SEMA President Jaap Vos celebrates with W & L News on its 20th anniversary issue and looks ahead to the association’s unending agenda on safer storage.

Sema-logoThe Warehouse and Logistics industry is indeed a mature market. As the lead British trade association for the storage equipment industry, SEMA is proud to have chalked up almost half a century of service and enjoys a national and international reputation for developing codes of practice and setting standards.

We’re an organisation committed to promoting and extending the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by our members. We work in partnership with regulatory authorities such as the HSE and CSCS. Our influence and contributions form part of legislation in defining new British Standards. A current SEMA initiative is contributing to the HSE Guidance note HSG246 Safety in the storage and handling of steel and other metal stock which is scheduled for distribution before end of March 2014.

A major priority for the SEMA Technical Committee (STC) is the launch of a new Code of Practice on rack protection which is due to publication in early 2014. While physical rack protection should be the last line of defence, the SEMA code will clearly define design and testing requirements and allocate specific responsibilities to suppliers, installers and end users.

The SEMA Installation Document: Guide to Method Statements for the Installation of Storage Equipment  (a good five years old) is being updated. With the blessing of the HSE, the revision is to be formalised as a Code of Practice as it will enable the enforcement process to be more effective. The Code will provide definitive advice on how to develop a method statement for building all manner of racking and shelving installations from 30m high to as low as 2m high, as we know far more people are injured in low fall incidents.

There will also be a five year review of BS EN: 15512, the European CEN design standard and also BS EN: 15620: Tolerances, deformations and clearances. Key to this debate is floor tolerances as uneven surfaces have a substantial effect upon safe FLT operations especially when a mast is fully extended. If one wheel of a truck hits a very small 3mm high bump, a mast extended to full height of say 11.3metres will sway and create 24mm of movement, possibly damaging both truck and racking.

SEMA manufactured products are independently assessed and we’ve recently developed an interface with the University of Salford. The first product design assessment has been completed in a pilot programme with Apex Linvar and it’s our goal to complete the process for all SEMA manufacturers by the end of this year.

SEMA’s position within the FEM was covered in our Standards seminar held on 5th June. Fork lift truck standards and their relationship with racking equipment, together with the increasingly important environmental standards were only two of the items covered. Projects on shelving and cantilever racking are in progress via two FEM-ERF working groups on which SEMA has substantial representation with the aim of achieving standardisation across Europe.

A safe working environment for the end user and installer is implicit when a SEMA manufactured system is specified. SEMA designed and supplied installations must meet our established Codes of Practice and be installed by a SEIRS-registered installer. So that’s one box easily ticked by end users!

CSCS itself sees SEIRS as the route to a CSCS card on UKCG sites. We’ve now trained well over 3,000 individual SEIRS installers, approximately 3-400 per year.

This scheme recognises continuous development as essential, and as such, a refresher course for maintaining qualified SEIRS status is mandatory every three years. A recent revision of SEIRS site briefings (tool box talks) for site supervisors cover What to do if Asbestos is Discovered and Openings, Edges & Working at Height.

Since the SEMA Distributor group was formed in 2011, there has been an influx of applications for membership as it would seem that companies currently outside of SEMA value the opportunity to be ‘audited’ for membership and to be provided with measures to work towards. The audit process is a new development for the SDG and we plan to audit every member, every three years.

Getting the messages out there on quality and safety has never been more important. SEMA took a stand at IMHX which hosted almost 20,000 visitors. We distributed to end users over 200 USB sticks uploaded with the SEMA Code of Practice for the Use of Static Pallet Racking which normally sells at £38. The Code remains available on a complimentary basis for end users who email us at The SEMA website also offers useful technical bulletins on racking repairs, building racking using the finger-build technique and rack protection. All three documents are available in pdf format from the Users’ Club link.

Enquiries for membership, training and events are also brisk. Our next event is the Annual Health & Safety Conference on Thursday 7th November where representatives from regulatory and lead bodies including SEMA will provide inspiration and update end users and storage equipment industry personnel on managing health and safety in their workplace including a focus on asbestos.


Tel: 0121 601 6350

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