19 Jul 2017
pallets inside warehouse for support materiel

Businesses that store and ship products and raw materials on pallets are wise to keep additional pallets handy at their location. Sure, you know exactly how many pallets you’ll need at any given time. However, every logistics and shipping manager also knows that the situation can change at the drop of a hat and you’ll need pallets you didn’t anticipate needing.

Wooden euro pallets

Whether you’re placing boxes, bulk bags, Gaylord products or IBC totes on pallets, having extra pallets on-site pays off. You may even consider having a variety of wood pallets, euro pallets, plastic pallets and custom pallets available to you at your location.

Keeping pallets on-site also comes with its share of hassles and concerns, so you need look before you leap. Here are some basic guidelines you should follow to ensure that your pallets are stored safely.

Pick one place for your pallets

Ideally, store your pallets indoors in a designated area. Make it known to employees and visitors, and even mark the area to avoid accidents. Having empty pallets scattered here and there around your warehouse and property creates a dangerous situation. Workers could trip and fall. Forklifts and other equipment could collide with pallets and become damaged. Having a central location for your pallets can help to eliminate potential hazards and keep everyone on-site safe.

Strategically stack your pallets

Always stack same-size pallets together like 48 x 40 wood pallets, and do not mix sizes or styles of pallets. This can be challenging if you need to have standard wood pallets as well as custom pallets on-hand. However, stacking your pallets strategically is important to prevent tipping. Also, to keep pallet stacks stable, OSHA recommends not stacking them any higher than 15 feet. Taller than that, and you risk the stack wobbling and falling. Lastly, be sure to only stack pallets horizontally in their natural position. Tucking pallets into stacks vertically to save space is very dangerous. If the stack is moved, the heavy vertically placed pallet could fall and cause injury or damage.

Stacks of wood pallets present a fire hazard

Though SUPPLY POINTe offers many types of plastic pallets, most of the pallets in use today are made from wood. During the warm, dry months, this wood becomes highly flammable. The smallest spark can set an entire stack of pallets on fire. Never stack wood pallets near anything flammable. Keep them well away from any gas tanks, propane tanks and anything that throws sparks.

Don’t use the building buddy system

If you store pallets outdoors, keep them away from buildings. If pallets catch fire, keeping them separated reduces the likelihood that flames will spread to structures. The National Fire Protection Agency offers the following recommendations for the distance you should allot between pallets and buildings.

● 50 or fewer: 20 feet
● 50 to 200 pallets: 30 feet
● 200+ pallets: 50 feet

Plastic pallets are at risk, too

Plastic Pallets
While plastic pallets may not be as likely to catch fire, they can still burn. Some people tend to forget that safety is also a concern with plastic. In fact, plastic can be more dangerous than wood if it catches on fire inside a building. That’s because plastic has a higher heat release, meaning that it burns hotter, which makes these fires more difficult for sprinkler systems to put out. If you’re storing plastic pallets inside, make certain your sprinkler system can handle any fires that break out.

SUPPLY POINTe will help you store pallets on-site

Our experienced warehousing consultants can help you decide how many pallets to keep in reserve and how to safely store them on your property. SUPPLY POINTe can even provide you a covered flatbed trailer or enclosed trailer for pallet storage. Call us about wood pallets in the southeast region at Charlotte, NC (704) 709-2441, midwest region Cincinnati, OH (513) 780-5906 or send us a message today!

Also, check out our free tips sheet 7 Ways to Reduce Pallet Costs!