Pallets are used throughout many industries around the world, being a durable, efficient, and cost-effective method of shipping or storing different types of cargo. But as excellent as this form of packaging may be for some businesses, it’s still imperative to keep safety in mind whilst handling pallets of any type, be it timber or plastic. With that said, we’ve provided 5 safety tips for workers to consider when handling timber and plastic pallets packaging:
1. Inspect the Pallet Beforehand
You should never use a pallet that is cracked, broken or damaged in some other way. This is because a defective pallet may not have the capacity to carry the full load of cargo that is required. Needless to say, if you proceed to use a damaged pallet for the storage or shipment of your items, it could very well end up buckling under all of the weight at some point during its journey. This is exactly why it’s so important for you and your co-workers or employees to conduct a little inspection prior to loading the pallets up. In addition to this, you should also make sure to watch out for splinters or protruding nails on timber pallets, as these could also result in a potential injury if left unnoticed.
2. Store Them the Right Way
Pallets should always be stacked straight and flat on the ground- never sideways. Moreover, you should always ensure to stack pallets of a similar size together, as stacking differently sized pallets on top of one another could result in unequal weight distribution. Unsurprisingly, this could cause your pile of pallets to topple at any given moment.
Pallets should also be stored at least 7 metres away from any buildings when outside, and at least half a metre away from any walls when stored on the inside. Next, there’s also the height of the stack to consider; the taller it is, the more damage it could cause if it were to suddenly fall. Our final point is that you should be sure to store timber pallets in particular away from flammable items or substances. After all, you probably don’t want your whole entire warehouse going up in flames, especially from one small incident that could’ve been avoided.
3. Wear Proper Safety Gear
Proper safety gear is always integral in the workplace, and this applies to the handling of timber and plastic pallets as well. According to Safe Work Australia, 86 Australia workers have been killed so far whilst at work in 2020, as of the 18th of June. Last year in 2019, 178 were injured, which rose from the 144 recorded in 2018. Generally, most pallet-related injuries involve injuries to the feet, hands and back. Henceforth, anyone preparing to handle pallets should have the appropriate footwear (enclosed, steel-cap boots), gloves, and know how to avoid musculoskeletal injuries.
4. Practise Safe Handling
All employees should be trained in safe handling prior to starting work with pallets. They should also be trained to operate load shifting equipment such as pallet jacks, forklifts, scissor lifts and walk-behind stackers properly. Furthermore, workers should also be trained in traffic management systems if necessary.
5. Avoid Stepping Over Pallets
Pallets are simply not designed for walking on by humans. Whilst they are capable of supporting heavy cargo, the weight of a human in one concentrated area can cause the pallet to break. Alternatively, their foot could slip between the gaps in the pallet, twisting it and causing injuries such as a sprained or broken ankle. So, the safest thing to do would be to avoid walking on pallets altogether. Instead, you should be encouraging workers to walk around them.
So, now that all that housekeeping is out of the way, are you interested in choosing timber or plastic pallets as your packaging solution? If so, then know that the packaging professionals at Aussie Crates are always here to help. We provide custom-designed packaging solutions that fit the unique requirements of your goods. As a result, you can guarantee the safest and more efficient option to get your cargo from A to B. Enquire with us today!