SEMA’s approach to Safeguarding Storage

By Jaap Vos, President of SEMA  

Since the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association was first launched in 1968, SEMA has forged its reputation for excellence to become the lead voice on safe storage practice. Today, over 165 SEMA member businesses, together with committees and training initiatives, combine their knowledge, skill and expertise as the British Trade Association of the Storage Equipment Industry. SEMA’s mission is our commitment to promoting and extending the safe design, installation and use of storage equipment manufactured and supplied by our members. 

In this reference publication, we aim to position SEMA’s standing in the UK, Europe and worldwide and to explain SEMA’s network of influence including its role as an authoritative body. We also seek to show you exactly how each of our groups interrelate to fully support end-users. Whether your business is small, medium or large, our guidance is easily available so you can operate a safe working environment and stay within the law. 

So where did it all start? 

In 1968, a group of storage manufacturers came together with the collective aim of sharing best practice and improving industry standards including safety measures. The association precedes the establishment of the HSE in 1975. In doing so, they set out to distinguish themselves from the rank and file. SEMA can demonstrate that it has continued to lead where others follow ever since. 

In summary, today our provision embraces: 

Technical excellence that’s well connected 

The work of our Technical Committee is well renowned, providing definitive technical guidance, Codes of Practice and other publications. Leadership continues at both national and European levels through membership of the British Materials Handling Federation (BMHF) and the European Materials Handling Federation (FEM). SEMA is the UK National Committee Member of one of FEM’s seven product groups; Racking and Shelving. Thought leadership events for both industry and end users complete the picture. Both HSE and Local Authority senior personnel attract end-user attendance as key speakers at SEMA’s events. 

Manufacturing  

SEMA manufacturers and associates rank among the very best in the world. They are largely (but not all) members of global manufacturing organisations for whom the principles of quality, safety and reliability are fundamental to long standing market success. And so, they are best placed to provide advice on safety risks and other essential requirements. 

Under the remit of due diligence, we seek to prove that SEMA products are some of the very best on the market. Members are compelled to continuously engage in independent product design assessments carried out by the University of Salford. We are reviewing the technical processes required in the design of racking materials which will fit neatly into our manufacturing quality assurance scheme. 

Rack Inspection and Rigorous Maintenance 

SEMA advocates a rigorous approach to rack inspection, maintenance and repair through a regime of (typically) daily, weekly and annual (expert) inspections. SEMA has some 120+ Approved Inspectors are highly qualified professionals who complete the SEMA circle of quality by undertaking rack inspections at end-users’ premises. They conduct racking and storage condition assessments, reports and recommendations so that all places of employment can operate as safe environments. SEMA’s acclaimed traffic light system of categorizing rack damage has been adopted as the industry standard and is employed widely in the UK, across Europe and globally. 

Groups and Training 

Through SEMA’s interconnected structures, our membership groups provide to the market audited distributors and installation companies who can prove their credentials by working to relevant codes. They are routinely, independently audited to meet our stringent QA criteria. What’s more, all the training that we deliver is approved by the Royal Society for The Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).  

Working with Statutory Authorities 

Over half a century, SEMA has forged close working relationships with the statutory authorities including the HSE, local authority Health and Safety inspectors, RoSPA and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). The Storage Equipment Installers’ Registration Scheme (SEIRS) is recognised by the CSCS as it meets CLC criteria for their Partner Card Scheme.  

SEMA mitigates risk for you 

In 2017, new, tougher Health and Safety legislation was introduced and as a result, there has been a sharp increase in fines paid by UK firms. Fines for corporate manslaughter can now be as high as £20m and directors must accept personal liabilities for safety breaches.  

SEMA members actively help you mitigate risk. From a broad base, each contributes to a central repository of intelligence leading to continual improvement which is shared appropriately among the membership. As every project is unique and SEMA manufacturers have developed the most comprehensive range of systems, we are best placed to respond to legislative change and to offer the most comprehensive support to customers, whatever their need. 

However, the HSE states that RIDDOR reporting by employers is known to be incomplete and may be distorting the trends. While national organisations are usually being well resourced on safety issues, SEMA believes that many small to medium sized businesses that could benefit from the expert support offered by a SEMA member company as the pressures on SMEs continue to grow.  

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