SEMA Approved Rack Inspections

Who or What is SEMA

SEMA stands for The Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association. It is a private organisation that has been providing guidance on racking safety practices since 1968 and has since evolved to become the “industry partner and point of reference” on storage safety for the HSE, Local Authorities, RoSPA and the CSCS together with manufacturers. Their aims are to:

  • Consider everything relevant to the storage equipment industry.
  • Benefit the industry through the distribution of technical advice and information on trading opportunities.
  • Establish and publish technical standards for all types of storage equipment.
  • Represent the industry in discussions with UK Government departments and Local Authorities. SEMA is a Member of the British Materials Handling Federation (BMHF) and actively influences the Federation Europeene de la Manutention (FEM, the European Handling Industries Federation) which seeks to establish common policies, particularly technical, amongst national storage equipment associations).
  • Ensure that standards adopted by public and professional bodies are in accordance with the interests of the industry.
  • Encourage co-operation between our individual members.
  • Maintain, above all else, the integrity of the Association.

    They achieve some of these aims by providing Codes of Practice for design, installation, use, inspection and disassembly of storage equipment, along with comprehensive training courses and subsequent registration of trained professionals.

    What is a SARI

    In response to the HSE guidelines stating a qualified person should inspect your system at least once every 12 months, SEMA decided to develop its SEMA Approved Racking Inspector (SARI) scheme.

    This scheme allows previous professionals from engineering or health and safety backgrounds to undertake a comprehensive training course detailing proper rack inspection practices, including the highly acclaimed traffic light system of categorising rack damage which has been adopted as the industry standard and is employed throughout the UK and EU.

    This intensive training is completed with a final exam as well as top-up sessions and seminars to ensure the knowledge is always up to date and in line with the industry standards. These “top ups” are mandatory to retain registration status ensuring confidence that all SARI Card holders are at the forefront of racking safety.

    Do I Need A Rack Inspection

    Short Answer: If you have racking or shelving of any kind being used on your premises then yes!

    Long Answer: Due to recent changes in Health and Safety Legislation (HSG76 Sections 642, 646 & 647), pallet racking and shelving is now regarded as workplace equipment and as such requires an inspection at least once a year by a SARI (SEMA Approved Rack Inspector) or other “Technically Competent Person”.

    The HSE executive actually advise 3 Levels of Inspection/Reporting:

    Failing to adhere to legislative requirements can have significant ramifications including invalidating your insurance, fines of up to £20M and in some cases imprisonment. We believe that many small and medium sized businesses could benefit from the expert support offered by a company such as Acerax as pressures on SME’s continue to grow.

    What does the inspection process look like

    • It all starts with a quote. Once we receive your enquiry, we will send back a quotation along with a risk assessment form (to work on your premises) and a copy of our insurance policy confirming we are covered for professional indemnity insurance.

    • Next, we book you in for the inspection, we work on a maximum 3 weeks availability.

    • Upon arrival on the day of inspection, the inspector will request to speak to the PRRS (Person Responsible for Rack Safety) to discuss any known points of concern as well as reviewing any internal inspections already undertaken. We will also take this time to ask permission on the use of laser measuring equipment and camera equipment (to take images of any issues of note for the Inspection Report). In the case of a very active site or VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) installations the inspector may also indicate that aisles need to be cordoned off as he works his way through the racking however we try to keep operational disturbances to an absolute minimum.

    • The inspector will take some time to plot the layout of the rack and take details of the build specification of the structure, noting the details on the load boards and the OEM (original equipment manufacturer).

    • Now, the racking inspection begins, laser measuring devices are used to take measurements and to determine deflection to steel members. The object of the inspection is to record damage to the rack and apply the RED/AMBER/GREEN (SEMA Traffic Light System) notification to damaged steel members. The inspection also takes a broad overview of the standards applied to pallet loading on the rack, waste packaging, damaged pallets, general standards of cleanliness, the condition of the floor, lighting, the type of fork trucks being used, racking protection both down the aisle and at the rack ends. Photo images are also taken of specific damage, information on load boards and any other matters that should be noted in the report.

    • With the inspection completed the inspector will return to debrief you, this includes notifying you of any Red risk damage, and recommending an immediate offloading of the effected racking. They will also summarise any general issues and recommendations that will be further confirmed in the report. It is important to note under the SEMA protocol our inspectors only make recommendations to customers, we are not enforcement officers.

    • Within 7 Days you will receive a full inspection report by email detailing all damage/faults and general observations, as well as advice on how best to resolve issues and prevent future damage. A certificate confirming your inspection will also be provided.


    • We then record the due date of your next inspection (either annually or bi-annually) and add it to your customer file. This way we can notify you before your next inspection is due and get you booked in with plenty of time.

    Now you know all about SEMA Rack Inspections, find out why you should choose Acerax

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