Health and safety regulations for pallet manufacturer
06 Mar 2014
Health and safety regulations for the manufacture of pallets cover a wide range of processes, tasks, equipment usage and behaviours. As well as regulations for the making of pallets, there are also many regulations governing their usage, sale and storage. Detailed guidance and information about your responsibilities can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who make available an extensive range of publications either for sale or as free downloads from their website.
Pallets can be made from a range of materials, with a popular form being wood. All wood used in the manufacture of packaging materials such as pallets must conform to standards set out in the ISPM15 regulations. These regulations require that the wood used is treated by heat or fumigated by using methyl bromide. To be sure that your heat treated pallets are compliant, you should be able to see a stamp or label on the wood with the HT mark along with the rest of the regulatory information required. When preparing pallets for sale it is essential that the customer can easily verify that they meet all the required standards, especially if they will be used for exporting items.
The Dangers of Woodwork
The manufacture of wooden pallets has its own risks and requirements which are outlined in health and safety regulations. All those involved in the process should be aware of these. Failure to follow health and safety regulations can result in serious injuries and in some cases can be fatal. Manufacturing can be a dangerous business if not properly regulated, with woodworking specifically accounting for a large proportion of the industry’s accidents. One major area for accidents involves the use of machinery such as circular saws, planers and vertical spine moulders. Another major cause of injury comes from the risks that vehicles such as delivery lorries or forklift trucks can pose.
The issue of vehicle-related incidents highlights the range of risk factors that an employer needs to consider. The scenarios for risk include: the drivers and operators; pedestrians on site; the handling of items from vehicles during both the initial loading and the subsequent unloading; the training of personnel driving or operating forklifts; the training of personnel engaged in loading or retrieving goods and materials; the need for site rules.
Other areas which fall under health and safety regulations for the woodworking industry include: trips and slips; fire and explosion risks from concentrations of wood dust; exposure to toxic fumes, chemicals and hazardous substances; manual handling; noise. This list is not exhaustive and full details can be obtained from the HSE. Specific regulations for pallet manufacturers will also cover the storage and delivery of pallets from factory to warehouse to customer. The guidance available can be specific and detailed and some of the documents available cover subjects such as stacking heights for loaded pallets, stacking heights for empty pallets stored externally and making the best use of handling aids. It is important that your business knows and understands the regulations, so make sure you access all the information available from the Health and Safety Executive. You must put in place the correct training programmes, processes and safety measures to minimise risks and prevent accidents.