The timber department at Holmes Mann has recently designed and built a complex palleting system to be used in the transportation of oil-rig components destined for ocean platforms. This type of bespoke design can be essential for ensuring that products and equipment reach their destination in first class condition, but the danger of using the wrong kind of pallets can be even more serious than damage to goods – they can be deadly.
Pallets are often extremely heavy, meaning that when accidents happen, they are often very serious for the people involved. Yet the dangers are often not appreciated. The fact is, however, that good working practices and good pallet design and construction can prevent almost all accidents.
Almost all accidents that directly result from pallet use arise as a result of poor design, repair, construction or materials, the use of unsuitable pallets for a particular job, unsafe stacking, handling problems or the use of pallets in an unsuitable place.
Suitability for Use
The use of pallets is covered by workplace legislation in the form of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). This dictates that they must be ‘suitable’ for an intended purpose.
Most pallets have been designed for use with a certain type or class of goods. This will also dictate how they should be stored or handled. Using the wrong type of pallet for a job can have disastrous consequences. A pallet for transporting cornflake cartons, for example, is likely to be unsuitable for transporting unevenly distributed loads, such as single motor, even if the weight is the same.
Bespoke Pallet Design
At Holmes Mann, we pride ourselves on good communications to ensure that our bespoke pallets are constructed and designed to be fit for purpose. This means that we will want to know what type of load the pallet is to be used for, such as whether it is liquid or solid and how it is to be packed, if there is any risk of damage to the pallets from the contents, the weight and distribution details, and the requirements essential for ensuring safe transportation.
The latter can include considerations about the surface friction levels between the load and the pallet and whether extra restraints are needed. Our experts also consider the pallet environment, including such factors as temperature and humidity, how the pallets will be moved and what equipment is likely to be used in combination with the pallets.