How to Safely Handle Pallets

With heightened awareness of public health and safety, now is a great time to re-visit safety in the workplace. Beyond hand washing and social distancing, there are many critical safety protocols for those who work in the material handling industry. Take, for example, pallet safety precautions. Here’s what you need to know…

boxes stacked up on wooden pallet

When taught and reinforced, the proper handling of pallets contributes to a safe working environment. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Pallets have a purpose. Only use pallets for what they are built for—to carry a load that is uniformly distributed. Do not use them to function as stairs, a ladder, or anything other than their intended purpose.
  2. Pallets are designed to be stacked. When storing pallets, it is important to stack them horizontally, evenly, and on a flat surface. (Note: Maximium stack height should reach no more than 4 feet.) Do not stand empty pallets vertical on end as they are unstable and can easily topple over and cause injury.
  3. Pallets can hold 2,800 pounds or more. That’s a lot of product. To safety unload, use a pick hook to reach products on the back of a pallet and pull forward. This prevents the pallet from becoming unstable and tipping due to a weight imbalance.
  4. All pallets are not equal. Pallets vary by material, weight, and size. Therefore, empty pallets should not be lifted by a single employee. Workers should be encouraged to lift with a partner or use a forklift when possible. When manually lifting, keep the pallet vertical and close to the chest in order to maintain balance.
  5. Pallets can take a beating. But, if mishandled, they can break. Always clean up any broken pallet boards, nails, or other debris to prevent slip and fall injuries or damage to material handling equipment.
  6. Pallets have a lifecycle. Only use pallets in good condition. Remove damaged or substandard pallets for repair or recycling.

Now more than ever, it’s good practice to remind your employees how to work safely with pallets. If you have questions about handling, repair, or recycling, please contact us. We’re ready and available to help you move your products from here to there…safely.

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