How to Protect Your Precious Pallets

As the market continues to experience greater demand for pallets than supply, it’s more important than ever to protect the precious pallets you own. Reducing damage is key and forklift operators can help!

woman driving forklift

When properly operated, forklifts are an efficient and safe method to handle pallets. However, one small mistake can cause big damage. Follow these best practices to protect your pallets and reduce costly repairs or pallet replacement as well to safeguard workers within your warehouse.

  1. Take it slow. In our fast-paced world, it is always tempting to move with speed. However, when entering a pallet, it pays to go slow. This practice will help protect pallet lead boards and, of course, the products atop the pallet.
  2. Avoid contact. Speaking of lead boards, these are also at high risk for damage when an operator fails to lower a pallet completely prior to placing it next to another unit load. Allowing contact between the top pallet and the adjoining pallet lead board causes splintering. Make sure operators lower pallets completely prior to placement.
  3. Accuracy matters. Enter the pallet cleanly and completely. When carelessly inserted, fork tips can damage the ends of stringers or blocks. And, if fork tips are not inserted completely, there will be an uneven distribution of weight and a higher likelihood for damage.
  4. Keep it level. When lifting palletized products, forks must horizontal, not angled, to avoid broken boards.
  5. One at a time. Moving stacks of pallets or multiple unit loads via forklift seems like a good idea as it’s quick and easy. But, beware! This practice is highly discouraged, not only because it can damage pallets and forklifts alike but also because it endangers workers and equipment that may be in the path, hidden from the operator’s line of sight. Instead, always move one at a time.

If you would like more forklift, pallet, or material handling safety tips, please contact us. We’re happy to continue the discussion and help you create a better operating environment with fewer expenses.

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