Whether you’re stacking plastic pallets or pesky old wooden pallets, the rules for stacking them safely are pretty much the same. When you’ve got large loads all stacked on top of one another, it isn’t hard to imagine the accidents which could happen if one of those loads was stacked improperly – the whole warehouse could come crashing down like a line of dominos! As a result, here we offer you some safety tips for stacking your plastic pallets (or wooden ones) as safely as possible!
1. Don’t exceed height limits
Height limits exist for a reason – never stack pallets higher than they are designed to be stacked. If you stack pallets too high, you are putting a lot of pressure on the bottom pallets, and you run the risk of the top pallets toppling over, potentially causing devastating injuries to anyone below. Stacking pallets too high can also cause them to come crashing down off the racks when you try to load and unload them, another phenomenon we assume you would rather avoid.
2. Check for damaged pallets
Although we recommend plastic pallets because of their robustness and reliability, you should always keep an eye out for damaged pallets, no matter what material you’re using. Do not under any circumstances ever reuse a pallet which is damaged, especially if you’re working with wooden pallets which have splinters or nails sticking out which could be dangerous for your workers. Also, when stacking pallets, keep an eye out for any loose parts, as these could become caught in machinery or on the clothing of workers if not noticed. When storing your pallets, be sure to use plastic wrapping on the load, ensuring that the load cannot fall off the pallet unexpectedly due to damage. Wooden pallets can also become damaged due to things such as moisture and wood rot – another reason why we recommend switching to plastic pallets if you haven’t already.
3. Stack pallets which are the same size
When stacking pallets, you want to ensure that the weight is distributed evenly and carefully. As a result, you should only stack pallets which are the same size, as uneven piles of pallets are more prone to wobbling and falling over due to instability. In addition to the obvious safety benefits, stacking evenly-sized pallets also makes the most sense in terms of efficiency, as you’re minimizing empty space on your racks which could’ve otherwise made space for more goods. If you’re forced to use pallets which are in various different sizes, make sure to place the largest pallets at the bottom, while also stacking heavier goods toward the bottom too, keeping the center of gravity nice and low. This can also apply to the goods on the pallets themselves – put the biggest/heaviest goods on first and stack the smaller/lighter goods on top, helping to keep the pallet’s goods nice and stable.
4. Do not overload the stack
When using forklifts or pallet jacks to load and unload heavy pallets, be sure to check the weight limits of the equipment that you’re using, ensuring that you’re not about to overload the equipment and cause it to fall or drop to the ground unexpectedly. A forklift attempting to carry too heavy a pallet, for example, could see the forklift topple over and drop its load, potentially killing anyone on the ground nearby. Furthermore, if stacking various pallets on top of one another, be sure to stack the heaviest ones at the bottom, and this extends to the actual goods on the pallets too. You should also make sure that your pallets are able to be stacked above a certain amount. For example, older and weaker wooden pallets could begin to buckle (particularly those at the bottom of a stack) if the overall height/weight of a stack becomes too much for it to bear.
5. Stack the pallets in a neat and uniform manner
When you’re balancing huge weights on top of one another, you want to make sure that you’re stacking them as carefully as possible! Whether you’re using plastic pallets or wooden pallets, stack them evenly, ensuring that their edges are not poking out the sides of the stack. If your pallet stack is messy and resembles a very heavy game of Jenga, there are severe chances that the stack will come crashing down to the ground due to instability. Furthermore, if you have stray pallets which stick out at the sides, you run the risk of heavy machinery (such as forklifts) accidentally bumping into these stray pallets, causing a chain reaction which could prove to be fatal as the entire stack comes crashing down.
We recommend plastic pallets because they are generally much safer to work with than wooden ones. If you’re a warehousing specialist and you would like to know more about plastic pallets and what they can do for you, get in touch with PTM Solutions today!