How To Store Wooden Pallets Correctly
22 Jan 2016
Storing wooden pallets correctly when they are not in use should not only lead to improved on-site safety but will also ensure that the physical integrity of these versatile and valuable items. And if you are keen on ensuring that pallets are handled properly, then you should take the same conscientious approach to their storage.
Inside or Outside?
Where possible, you should store pallets outside or within structures that are free from fire hazards such as compressed gasses and other flammable objects in order to minimise the threat of combustion. For indoor idle pallet storage, make sure that an adequate sprinkler system is in use, and remember that if plastic pallets catch alight the blaze will be harder to keep under control because they burn at higher temperatures.
Heat treated wooden pallets can be a sensible investment, since they will boost safety levels, although you should not get complacent in any circumstances and always remember to follow pallet storage guidelines to the letter.
Safety in Numbers
If the number of pallets you are storing is fewer than 50, then placing them 20 feet away from buildings will provide an adequate barrier if they do get set on fire. For the storage of up to 200 pallets this distance should be increased to 30 feet, while over 200 pallets need to be kept at least 50 feet from other structures to minimise risks.
It is recommended that wood pallets are stored in stacks that are no more than six feet high, with groups of such stacks limited to four for indoor storage. Plastic pallets should be kept in two stacks measuring up to four feet high for this same indoor storage scenario.
Following this, stacking advice is not only important because it keeps fire risks low but also because it protects pedestrians from danger, since stacking much higher than this can lead to the threat of falling objects and full stack collapse.
Be sure to stack pallets of all types flat rather than on their sides. This makes them more stable and also has benefits in terms of fire safety.
It is not recommended to store pallets on racks in a warehouse environment, unless of course the sprinkler system which is in use on-site has been built to cope with this type of set-up. This is especially true of plastic pallets, with reinforced plastic models suffering from a worse fire rating than their unreinforced counterparts.
Follow these idle pallet storage guidelines and you will be able to manage the risks to your business.