Pallet Racking is a versatile and safe storage system. However, for it to work properly and remain safe it must be installed correctly. That means to the manufacturer’s tolerances and using approved methods.
In the UK there is no British Standard governing this area, so SEMA, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association leads the way. Initially concentrating on the design and testing of the Pallet Racking via its excellent Codes of Practice, SEMA has since turned its attention to installation standards and procedures.
Installing Pallet Racking storage systems correctly involves many parties. Specialist installers will be required. These may be employees of the manufacturer or a specialist subcontractor. They will be working on a site that is controlled by others and will have to comply with site safety criteria that ensures their safety and the safety of their co-workers.
Here-in lies the problem. Installers are generally appointed or engaged by the equipment supplier and the quality of the individuals is an unknown to the other interested parties. At best this is foolhardy, at worst potentially life threatening.
Some kind of quality control had to be introduced. For a number of years SEMA has been operating a training programme for storage system installers called Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme (SEIRS). This provides training and registration of individual installers on a national database.
The SEIRS scheme then provides a pool of qualified installers – problem solved? Well not quite. While this pool of talent is available its use is currently optional. So you have the somewhat disquieting situation where an equipment manufacturer, contractor or customer could choose to use uncertified or worse untrained installers, ignoring the SEIRS qualified option.
Why would anyone prefer non-qualified installers – well cost. If your perception of the work involved is that it is un-skilled then you will opt for the cheapest un-skilled labour you can find, and there is plenty around. However, the available un-skilled labour could be non-English speaking which introduces further safety concerns if not dealt with correctly.
Groups such as the MCG (Major Contractors Group) and the HSE have been prompted to take action. Revisions to the CDM regulations now stipulate for the first time that checks should be made on the competency and health and safety awareness of contractors. The HSE looks to the CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) to provide a way that that competency can be assured.
When it comes to the installation of storage systems CSCS recognises SEIRS as the industry qualification it expects before it will accept application for its basic, general health and safety test.
What this means in practise is that anyone involved installing storage systems is now expected to be trained and competent, and be able to prove it. As a buyer you should stipulate that your supplier will use CSCS card carrying individuals, safe in the knowledge that their card is backed by SIERS specialist training.
A CSCS card specifying ‘Installer of Storage Equipment’ is further evidence that the individual has received training and demonstrated a clear understanding.
Redirack has supported the SIERS initiative since day one and all Redirack in-house installation teams have appropriate SEIRS qualifications. Each installer carries a unique SEIRS identity card that Site Managers, Health & Safety Inspectors, Customers and other officials may verify with SEMA.