Where you stack empty pallets can affect safety and workflow

Plain Pallets on 8 November 2017

Deciding on whether your pallets should be stored inside or outside can have a significant effect on the safety and workflow of your business.

Both options have their pros and cons, and it's up to you and your business to decide which is the safest and most economic solution.

Got any questions about safe pallet storage? Call us on 03 9545 7344 or contact us here.

In summary

Depending on what your priorities are for storing your pallets, you have to evaluate a number of factors before making a choice.

 Outside storageInside storage
Protected from elements  
Lowered fire risk  
Saves working space  
Lowered infestation risk  
Prevent warping of pallets  

Outside pallet storage

When you store pallets outside, you risk exposing them to the elements. Wooden pallets are made from an organic material so they can change shape and warp with exposure to moisture, sun and dust. Plastic pallets are typically more durable but can still get damaged from outside exposure.

Storing pallets outside can have its benefits. Factories, warehouses and back docks can save valuable storage space from stacking empty pallets outside.

It's also worth taking into consideration the amount of time that pallets are stored outside. If pallets are fast moving and not being stored in the same place for long periods of time, there's less risk of weather damage occurring to them.

One of the most important risk factors to consider for outdoor pallet storage is the potential risk of a fire. Wooden pallets are typically very flammable so fire safety practices should always be followed when they are stored outside.

"We had one client who lost 2,000 pallets due to a stray cigarette butt being discarded on a hot day. It was a hell of of bonfire!" - Matt, company director
pallets outside

Inside pallet storage

Inside storage can be a more secure option for your pallets, but there are still safety risks that need to be considered. Depending on the available space in your work area, there can be limitations with how high you can stack your pallets.

If pallets are stacked too close to fire sprinklers, they can prevent water spraying on flames when the fire alarm system is activated. Stacking pallets too close to the roof and piping can increase the risk of forklifts hitting and damaging beams, roof linings and sprinkler heads.

Storing pallets inside can also have a negative effect on workflow. Piles of pallets can obstruct access to stock in your warehouse and become an obstacle for forklift drivers to constantly manoeuvre around.

Empty pallets inside can also have a detrimental effect on consumables in your warehouse. If left untouched for long periods of time, piles of empty pallets can be a breeding place for pests and insects.

pallets inside

Safe stacking guidelines

Whether they're stored inside or outside, empty pallets should always be stacked in a safe and secure manner. Consider the following guidelines after you've decided where to store your pallets:

  • Pallets should be stacked straight and flat
  • Never mix sizes when stacking pallets in the same pile
  • Keep outside stacks of pallets at least 7 metres* away from buildings
  • Keep stacks of pallets away from flammable materials and compressed gases
  • Ensure your pallet stacks are not obstructing any fire sprinklers
  • Keep indoor pallet stacks half a metre away from any walls

* Distance between stacks and walls can vary depending on the height of the stack. Fewer than 50 pallets - 7 metres, up to 200 pallets - 9 metres, over 200 pallets - 15 metres.

Why is safe stacking so important?

Whether it's outside or inside, incorrect storage of empty pallets can have a detrimental effect on your workplace. If you want your work environment to be OH&S compliant, you must follow safe stacking and storage procedures.

If you don't adhere to correct safety procedures, then your company be fined and run the risk of a dangerous incident occurring in the workplace.

Following safe and economical stacking procedures will improve the workflow of your business. One of the best ways to ensure your workplace sticks to these procedures is to create a safety plan.

Meetings, posters and training sessions can all contribute to the positive application of safe stacking procedures in the workplace.

Plain Pallets is a provider of high quality, durable pallets. For any questions on safe pallet storage, or to find out more about our pallets, call us on 03 9545 7344 or contact us here.