Moving and working with pallets can be dangerous without some basic precautionary rules. Pallets can cause serious injuries, crushing toes, feet, ankles, or causing deep puncture wounds. When it comes to manually lifting, accidents could be grievous.
When working with forklifts and other heavy machinery, there is additional risk of injury. In order to prevent such injuries, it is very important that safety precautions are put in place and followed closely. Here are some basic safety tips to create a safer workplace and decrease work related injuries.
Workplace Safety Tips
- Never stand empty pallets on end. If empty pallets stand on end, this can make the pallets unstable and susceptible to tipping over and causing damage.
- Never stand on a wood pallet. If the deck boards break, a foot or other limb could get stuck between the boards. Also, the pallets can easily tip over with no weight to counterbalance them.
- Instead of standing on pallets, using a pick hook is a much safer option. This tool allows you to reach products at the back of the pallet without standing on it.
- Pay close attention when stepping between pallets. Losing your balance could result in an ankle or knee injury.
- Make sure to wear the proper safety equipment when loading or unloading onto pallets. This might include a safety helmet, protective eye goggles, high visibility vest, gloves, or boots. The correct safety attire might depend on the weight and the type of product being packaged.
- Be conscious of forklift traffic, and give them the right of way. If you are driving a forklift, be conscious of foot traffic.
- Maintain a clean working environment. In order to prevent fires, keep your area free of wood shavings and dust.
- Pay attention to the quality of the pallet, and do not use them if they are damaged in any way. This could be dangerous for the products and the people transporting the goods.
- The weight of pallets can vary greatly, ranging from 20 to 70 lbs. The weight of the pallet needs to be thoroughly assessed before manually lifting the pallet. Some pallets may be lifted by a single employee, while others should be jointly lifted. Others still must be lifted with a forklift.
- Maintain a safe height. Do not over stack the pallets. It is important to maintain a reasonable height, especially if you are manually lifting the pallets.
- When using forklifts and other heavy, mechanical equipment, all the employees should be properly trained. It is also important to be consistently checking that your tools and other equipment are in good working order.
- It is never a safe option to use a pallet as a man lift. Although pallets are designed to withhold tremendous weight, they are made for loads that are evenly distributed, not a worker, who has localized weight. This could potentially be very dangerous for the worker and using engineered lift platforms are the only safe way to create height.
- Follow all of the safety procedures that are put in place in your workplace. They are put in place to keep everyone safe and prevent work related injuries.