When choosing a new storage system, the three key criteria are a safe working environment, accessibility to assets and minimising potential damage to stored products.

Jaap Vos
President, SEMA

On safety, help is at hand from SEMA, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association. The 50-year-old British trade association is well placed to offer help and support on compliance to purchasers and users of storage equipment. We lead the drive to promote and extend the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by our members. SEMA’S principles are simple. Safe storage is a cycle; safe manufacture offering full traceability of product, safe design to strict codes of practice, safe installation by SEIRS-qualified labour and a rigorous, structured approach to rack maintenance through inspection and repair.

Our member groups comprise Full Manufacturing Members, SEMA Distributor Companies, SEMA Approved Installation Companies, SEMA-Approved Rack Inspectors and SEIRS registered and trained installers. All members are required to use SEIRS qualified labour. They all meet rigorous measures on quality control as a condition of belonging to the association. We come together to share best practice at our Annual Combined Meeting.

During 2017, as the lead body for the storage industry, we have built on existing working partnerships with statutory and other prominent bodies such as the HSE, RoSPA and CSCS. We’ve helped our industry colleagues interpret and implement revised CDM regulations and respect the new Sentencing Guidelines. We also represent them on European bodies of standardisation.

We deliver on safeguarding in three key ways; creating published standards though SEMA codes of practice; staging industry educational events; providing industry-specific training. Our work is supported though the development of 75 definitive publications, several informative videos and by communicating with end-users and industry members through promotional channels.

Don’t risk it at the lights

In 2017, SEMA has refreshed its approach to rack inspections. Its popular fortnightly one-day safety course on “Rack Safety Awareness and Inspection for End Users” looks in depth at the need for inspections. The day details how to conduct assessments and outlines what actions to take. Companies who don’t operate a structured approach to rack inspection and repair risk invalidating their commercial insurance policy.

SEMA operates a nationwide network of SEMA Approved Racking Inspectors (SARIs) who provide a report and traffic light system indicating actions required and timescale. A Red risk indicates serious damage. Immediate offloading of the rack is required with repairs using the OEM components required, in line with SEMA’s Code of Practice. Amber damage requires ‘timely action,’ normally within four weeks. Green requires surveillance where defined damage limits are not exceeded as per the SEMA Code of Practice for the Use of Static Racking (available from the SEMA website). The perils of ignoring Green risks are detailed in our blog at

Events in 2017

SEMA’s first full day technical seminar on 6th June proved a major success, bringing over 60 delegates up to date on European and UK issues facing those working in the safe manufacture, design, supply and installation of storage systems.

Attendance at SEMA’s annual safety conference and exhibition “Aiming High” on 2nd November grew to over 140 delegates when nine speakers including Coca-Cola, ACCO Stationery and Skymark Packaging brands explained their corporate approach to safety and recent measures of improvement.

There was input from the HSE on their current positive focus on health and the use of harnesses with MEWPS in construction. Date for your diary: Make sure you don’t miss the 2018 SEMA Safety Conference, which takes place on 1st November 2018.

Distributor Group achievements

The latest audit of SEMA Distributor Companies (SDCs) proves outstanding progress since the process began in 2014. The evidence-based assessments for the 30-strong group reveal every member has passed scrutiny in 2017, with average scores improving to 86%. The percentage achieving Highly Commended has doubled to 61%.

This means every SEMA Distributor Company can prove their products and services meet and beat the SEMA QA standard by way of independent certification.

And a hat trick was scored in the SEMA Distributor Group (SDG) Supplier of the Year awards 2017. For the third consecutive year, both Storax and Troax were selected as suppliers of choice. Storax retained top honours, with Troax runner up.

While national organisations are usually well resourced on safety issues, SEMA believes many small to medium sized businesses could benefit from the expert support SEMA member companies offer as the pressures on SMEs continue to grow.


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