5 Things About Pallets Your Boss Wants You to Know


They don’t look like much – in fact, they could easily be dismissed as another item destined for the junkyard – but pallets happen to be an essential material in countless workplaces around the world.

Used to ship, store and display items, pallets play a number of crucial roles – the biggest of which is protecting the integrity of your products.

Before they can be utilized to their full potential, it’s important to understand what you need in a pallet for business operations to run smoothly. After all, you’re putting your company’s products – the very objects that make your business flow and be profitable – on them and you deserve the best possible pallets to protect your products. It’s important to the business – and to your boss – to make sure that your pallets are to the standards and specifications of your company’s shipping needs.

So, before you inquire about purchasing pallets, familiarize yourself with these 5 points your boss will want you to know:

  1. What Size is Required for the Product They Are Shipping

While many may not give pallets a second thought, there is a lot to consider when taking a closer look at these simple structures.

To start, they are made from a variety of materials, the most common being from different types of wood, including hardwood, softwood and plywood. Each material has its advantages depending on the job it is used for. While pallets vary in their dimensions and composition, there are 3 standard pallet types –   two-way stringer pallet, four-way stringer pallet and block pallet. Just make sure before sending your product that you adhere to regulations.

According to the Canadian Pallet Council, the completed pallet shall form a rectangle with true 90-degree corners, with all opposing sides parallel plus or minus 1/8″ (3mm) over the full length of the pallet. The variation between the two opposing diagonals shall not exceed 1/4″ (6mm).

  1. Can They Go Overseas?

Absolutely! However, there are certain rules to adhere to:

  1. The International Plant Protection Convention mandates that wood packaging used in international trade must be treated to guard against the distribution of unwanted pests. For a Canadian exporter, this means shipping product to any country other than the U.S.
  2. To package your pallet for export to any country other than the U.S, it must be made from wood heat treated to a core temp of 56C for 30 minutes (either before or after manufacturer).
  1. Are the Pallets Reliable?

You’ve loaded your pallets and have sent them off, but are you confident they’ll go from point A to point B without any hiccups? Let’s face it – whether it’s by plane, truck, train or boat – and often a combination of all four – the shipping process can put a lot of wear and tear on a pallet.

If something is to happen to the pallet during shipping, the products on them will be at risk. Do you really want to have to notify your buyers that their products were damaged? Having to ship new products on new pallets will take up extra time, money and manpower.

Damaged pallets aren’t just an inconvenience, they also pose a safety risk to those working with them.  Sharp jagged edges, decreased strength and missing hardware can lead to serious accidents or injuries on the job.

With safety, durability and performance in mind, option for a pallet producer that manufactures their pallets with care and attention to detail using only the highest-quality components.

  1. How Much Can Go On Top of Them?

According to Canada Post, Pallets going to the same location may be stacked on top of one another provided they are secured with straps. However, one must adhere to the maximum weight of 900 kg and the maximum height of 1.5 m. If the pallet is expected to exceed 500 mm in height, simply add a cardboard liner at the halfway mark and place the row of bundles above the cardboard liner in the same direction as those below the cardboard liner.

  1. Are They Heat Treated?

According to the Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association (CWPCA), a pallet’s safety can be determined by ensuring it has the accredited heat treatment stamp for regulated wood packaging in Canada, which is regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Even pallets with this symbol can be potentially harmful, however, as the mark doesn’t take into account any contamination that could occur after heat treatment. Depending on a pallet’s use, it could have been exposed to a hazardous-materials spill, so look out for any suspicious stains or residues before handling it. And, as with any construction project, wear the necessary protective gear, such as gloves, eye goggles and face mask.

While it’s great to be aware of all of the safety precautions, it’s even more important to follow through with them. If every worker does his or her part to use pallets properly, a safe and efficient workplace will be created as a result.

Brushing up on basic pallet knowledge will show responsibility and reliability – traits your boss are sure to notice and appreciate.

Kristyl Clark