Top Wooden Pallet Safety Tips
20 Oct 2017
Wooden pallets are such a basic and universal part of logistics that we tend to take them for granted. However, this is a mistake because without proper caution and careful handling they can represent a significant hazard both in the warehouse and at other points in the supply chain. So here are some wooden pallet safety tips.
1. Is the Pallet Fit for Purpose?
Take a good look at the pallet before you use it to make sure that it is still able to bear the heaviest load that will be encountered in the warehouse. If it is broken or cracked anywhere, it will need to be replaced. It’s particularly important that the stringer is not damaged, but these are repairable provided that you make a sound repair with mending tape or plugs. Check that there are no splinters or nails sticking out of the wood.
2. Ensure the Pallet Is Clean
In terms of wooden pallets safety, it’s essential that pallets that are being used to transport food are cleaned regularly. Pallets can harbour salmonella, Listeria and E. coli, and this can be transferred to food or picked up by your employees. Ideally for transporting food you want to use ISPM 15 heat treated pallets, alternatively plastic pallets are a good option for perishable goods.
3. Check That Loading Operations Are Safe
The pallet size needs to match the safety standards of your equipment both in terms of size and in terms of load. Check the load capacity and any other specifications on your handling equipment, and don’t overload it. Keep in mind too that as the weight of the pallets gets higher, the ability of the equipment to lift them will be reduced.
4. Handling Pallets Safely
Operators should wear gloves when they are handling pallets because of the risk of splinters. To move the pallet across the floor, place it on its edge and slide it over the floor – pallets should never be thrown. Don’t store pallets on their sides because they can fall over and injure people, and be careful never to walk on top of them. If you need to make a stack of pallets with more than eight pallets in it, don’t do the job manually – use a forklift.
5. Ensure That Staff Are Trained
All members of staff are responsible under health and safety legislation for pallets safety, including not putting their workmates in danger by any of their actions. Anyone handling pallets should get a health and safety briefing and should sign it to show that they have received and understood these instructions. Make sure that you have a scheme for reporting safety breaches and near misses.
Summary – Wood Pallets Safety Tips
- Every day, inspect the pallets that are going to be used and remove any that are unsafe because of damage. Set these aside for repair or recycling.
- Never overload your pallet handling equipment, and follow any precautions that are listed by the manufacturer.
- Always stack pallets carefully so that they cannot fall and injure people. For higher stacks of pallets, use a forklift rather than manual handling.
- Make sure that your staff are aware of their responsibilities when handling wooden pallets and have been trained.