Avoid Unnecessary Warehouse Hazards with an Empty Pallet Storage Plan
Workplace safety is effectively a tool for producing cost-effective warehouse operations. Preventing injuries, damage and productivity slowdowns allows your staff to move safely and effectively about the facility and saves valuable time and expense. With billions of pallets flowing in and out of U.S. warehouse and distribution facilities each year, it is an important workplace safety concern to develop a plan for empty pallet storage.
Best Practice Guidelines for Empty Pallet Storage
- Stack like-sized pallets only
- Be sure to keep the stacks very even
- Lay pallets flat not vertical
- Purge damaged pallets from the group
- Maintain safe stack heights
- Keep lighting, electrical panels, and ventilation units clear
- Group in stacks of 4 with open access space between
- Consider using stacking frames or rack to improve stability
Safely Stacking Empty Pallets
Stacking pallets can be done by hand or using lift equipment but either way, start with a flat surface. Pallets must be placed evenly on the pile. Anyone who’s ever played the game Jenga understands that even the slightest shift can bring a whole stack down in a hurry. If your team is hand stacking, ensure that they are working in teams of two, have proper PPE and are following OSHA lift guidelines.
Note: workers should NEVER attempt to climb on the stacks of pallets.
Pallets that are broken or have protruding nails or boards must be separated and sent for repair /recycling or discard. Pallets in poor condition will not have proper load capacity and cause the threat of injury to your workers.
Pallet Stack Height Restrictions
The National Fire Prevention Agency provides the following guideline for idle pallets: Stacks should not exceed 15’ high or be greater than 400 sq. ft. However, the most definitive direction you may find for pallet stacking will likely come from your insurance carrier and their concern for potential fire hazard. Major insurance carriers similarly suggest the following for idle pallet storage:
- Floor stacking – wood pallets should not exceed 6’ high. Group the stacks in fours and secure at least 8’ of space between groups. If stacks are greater than 6’ they should be protected by an automatic fire sprinkler system.
- Rack stacking: storing pallets up and out of the way is an excellent way to clear valuable floor space and improve traffic flow. As well, it can make good use of pallet rack that may underutilized. That said, before you stack those pallets, be sure that the pallets will be protected with an Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) sprinkler system.
Creating an empty pallet storage plan will position your team for warehouse safety success. Apex understands that there is a lot of considerations that go into maintaining a safe facility, and we’ve created a free tool to help. It’s called the Apex Rack Repair App.
Warehouse Safety at Your Fingertips
The Apex Rack Repair App guides you through a thorough inspection of your warehouse storage rack systems. With the app you can take pictures of damage and capture system specs… right down to paint colors and safety clips… to be able to quickly discern damage levels and order repair parts or kits if needed. As part of the app, the Apex PROs will evaluate your inspection report. Our rack repair experts review the audit results and return a detailed, non-biased recommendation.
The app is free and easy to download from Google Play or the App Store right onto a smartphone or tablet.
Would you rather we come to you?
Alternatively, if you’d rather have the Apex PROs conduct a thorough pallet rack system audit and warehouse safety inspection, we can do that. Our trained, certified, rack and safety inspectors are just a call away.
Warehouse safety right in the palm of your hand, that the Apex Rack Repair App. Try it today!