demonstrating to end users that SEMA Approved Inspectors maintain a high professional standard.
SEMA publishes a number of documents including Codes of Practice, ‘Guides’ and European documents – all of which are available from our Office. For further information on these documents contact SEMA or visit our website, www.sema.org.uk. and click on ‘Codes of Practice’.
SEMA USERS Club
SEMA runs a USERS Club designed to be of benefit to purchasers and users of storage equipment. Members receive newsletters, access to specialised events and discounted rates on publications and codes of practice. For further information contact SEMA.
sema Tel: 0121 601 6350 www.sema.org.uk