The development of wooden pallets and unit load handling has greatly improved material handling. The mutually beneficial relationship between forklifts and wooden pallets has lasted for more than 80 years and continues to grow. Today, palletizing is a reality in many supply chains. However, logistics professionals continue to strive for opportunities for continuous improvement. As they explore ideas for reducing pallet and product damage, the first step is to ensure safety between the forklift and the wood pallet product.
Why is it important to reduce wood pallet damage?
There are important reasons for eliminating pallet-related damage. The first is safety. Excess wood chips and exposed debris can cut or puncture the skin. More severely damaged pallets can result in spillage or load failure, which has the potential to have greater consequences. Damaged pallets can damage palletized goods and impacts that damage pallets can also damage the products they transport.
Pallet damage can also impede the flow of the supply chain. This factor has become extremely important as operators find themselves forced to process orders faster than ever. Pallet damage can disrupt that flow unexpectedly and cause unplanned delays.
How forklift operators can reduce wood pallet damage
Reduce pallet transport speed
Decreasing speed during transport is a counterintuitive act requiring speed, but slowing down just before entering a pallet will reduce impact damage to the pallet’s guide plates as well as the product, type eliminates the need to deal with these issues later.
Place pallets correctly
Improper lifting position can result in damage to the ends of the pallet bar. Remove obstacles that make it difficult to bring the fork into the pallet’s lift directions, such as debris on the floor.
Keep the forks always horizontal
Ensure that the forks are horizontal when lifting palletized products. If the forks are tilted, the stress on the top planks of the pallet will not be evenly distributed, increasing the chance of the boards breaking.
Avoid making pallets
A common cause of wood pallet damage is repeated contact by the operator with adjacent loading equipment before lowering the pallet completely. The best practice is to lower the pallet just before placing it next to another load unit. When a pallet overlaps an adjacent pallet while being lowered, it can damage the pallet.
Do not pile too many pallets on the forklift
Stacking multiple pallets can save workers time, helping to move multiple loads instead of one. However, this approach can cause damage to the forklift and the wooden pallet.
Overcrowded pallets can also pose safety risks. If a forklift driver’s line of sight is blocked by a load on the forklift, they may not be able to see other workers or equipment. In addition, wooden pallets on forklifts can also fall and cause injury to workers.
Paying attention to forklift operating best practices can help your company minimize wood pallet damage, as well as reduce product and other equipment damage. Better forklift operations can reduce your pallet repair and replacement costs, and most importantly, better protect those working near pallets. Now is the time to incorporate pallet handling best practices.