The definition of a pallet is a “support for freight.” As you know, pallets take a lot of abuse whether its in the warehouse or on trucks as it makes its way to its destination.
A lot of old pallets are never discarded when they should be. They are stacked in a corner or against the wall, either inside or outside creating a potential fire hazard.
You will only use them as a last resort when no good pallets are available. Too many times we hear that a pallet has broken and the freight has tipped over and fallen to the floor. This not only causes freight damage but can also result in equipment damage or worse yet, an employee injury or death.
Please take a moment to review the following safety tips for working around palletized loads:
- Develop a pallet inspection program. Before you use a pallet, inspect it for cracks, weaknesses and other damage. If you find damage, mark it unsafe for use until it is either fixed or thrown away. This can prevent a lot of potential problems.
- If at all possible, keep the shrink wrapped or secured pallets on higher shelves. This helps prevent loose cartons from falling down and damaging merchandise below it.
- When loading a pallet, make sure the load is centered and not out of balance.
- If the pallet is holding several loose items, make sure the entire load is secured with shrink wrap or banding.
- Exercise caution when stacking several pallets high. Make sure the stack is not leaning, because of weak or broken segments, which may cause the whole pile to fall over.
- Always know the load limit of the pallet jack or forklift you are using. Neither the pallets nor mechanical lifting devices should ever be overloaded.
- Load limits should also be established and prominently marked.
- Make sure your forklift has an overhead cage or screen to protect the driver from falling objects when merchandise is being stacked overhead.
Remember, thinking ahead can save a lot of trouble. It is a waste of production time and effort to reload a pallet that has fallen. It is an additional expense to replace broken or faulty merchandise but more importantly, an effective pallet/warehouse safety plan can prevent injuries and save lives!