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Worker safety in the pallet industry

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Protecting workers with collaboration

Making working conditions safe in the wood pallet industry is always good business.

As a pallet manufacturer, you strive to protect workers from harm while they are building, repairing, lifting, moving and hauling products.

At Hope Timber Pallet & Recycling, worker well-being is paramount, and we have a robust safety program. While creating and implementing a program like this can take time, we know our workers deserve to be fully trained and equipped with the knowledge they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.

In fact, the Hope Timber Safety Council meets weekly to discuss our challenges and celebrate our successes. If you are considering a similar risk management council, we stand ready to discuss our program.

Another example of our efforts is our weekly team toolbox talk where we discuss a variety of safety topics. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not require the program, it’s an industry best practice and a valuable team-building opportunity.

Commonly reported worker injuries

According to Pallet Enterprise, the following are the most frequent injuries reported:

  1. Material handling accidents may occur when workers remove materials from machinery or manually stack boards or pallets. The lifting and turning motion required can result in back injuries, which may persist for years.
  2. Punctures related to nailing boards together in less automated facilities are a safety concern.
  3. Injured or lost limbs can result from removing equipment safety guards, keeping poorly maintained automatic shutoff systems and using older equipment without safety measures.
  4. Eye injuries are also the basis of frequent claims for sawdust and flying debris.
  5. Falling pallets and crushing accidents may occur from stacking pallets too high.
  6. Forklift accidents may result from inadequately trained drivers.
  7. Commercial auto accidents are a significant source of insurance claims in workers’ compensation and beyond, often caused by inadequately trained drivers or distracted driving.

How to improve safety

You can act today to improve the safety of your business, including:

  • Ensuring workers wear eye protection
  • Keeping the facility clean to reduce debris and sawdust
  • Using automated material-handling machinery where possible
  • Maintaining and servicing equipment adequately

Additionally, it’s vital to train your employees in proper lifting and stacking techniques. It’s best to use mechanical lifting devices or two-person lift techniques for anything that weighs more than 50 lbs.

At Hope Timber, we require regular recertification for forklift operators to meet OSHA standards.

If you use delivery trucks, your drivers must be appropriately trained for safety on the road. Some companies use driver monitoring solutions to keep drivers safe and identify opportunities to improve driving habits.

Open communication between you and your employees is essential for you to maintain worker safety. We pride ourselves on being a close-knit team, and our doors are always open to anyone who wants to talk.

Building better products and better lives

Our core values include building better products and better lives! Better yet, our employees can count on one another to help with questions.

By keeping your workforce trained, you’ll have a safe and intelligent staff that will be far more productive and have higher morale than companies that forgo this effort. In addition, good worker safety offers lower absenteeism and turnover and reduces injury and illness costs.

In short, you and your workers will benefit from making working conditions safe in the wood pallet industry. Contact us if you have questions about worker safety programs or wood pallet services.

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