Pallet Management OSHA Regulations

Warehouse employee aching in back pain

Learn how to safely manage empty pallets and skids inside your warehouse. 

Be Mindful of the Safety and Health Acts 

Stacking pallets helps clear space in the warehouse, which helps eliminate serious risks of collision hazards. And sure, it might seem like an easy task, but if you’re not careful, you may end up creating much bigger concerns. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “storage of material shall not create a hazard.” Under this rule, any “bags, containers, bundles, etc., stored in tiers shall be stacked, blocked, interlocked, and limited in height so that they are stable and secure against sliding or collapse.”

So before you start to pile up the pallets, make sure you have a material-handling game plan that abides by this important code of federal regulations. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

Never Stack Pallets Too High 

So just how high is too high? There’s no definitive answer to this. OSHA doesn’t give you a specific standard for this, but it’s important that your pile never interferes with the sprinkler system. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) though, a pallet should be no closer than 18 inches from a sprinkler head. If your stack is too close to the ceiling, then you might be obstructing your sprinkler’s deployment pattern. Always make sure your stack is stable and never within short reach of the sprinklers or ceiling awnings. 

Never Rest a Pallet on Its Side 

Let’s put it this way: Stacking a pallet vertically is a great way to cause injuries. The side of a storage rack usually contains the most nails and splinters. The chances of you walking away with a puncture wound are much higher if you pull out any pallets that are stacked vertically. Make it a company policy to have pallets lying flat on the bottom every time. 

Keep a Uniformed Stack 

Poor pallet stacking can turn into a giant game of Jenga. Unfortunately, though, this game won’t be fun to participate in. If any of your stacks look crooked, it’s likely because employees carelessly stacked racks of various sizes onto one another. Stacks are more likely to fall over when that happens, which becomes a major threat to your workplace safety. Always stack the same sized frames and keep each pile separated by at least eight feet. Additionally, you’ll want to build your stacks at least 25 feet away from any inventory. 

Don’t Reuse Damaged Pallets 

Pallets can sure take a beating. These wooden storage platforms may be used to hold a lot of heavy material, but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible. The material isn’t durable enough for multiple uses. Pallets often splinter on their ends, and those splinters usually multiply with each use. Once you unload a stack from your forklift, examine each pallet carefully. If you notice splinters, cracks, or any other damages, then it would be in your best interest to dispose of the pallets and start a new stack with fresh material. 

Develop the Perfect Safety and Health Program 

When it comes to pallet management, there is no one better to have by your side than ROI Industries Group. We are a team of experts and problem solvers who work tirelessly to help keep your warehouse in prime operating condition. Our innovative PALLETPOD technology could be your ideal solution for palletizing and pallet management. 

We’ll be there to help make your industrial environment safe and efficient. Schedule your free consultation with one of our experts to find out how. Contact us today!