SEMA-logoIt was good to see the retail sector taking a lead at SEMA’s Health & Safety Conference on November 1st. Neil Sheehan, Asda’s safety, health and environment manager spoke on how the retail giant chooses a supplier on the basis of safety.

Why? As illegal practices still exist. In September, food refrigeration firm George Baker & Co (Leeds) was fined £140,000 for failing to protect one of its workers from a fatal accident. A 61-year-old died after being crushed under an unsecured racking system at he had been told to dismantle. The HSE found there was no system to inspect and replace racking; no labels to indicate maximum weight loads, and workers were not trained in the correct procedures. The accident was deemed wholly preventable.

SEMA is the British Trade Association of the Storage Equipment Industry. It is committed to promoting and extending the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by its members.

Milestones this year include how our Technical Committee led in redefining archive storage with the publication of the new BS: PD5454:2012 ‘Guide for the storage and exhibition of archival materials’. Mobile shelving is usually the most efficient method of maximising investment. The new standard for mobile shelving PD5454:2012, which was promoted by SEMA at our Annual Standards Seminar in May, advocates a welcome increase of 25% to 4.8kPa per metre of height, which offers a recommended minimum of 15 kPa/m2.

CSCS now demands SEIRS labour and we’ve already trained more than 3,000 installers who’ve undertaken up to six SEIRS courses from basic skills through to installation manager. We’ve also developed over 300 ‘Tool Box Talks’ (TBT), for the site supervisor to deliver including one covering what do if asbestos is discovered.

The most recent group under the SEMA umbrella is the SEMA Distributor Group (SDG). Launched in September 2011, it currently brings together some 30 distributor members. New chairman Simon King is putting in place measures to collectively raise standards so that end-users to know that clear blue water exists between SDG members and the rest of the industry. The group has re-launched the Supplier of the Year Awards for best and most improved suppliers and is using its collective weight to influence manufacturers on service issues.

Meanwhile, more qualified rack inspectors are still required to swell the 60+ SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors (SARIs) on our books. A qualified SARI carries an ID card and can show certification which qualifies them to perform much needed regular ‘expert’ inspections.

By John Halliday, President of Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association.


Tel: 0121 601 6350

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