A readers’ perspective
Last month we received a response to our article, “What to do with sub-standard wooden pallets”, from a retired Managing Director of one of the UK’s biggest cold storage facilities,
“Good article on pallet quality problems. My company used pallet support beams on every installation after there was an instance of the tack welded load beams twisting with a subsequent opening up of the interweaved box section. There were also similar problems with disposable or what we called “one way trip” pallets.
These were flimsy and totally unsafe for reach truck drivers to retrieve and put away. Our cabbed reach trucks were equipped with a special strength Perspex overhead window. On one occasion a “one way trip” pallet collapsed while being moved on the fourth level at about 9 meters up. The boxes were small at 12.5 kgs and one smashed its way through the Perspex window, landing behind the driver’s seat. You can imagine what he felt like. After this we fitted an additional heavy mesh grid above the Perspex with an inbuilt safety hatch.
For additional protection, my company also switched to solid pallet supports on the bottom cantilever level made from thin steel sheeting rather than mesh. This solid plate arrangement was also used on the bottom pallet level to prevent detritus from falling into the bases and causing damage to the drive train.
Irrespective of Health and Safety considerations, caring employers shouldn’t allow product to be stored at high levels on unsafe pallets. It’s actually quite unfair to ask drivers to lift such death traps into and out of racking.