In a shipping system, pallets are tools used to stack, store, move or transport goods and products through the supply chain. Pallets are designed to hold goods and products in place while being transported within the warehouse or to outside locations. Pallets allow workers to move large quantities of items all at once, as opposed to one at a time. They are also good for creating more storage space (What Is a Warehouse Pallet, 2013).
According to OSHA, Pallets can hold very heavy loads, as much as 2,000 pounds but commonly, only 80 to 100 pounds are transported at once. Consequently, specific decisions must be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not a pallet is required for a specific shipment of boxes. These considerations include potential hazards for employees such as their physical safety, as it relates to the possibility of heavy objects falling on them that are not properly secured on pallets. Also, employees need to be trained on how to safely load and unload pallets for back health and safety. It is a good idea for employees to where back safety belts to reduce the risk of back injury when working with pallets and heavy objects. Additionally, employees need to be trained on how to place boxes on pallets properly. This includes stacking the heaviest units on the bottom layer to keep the pallet load stable. It is also a good idea for employees to use power equipment as much as possible to reduce stress on the back and legs which can lead to injuries.
Pallets are also useful for ensuring that goods and products are kept in good shape while being transported through the shipping system. According to Inbound Logistics, pallets “are the glue that connects retailers, distributors, manufacturers, growers, and transportation and logistics service providers across numerous industries. Without pallets, the supply chain could not function” (The Power of Pallets, 2012).
The Power of Pallets. (2012, May). Retrieved from Inbound Logistics: http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/the-power-of-pallets/
What Is a Warehouse Pallet? (2013). Retrieved from wiseGEEK: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-warehouse-pallet.htm
Transport Techniques. (n.d.). Retrieved from United States Department of Labor: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/grocerywarehousing/transport_techniques.html