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Does My Warehouse Need A SEMA Approved Racking Inspection?


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides a whole host of occupational health and safety recommendations for UK warehouses. This includes a recommendation for a SEMA approved racking inspection. At Nene, we provide SEMA approved racking inspectors to help businesses meet those recommendations, but do they apply to your business?

In this article we’re going to explore what (if any) definitions are in place regarding warehouses in the eyes of the HSE, as well as whether you should be following their recommendations for a SEMA approved racking inspection.

What does the HSE define as a warehouse?

Contrary to what many believe, the HSE does not have a set definition for what constitutes a warehouse. Rather, they take a look at every single potential risk that can be found in warehouses and stockrooms and provide recommendations for addressing those risks.

As such, their recommendation for SEMA approved racking inspections are applicable to any and all warehouses and stockrooms that having racking systems, whether or not they are strictly defined as “warehouses.” Similarly, they offer loading pallet, ladder, and automated storage system recommendations for any businesses that make use of them.

Under recent Construction Design and Management Regulations, the responsibility of following those recommendations lies at the feet of the warehouse owner. It’s up to them to know the HSE recommendations and follow whichever ones are relevant and practical. If you are not sure, Nene have a specialist team that can expand on this and determine what your next steps should be.

SEMA Approved Racking Inspection
Annual SEMA approved racking inspection

Should you arrange an annual racking inspection?

Though the term “recommendation” may not seem as strong a term as “requirement,” don’t let that fool you into thinking you’re less at risk if you’re found to not follow them. If someone is injured due to poor racking safety, a claimant could prove that the warehouse didn’t follow HSE recommendations and, if convinced, you could be held legally responsible. These recommendations have to be followed to a degree that’s considered “reasonably practical”, but it can be dangerous to try and make that definition yourself.

Furthermore, these recommendations are important to warehouse owners simply because racking systems are found in almost all warehouses. Rather than focusing on the definition of what is or isn’t a warehouse, it’s more important to know the definition of “racking”, which the HSE uses to describe skeletal frameworks supporting loads without shelving, whether adjustable or fixed.

The need for a SEMA approved racking inspector (SARI)

Despite a growing awareness of health and safety regulations, with many believing they are too stringent, we have been seeing significant decreases in workplace accidents and fatalities, but they’re still prevalent.

The HSE’s own stats show that 550,000 UK workers sustained work-related injuries, with the transport and storage industry contributing 2,200. Out of all industries, warehouses showed no statistically significant differences, meaning some changes are needed.

In the transport and storage sector, there were 37,000 workplace injuries and 14 workers were killed at work. In our eyes, this is 14 more than it should be. We provide racking inspections to keep these numbers down and to give you peace of mind that you are operating in a safe working environment.

SEMA approved racking inspection
Yearly inspections from SEMA approved racking inspectors can help you play your part in making that difference. If you’re still uncertain as to whether you need one, get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help you address your needs, tackle the risks in your warehouse, and make sure you do what you need to in order to ensure you follow the practical recommendations of the HSE guidelines.

Many insurance companies now insist on using SARI’s, if your policy states this and you do not conform, you would not be covered should an accident occur.