Dealing with Damaged Pallets: Who's Responsible?

Your pooled pallets must be of a quality that is acceptable to the receiver of your product. Many distribution centres have pallet conveyors that can be blocked by a damaged wooden pallet and all organisations are mindful of the risk damaged pallets pose to staff safety.

While CHEP and Loscam own and refurbish the pallets as they pass through their service centres, you are responsible for damaged and contaminated pallets. It is the same as hiring a car, if you damage it you may have to pay for the repair or replacement.

Making sure the pallets you use are of a suitable standard not only prevents accidents and damage but is also good for your bottom line.

We recommend a variety of solutions when it comes to avoiding damaged pallets.

• Utilising the best pallet for your project:

Prior to organising a delivery, regardless of scale, it is critical to ensure that you use the right pallets to suit your load.

Consider weight distribution when loading product onto a pallet. Avoid too much space causing tension on the pallet joints and extra strain on the pallet body, or too little space causing product to sit outside the pallet leading to costly product damage. When this is ignored It can cause earlier signs of damage or potential failures during transport, this could also be a safety risk for warehouse staff.

To ensure your pallets are utilised properly and remain in prime condition for future use, be sure they can sustain the weight of your products. Having a product that exceeds the recommended weight will lead to splitting and damage, this can occur immediately or ruin the structure for future use. Be sure to use the right pallet type for the products to reduce the risk.

• Avoid contamination damage to pallets:

Though commercial wooden pallets are heat-treated to ensure longevity from weathering, water damage can speed up the process of rotting the wood. Ensuring pallets are kept as dry as possible during use or in storage reduces the chances of even the slightest amount of water damage or mould forming within its structure. This is especially pertinent for those transporting food and beverage products.

Pallets should not be contaminated with any oils, paints, toxic substances, radioactive or any other dangerous elements or chemicals.

• Be sure to store pallets properly:

When your pallets are not in use, they should be stored safely and securely to avoid unnecessary damage. Some recommendations include:

Pallets should be stored flat.
Pallets should not be over-stacked.
Pallets should be kept dry.

• Avoid forklift damage:

Ensure best practice measures are utilised in the management of pallets while using forklifts and other mechanical equipment to transport your loads. Staff are required to be fully trained to manage the transportation of pallets, this guarantees they can manoeuvre the floor, space out forklift tines and are aware of all safety protocols.

• Do not accept inbound damaged pallets:

Always check the quality of the pallets arriving on your site. Do not accept deliveries including contaminated or damaged pallets.

Dehire any damaged pallets that make their way through back to the supplier for repairs, and never reuse a damaged pallet for a future load.

I have a damaged pallet, now what?

CHEP and Loscam both offer repair services for their hired pallets; this is usually at no cost. If a pallet is damaged you can return it to a distribution centre for refurbishments, a pallet deemed beyond repair can be recycled, however, this can incur a cost. Once a pallet is of the required quality standard it will be put back into the supply chain.