Protecting Pallets From Forklift Damage
13 Aug 2018
Pallets are a fundamental tool in the effective movement and shipment of goods. Pallets, of course, are subject to wear and tear, which can be a costly element when profit margins are slim. Naturally, all kinds of factors – from weather to negligent handling and leakage – can cause pallet damage, but forklifts are one of the main culprits. Protecting pallets from forklift damage should be a consideration for anyone in the business of shipping goods, as this will ensure pallets last longer and deliver better value.
Shrinking Pallet Life
It is thought that up to 70 percent of damage to pallets is caused by forklifts. Typically, poor use of a forklift can cause damage to the leg of a pallet, and from there it is a relatively quick journey to cracking. Wooden pallets can also develop loose boards. All of this contributes to shortening the life of a pallet and increasing costs.
Forklift damage to pallets is usually from one of three causes. These are generally drivers with little training moving pallets with poor technique, the wrong pallets being used for the job, and poor organisation of the warehouse.
Protecting Pallets from Forklift Damage
The number one way of protecting pallets from forklift damage is to select pallets that are a good match for the job. Take into account the weight and size of the goods, where they have to go and what kind of shipping methods will be used.
Another way of protecting pallets from forklift damage is to look for pallets that have bevelled edges. If the tines of the forklift can slide into the entrance, this will reduce pressure on the pallet.
Pallets with reinforced pallet legs and decks can also be more resistant to damage, as they are stronger in areas of stress that can be more easily damaged.
Better forklift technique can reduce damage also. Drivers should be trained to moderate speed, place tines carefully and move smoothly without colliding with other pallets or parts of the warehouse. Competent drivers should lift pallets rather than push them, and stack them with attention to spreading weight evenly.
Drivers should also be trained to insert tines completely into a pallet before lifting, thus avoiding what is known as shortforking. Drivers should also spread their tines as widely as possible to spread weight evenly across the forklift when moving the goods, and reduce speed before picking anything up, which will also help with protecting pallets from forklift damage.
Much damage can also happen in warehouses. Wider aisles will help with extending pallet life, as will reducing clutter and any obstacles that impede movement.
Pallet should also be inspected frequently, as a small amount of damage can weaken the pallet and lead to damage that is beyond repair. Wider aisles in a warehouse will reduce collisions and accidents in general.
Another way of protecting pallets is to paint the tines of the forklift. This will help to improve visibility for the driver and make it easier for drivers to place the tines with more care and efficiency. The paint will also help in tracking accidents and damage, as paint will be left behind on damaged pallets and it will be easy to spot and trace the cause.