Supermarket giant ASDA, along with the major trade association, SEMA , the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association, has seized the initiative and sprinted ahead of other retailers to promote and secure the highest H&S standards.

Taking their responsibilities seriously, ASDA have assembled a Retail Health & Safety Forum with other supermarket chains to discuss and share best practice, a hugely valuable initiative. More significantly, they’ve circulated a manual of their H&S expectations – referred to as ‘The ASDA Way of Working’, to all companies in their supply chain, as well as to other well-known supermarkets and retailers.

A special inclusion in the manual, identified by Clive Johnson, ASDA’s Health, Safety & Environmental manager, is the value of input from trade associations. In particular, he highlighted SEMA – the trade association representing the storage equipment industry in the UK, Europe and beyond.

SEMA promotes the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by the industry and SEMA members. Since inception, one of the organisation’s key goals has been to improve safety standards. For example, SEIRS, the Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme, is a major SEMA initiative that is supported by the Health and Safety Executive. It’s designed to reduce the risk of accidents or injury in the work environment, to ensure compliance in the face of increasingly tough government legislation and to provide safety training based on SEMA Guidelines.

SEMA’s spokesman, Mike Tucker, said, “We are delighted that ASDA, in association with many more suppliers and retailers, will be specifying SEIRS. To ensure that risks are minimised and work-related accidents in the warehousing and storage sector can be prevented, we cannot emphasise the importance of understanding and implementing safety standards too highly.”

Also recognising the key role SEIRS can play, Johnson said “We included SEIRS with our ‘ASDA Way of Working’ manual to alert and inform our suppliers in order to ensure our storage systems are consistently the safest and the best. Not only does SEIRS provide guidelines for installing storage equipment, relevant codes of practice, an ID card and registration system, the scheme offers safety training courses for installers too. As you can imagine, with over 300 stores, ASDA’s warehouse infrastructure is vast and complex.
Therefore knowing that it’s being supplied to current standards and that equipment is being installed by trained personnel is immensely reassuring.”

Other supermarkets too will now be implementing ASDA’s Way of Working’ manual. Like ASDA, their suppliers and other well-known retailers, they will also be adopting SEMA’s guidelines in their operations, as well as other SEMA initiatives.

The health and safety initiatives taken by ASDA and SEMA, two industry leaders, clearly represent a major step forward in raising standards to protect staff, suppliers and customers in every retail environment.

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