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Pallet Safety: Ensuring Best Practice for Staff

May 29, 2023

Pallets serve as indispensable tools for transporting and storing goods efficiently. However, it’s crucial to prioritise safety when working with pallets to prevent accidents and injuries. Pallets are designed to help with specific tasks only, and they should not be misused by staff for unintentional purposes. Here, we will explore the importance of proper pallet handling and storage practices. By following these guidelines, you can create a safer work environment and minimise the risk of accidents, thereby ensuring compliance with WHS best practices.


1. Understanding Pallet Weight Capacity

One of the fundamental aspects of pallet safety is knowing the weight capacity of each pallet. Exceeding the recommended weight limits can lead to pallet failure and potential injuries. Educate yourself and your team about weight limits and ensure that everyone follows them diligently. Also, a pallet should never be used as a man lift. The weight limit on pallets relates to an evenly distributed load and not the centralised mass of a worker.


2. Inspecting Pallets Before Use

Before using any pallet, it’s essential to inspect it for damage, such as broken boards or loose nails. A scrape from a rusty, loose nail can cause an extremely unpleasant bacterial infection. These defects can also compromise the structural integrity of the pallet and increase the risk of accidents. A damaged pallet containing a heavy load situated on a high shelf is a recipe for disaster. Discard or repair damaged pallets to maintain a safe working environment and ensure workers are fitted in correct PPE when working with pallets. Gloves and steel-capped boots are recommended. 


3. Proper Lifting Techniques

When lifting pallets, encourage employees to use proper lifting techniques to avoid strains and back injuries. Train them on the correct posture, bending at the knees, and utilising their leg muscles to lift the load. There should be signs in the workplace demonstrating the correct lifting techniques. Ensure that employees recognise that lifting heavier pallets is not a one-person job, and that they should work together to move more cumbersome pallets.

Use mechanical lifting equipment wherever available.


4. Secure Stacking and Storage

Stacking pallets properly is crucial for maintaining a safe work environment; a few procedures should be verified before this is guaranteed. Ensure that pallet stacks are stable and secure, using appropriate stacking methods and materials like strapping or stretch wrap. Restrict the height of stacked pallets to no more than 1.2 metres. Take care when stepping between pallets that are positioned adjacently in storage racks, as tripping or falling may cause an ankle or knee injury. Never stand pallets on end as this is a highly unstable weight load. Keep aisles clear and organised to avoid accidents caused by pallets falling or toppling over.


5. Adequate Warehouse Lighting

Proper lighting in the warehouse is essential for maintaining a safe environment. Well-lit spaces allow workers to see potential hazards, including damaged pallets, spills, or obstacles, reducing the risk of accidents. Regularly check and replace any faulty lighting fixtures to ensure consistent illumination.

Prioritising pallet safety through proper handling and storage practices is essential to maintain a safe work environment. By following these guidelines, you can prevent accidents, reduce injuries, and promote a culture of safety among your team. Therefore, your business can remain WHS compliant and avoid expensive litigation. Remember, when it comes to pallet safety, knowledge, training, and proactive measures are the key to success. Stay safe when you’re around pallets, regardless of whether you’ve been working with them for 6 months or 16 years. Contact Cooperage Pallets if you need a replacement for damaged or substandard pallets to prioritise the health of your workers.