How to Stay Safe Around a Loading Dock: Top Eight Loading Dock Safety Tips

Loading docks, regardless of the setting, are dangerous because they’re typically busy most of the time.

In fact, the # 1 cause of ¼ of all warehouse injuries results from a busy loading dock area combined with human error. For this reason, it’s extremely important to practice safety protocol when working on or near a busy loading dock.

Here are 8 crucial loading dock safety tips to follow to ensure your safety as well as others around you.

Top Eight Loading Dock Safety Tips

#1. Properly train employees

It all starts with properly trained employees. If all employees are properly trained, it cuts back on accidents due to a lack of knowledge. Training employees on the proper use of PPE and other safety procedures is the best way to reduce work-related injuries that could otherwise occur when not properly trained.

#2. Wear your PPE at all times

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a basic protocol. It’s often inconvenient to employees but is extremely important since it reduces the risk of injury. PPE includes protective eyewear (safety glasses), high visibility vests, gloves, hardhats, and other protective equipment.

#3. ALWAYS keep area clean and dry

A dry and clean area is vital for a safe work environment since slip and falls are often caused by a dirty or wet work environment. When there is nothing to slip or trip over, it reduces the chances of work-related injuries on or near loading docs.

#4. Inspect equipment regularly

Regularly scheduled inspections on equipment are important to ensure there are no malfunctions or problems with working equipment. If not properly maintained, equipment such as pallet jacks, forklifts, and other loading equipment could seriously injure or kill workers. That’s why this is one of the most important precautions to take.

#5. Follow standard procedure

It’s important to make sure you and everyone on your team is practicing proper safety procedures because this reduces the chance of unnecessary accidents that could have been prevented.

#6. Turn off vehicles, not in use

Gas emissions are a huge, invisible risk to workers which can be easily avoided by simply turning the vehicle off when not in use.

#7. Establish safety zones

Marking off safety zones with high visibility tape is the best way to establish safety zones for hazardous areas. This shows everyone where not to go or where to be especially careful to ensure safety. Places that should be marked include blind spots where collisions are likely, as well as electrical panels.

#8. Use dock plates and levelers correctly

You should always check load plates for wear and corrosion prior to use each time. When doing so, make sure the plates being used are suitable for the combined weight of the cargo, lifting machine, and workers so there are no unforeseen problems. Proper use of the dock plates which fill the gap and the levelers that smooth out the lift is crucial for dock safety.

Stay Safe!

As you can see, the most important thing to remember while working near a busy loading dock area is to stay safe. If you follow these safety tips and you shouldn’t have any problems following through with that.

Why Wood Packaging is Best for Shipping Fruits and Vegetables

If you’re looking for the best way to ship your fresh fruits and vegetables, wood packaging is your best bet.

Wood packaging has been used for centuries in the preparation, packaging, storage, and transportation of food.

This is mostly due to all the awesome benefits wood packaging entails like low-costs, helping the environment, as well as ease of use.

Benefits of using wood packaging for shipping fruits and vegetables

Wood packaging has some really awesome benefits! Some of those benefits include:

  • Stronger, sturdier material which means it’s able to endure high levels of stress. Wood packaging is designed to handle heavy mechanical stress which is commonly experienced during transportation and storage.
  • Best for heavy products. 
  • Moisture and erosion resistant so they typically aren’t damaged by moisture and products stay dry.
  • Saves space since most wood packaging can be stacked.
  • It’s cost-effective. Wood packaging is cheaper when compared with plastic or other shipping material.
  • It’s recyclable so, in a way, you are helping the environment when you choose wood packaging over other materials.
  • Doesn’t rust

Different types of wood packaging options

There are now more than 1,500 different sizes and styles of wood produce packaging material to satisfy your packaging and shipping needs. Here is a list of some of the most popular types of wood packaging that works perfectly for safely shipping your fruits and veggies depending on what you’re shipping:

1. Wooden crates

Wooden trays work perfectly for the transportation of tomatoes, while large wooden crates are a great option for watermelon and other types of melon as well as other large fruits and vegetables. 

Wooden crates are an awesome option for shipping fruits and vegetables because they offer many perks like a higher efficiency for large fruits and they are recyclable.

2. Wire-bound Crates

Most often used for sweet corn, snap beans, and other produce that requires hydro cooling (crucial for the ripening of produce) although they can be used for a variety of fruits and vegetables. They are sturdy and easily stackable which effectively saves on space.

The great thing about these crates is that they come in a variety of sizes — from a half bushel to standard pallet bin size and have enough space to allow proper ventilation and cooling.

The down-side to using wire-bound crates is that they are not usually reused.

3. Wood pallets

The produce industry uses approximately 190 of the 700 million pallets produced every year in the US and depending on the size of the produce package, one pallet can hold between 20 and 100 individual packages of produce.

Plastic film is typically used to secure produce, which severely restricts proper ventilation to your produce. Luckily, there is an awesome alternative that properly secures the load and offers sufficient ventilation — plastic netting.

4. Pallet Bins

Pallet bins are typically used to move produce from field to packing location. Capacities range from 12 to over 50 bushels.

When stored outside, they last approximately 5 years. When properly stored they can last more than 10 years and be reused multiple times.

5. Corrugated Fiberboard

Corrugated fiberboard is commonly mistaken for cardboard. It comes in all weights and styles and is low cost compared to other wood shipping materials. For this reason, it’s the most popular choice for shipping produce and will probably remain so in the future since strength and features are continuously being improved.

This is the best option if you’re looking for low cost and ease of use.

One drawback is that cold and hot temperatures can reduce the durability and strength unless specifically treated.

Requirements for shipping fruits and vegetables in wood packaging

Wood packaging for your fruits and vegetables should offer:

  1. Protection- Must protect produce from poor environmental conditions as well as mechanical damage during handling and distribution. Your packaging of choice should be sturdy enough to resist damage throughout the packaging, storing, and shipping process.
  2. Identification- Must indicate what the product is on the packaging. For example; name, brand, size, grade, variety, weight, grower, shipper, and country of origin may be required depending on where you are shipping to or from.
  3. Containment- The packaging must completely enclose the product without wasting space and should be packed in convenient units for handling and distribution. As a general rule, packages of produce exclusively handled by hand should be no heavier than 50 lbs. For produce that will be moved by forklift, weight shouldn’t exceed 1200 lbs.

Why you should use wood packaging over another packaging material

As you can see, wood packaging has some amazing benefits, but what’s stopping you from choosing another type of packaging material?

The answer’s easy, wood packaging has many noteworthy advantages over materials like plastic and metal (rust resistance, cost, and capacity).

Good manufacturing quality, handling practices, and proper sanitation treatment makes wood a highly suitable option for transportation and storage of fruits and vegetables

20 Creative Ways To Use Pallets

20 Creative Ways To Use Pallets

Often times pallets are thrown out, but these pallets are not all rendered useless. There are many ways you can transform a pallet into something worthwhile.

It can also be a fun DIY project. Possibilities are endless, that is what makes pallets so versatile.

You can also get pallets for free!

Below are 20 neat ideas to help you get started on your project.

1. Standing Garden

The small slots these pallets provide are perfect for making a beautiful standing garden.

2. Coffee Table

Pallets can make a beautiful, chic coffee table. You can add wheels for easier to move and a glass mirror to make your coffee table look nice and modern. You could also use the shelving as storage for magazines and books.  

3. Pallet Couches

Transform a pallet into cheap couches. Just add in the pillows and your couch is ready to go. A stylish and functional way to make a cheap couch.

4. Bookshelf or Toy Bin

Pallets can be great for a neat DIY bookshelf or toy bin. It can hold books, toys, and other knick-knacks, as well as picture frames.

5. Shoe Organizer

Pallets make great shoe organizers since they fit perfectly inside the pallet. It is also a cheap way to organize your shoes.

6. Swing

Using either a rope or chain could transform a pallet into a nice and cozy place to relax on the porch or patio.

7. Wine Bar or Wine Rack

For those wine lovers, a pallet could be used as a wine bar. You could go for a simple bar or go all out and build an entire bar on your patio. Not enough storage, a wine rack will surely do the trick and it will look cute and stylish in your kitchen.

8. Pallet Lights

Pallets could be turned into cute lanterns. If you’re going for a rustic look, you could use these lanterns outdoors in your patio or indoors.  

9. Pallet Pathway

You could completely take a pallet apart and use the pieces to make a pathway in your garden. This adds a lot of texture and makes your garden look beautiful. It is also a cheap way to make a pathway.

10. Wall Art or Wall Sign

Paint over your pallet and use as a decorative focal point for your wall. You can also write a sign as another fun way to decorate your home. As a plus, you can personalize the sign to say exactly what you want it to say.  

11. Wooden Pallet Hanging Decor

Spice up your home or outdoor living space with wooden pallet wall decor. You can also add plants to add an extra flair to your decor.

12. Flower Box

You can transform a pallet into a flower box for your dining table or for your patio. Create a rectangle and store your plants inside the pallet.  

13. Ottoman

Transform a pallet into an ottoman by adding the padding, decorative legs, and fabric and you’ve got yourself a neat looking ottoman.

14. Desktop

Add a piece of a pallet on top of a table top and you’ve got yourself a cute desk to store your things.

15. Stools

Add some cool exciting stools to your patio by stacking a few pallets and adding some faux leather fabric to them.

16. Pot Rack

If you want a rustic look, use a pallet as a pot rack. Just add a chain to the sides and some hooks to store your pots in. It is very stylish and functional.

17. Plate Storage

You could transform a pallet into a rustic way of storing your dishes. It will look beautiful and stylish in your home.

18. Bench

Pallets are also great for outdoor seating or entryway. Just add in some stylish legs and pillows and you’re good to go.

19. Pallet Headboard and Bed

Make a headboard out of a used pallet. You could leave it the way it is for a chic rustic look or you can paint in any way you want. Using pallets to build a bed is a great way to transition your child to sleeping into a bed because they are lower than traditional bed frames. You could even add some lights underneath the bed to add a warm glow and focal point to the room.

20. Wooden Pallet Dog or Cat Bed

Some dog or cat beds can be pretty pricey, why not make your own. Your pet will surely love it! You can also customize their bed by adding their name to it or decorating however else you want. All they need is a pillow and some sheets to their new bed.

How to Dismantle Wooden Pallets

How To Dismantle a Pallet

If you just got ahold of free or cheap pallets and you have no idea how to dismantle it, this article will help you get started. This article was put together by the wonderful staff at Pasadena Skid and Pallet, a Houston pallets manufacturer.

You want to prevent splitting and breaking of your pallets. Dismantling a wooden pallet takes patience and effort, it’s not as simple is it looks.

I will show you five simple methods to dismantle a pallet.

The Brick Chisel & Hammer

To start, you will need to remove the nails using the hammer and the brick chisel.

Put the brick chisel between the planks and rafters, or the dice of the blocks, then hit it with the hammer.

Remember, do not hit too hard since this could cause the wood planks to break. Instead, hit gently and repeat this several times until the nail breaks.

The Claw Bar

Use this method to remove the dice on the pallets.

With the hammer, tap on the dices to slightly loosen them up.

In order to avoid damaging the pallet, use a tapping block between the dice and the hammer.

Place the hammer between the cross and the dice, and then hit.

Repeat this using the claw bar.

The Sawzall or Reciprocating Saw

This method is one of the fastest if you have a ton of pallets to dismantle.

To make this process easier, you can use a plank to set your pallets in between so that it stays in place or you can place your pallets on top of a wooden table. Clamp your pallet in place so that it doesn’t move around.

Grab your sawzall or reciprocating saw and slice through the nails on each end of the pallet. Start at the edges and then work your way towards the middle.

The Pallet Buster

This tool is very effective and efficient. It is a two way tool designed to use in 4 way pallets or 2 way pallets.

Grab your pallet buster or pallet dismantling bar and place between the deck boards.

Using the handle, push the pallet buster down towards you, the pallets should come apart easily.

The Two Technique: Using The Chisel & Reciprocating Saw

Place the chisel in between the deck board, then grab the hammer and hit softly to loosen up the gabs. This will make the reciprocating saw easier to cut in between the deck boards.

Grab your reciprocating saw and slice through the nails. You can also use a crowbar or pry bar.

Place the crowbar or pry bar between the stretcher to pry between the pallets using the hammer.

Five Places To Find Free Or Low Cost Pallets

Five-Places-To-Find-Free-Or-Low-Cost-Pallets

Looking for free or low cost pallets? You have come to the right place. The use of Pallets are becoming popular for arts and crafts, furniture, landscaping projects, emergency home construction, and compost bins.

Here is a list of five free or low cost pallets to get you started. 

1. Small Local Shops Or Facilities

You can find pallets at small shops, schools, seniors residences or other operations that generate a few pallets. Do not go to large facilities to get pallets. This is because they usually do not let any outsider on their site. They also reuse pallets internally, and return them or recycle them.

If you live in Houston then there is a great place where you can find pallets. Houston pallets manufacturer is the place I go to. They have great quality pallets at a reasonable price and they might also give them out for free.  

2. Get Free Pallets From Your Local Shopping Locations

Local shops that you go to can be very friendly and more than willing to give pallets away. Also, since you already shop here and they know you well they will most likely give you a free pallet. You are a valued customer so they are more likely to help you. 

3. Check For Free Pallets From A Distribution Center

If for any reason your local business contact cannot get you the pallets you need then perhaps they can arrange a referral from their distribution center. They receive very good quality pallets and can maybe be of assistance.

Most often distribution centers receive pallets that they do not need or are not compatible with their systems. So they may be willing to make them available for you to pickup. However, do not forget to get a referral first and some centers might not be willing to give you any pallets but it is still worth a shot.

If you establish a relationship with this facility then you might have access to a large and enduring supply. You will also do them a favor of using the pallets they will not need. This will help the planet from landfilling or grinding. 

4. You Can Find Free Pallets Outside Of Business But Ask First

If you see any pallets outside or against the back of a business or at construction sites, site management or operators do not assume they will not need them. They may simply not have enough room inside to put their pallets.

However, it does not hurt to ask them just to make sure. Never take the pallets before you ask them.

Various states have pallet and container theft laws. If the pallet has a stamp on it, such as CHEP, PECO, iGPS, Coca-Cola, U.S Postal Service or others, then you should not remove them. These companies strongly enforce the property rights to their pallets and you can find yourself charged with unlawful possession. 

5. Find Pallets At Your Local Pallet Recycler Or Manufacturer

These pallet recyclers often receive very good quality pallets that they do not need or have any value to them, except for dismantling or grinding. You can visit your local pallet recycler and they may have the pallets you are looking for at a reasonable cost or for free.

Even just buying a new pallet is not that expensive. Additionally, they are constructed from fresh new lumber and they look great. It might also be more cost effective to purchase pallets from a local manufacturer than searching for old pallets.

Furthermore, there may be oversized pallets that are great for crafting and are inexpensive.  

Various uses of Wooden Pallets

12 Pallet Perfect Projects
Wooden pallets are typically used in work-related environments to transport items from one place to another within the boundaries of a warehouse. When wooden pallets are discarded, however, they are often used for various pallet crafts such as benches, picnic tables, chairs and beds. Not only is this great for the environment as the pallets are being reused, it is also a reliable, cost-effective way for the average person to conduct home projects.

Obtaining pallets for your home project is simple; Simply contact local businesses and inquire about their pallets. Businesses often receive weekly or bi-weekly shipments on a regular basis and have plenty of leftover pallets in stock. This is good news to you as they may be inclined to provide pallets for little to no cost to you providing you have a method of transportation!

If the pallets you receive are in good shape, you will be able to able to craft sturdy household items. An incredibly common use for pallets would be to craft tables; This is accomplished by stacking two or more pallets on top of each other and placing a large piece of wood or glass on top of the pallets to create a flat, even surface. If done correctly, the result should be a unique, aesthetic table that you can proudly claim as your own.

If you are unable to locate pallets from local your local businesses, try contacting bigger businesses or warehouses as they may be receiving shipments on a more frequent basis.

Getting Crafty With Wooden Pallets

Getting Crafty With Wooden Pallets

Are you someone who gets enthralled by being creative and making your own furniture? In this article, I will be talking about wooden pallets and how you can use them to make your own furniture. Since wooden pallets are not only strong and reliable but also cheap, they make the ideal source when it comes to crafting furniture for your house. A really simple and easy way to use them is by stacking a couple on top of one another, nailing them together and then placing glass on top which gives you a nice and simple table. Making a bed is also a simple task, just place the pallets side by side until you get the length you desire, nail them together so they are secure, then just place pillows or mattress material and you have yourself a bed.

If you are a craftsman, the wooden pallet can be a source for several home projects. You can place them in your garden or even paint them and use them around the house as a simple decoration. Either way, a nicely painted pallet can make your house look awesome and give it more character. You should easily be able to find wooden pallets near your home really cheap or for free if you’re lucky. Your best option is to ask nearby pet stores, general stores and furniture stores. These types of stores usually get their deliveries on pallets and just discard them after they finish with them. Some stores will give them away for free since they are usually required to pay to have them removed.

Free Is Good: Wooden Pallets

Pallet Management Services

This world is filled with perfectly recyclable material and if you’re good at crafts then that’s good news for you. Finding materials to move your art forward can become very expensive in the long run and the stress of spending so much money just to practice can stifle creativity. This is why it’s so important to use recycled materials, especially if many of your crafts are based on the usage of wood.

There is plenty of wood to be found. A great source for wood you can recycle is found on pallets. Pallets are usually connected strips of wood that are often used for warehouse work. Items are attached and transported on pallets or stored in warehouses on the pallet. Because wooden pallets often come with every shipment, warehouses and other businesses will often find that they have an excess amount of wooden pallets that they are willing to give away for free. Pallet wood is usually strong in design as it is used to carry heavy shipment. As long as the wooden pallet is relatively new, the wood should be strong and secure enough for most projects.

To find free pallets, a quick internet search should bring up anything you need. If you can’t find pallets by this method, try contacting local shipping companies or any kind of warehouse.

Also try contacting craft, home improvement, and grocery stores. Any store that is likely to receive large shipments will likely use pallets.

Be polite and most of them will simply give them away to you!

Upcycling Bookshelves Using Recycled Pallets

pallet-bookshelf-13

There’s nothing like a good book. While the avid reader enjoys collecting and sharing the books they’ve read over the years, they may not always have a nice central location to store and display all their various titles. The right bookshelf can really tie a room together, and the most beautiful book shelves can be assembled using the reclaimed material from wood pallets. Finding a new use for an old thing not only makes the world a little bit nicer, but also saves you money, which means more money for books! You can have a nice and unique bookshelf at a fraction of the expense of buying a manufactured bookcase that will likely require assembly anyway.

Plans for building a variety of book shelf styles using the upcycled planks from wooden shipping pallets can be found on woodworking and upcycling websites. With wooden pallets as construction material, you have a low-cost opportunity to build something unique and new out of something that has otherwise served its purpose.

When selecting discarded pallets for your bookshelf woodworking projects, you’ll want to pay attention to whether the wood used to make the pallet was treated chemically or not. If you cannot find any labels or markings anywhere, it is likely to be untreated wood used in domestic shipping. Treated wood may also be heat-treated, indicated by the letters HT, but if you see the letters MB, you’ll know the manufacturer used Methyl Bromide to treat the wood, which is a preservative and pesticide you’d be better off not interacting with. If the maker used chemicals to treat the wood, wash it as thoroughly as you reasonably can before using it to make it as safe to touch and be around as possible, before attempting to sand, treat, cut, or assemble anything.

Using reclaimed wood from wooden pallets as your bookshelf building material is a great way to use the reclaimed wood. The rustic quality of unfinished woods like oak and hickory makes wood pallets perfect for building bookshelves and bookcases that attract attention and enhance the ambiance of the room they’re in. If you want to finish the wood with a stain and a clear coat, you’ll find that the natural beauty of the wood is enhanced, and enhances the character of the area where it sets. Choose from various finishes to adapt your reclaimed pallet wood for a suitable bookcase for any decor style.

Bookshelves and bookcases made from upcycling wooden shipping pallets make amazing gifts to give. The effort you put in to designing and building the piece adds tremendous value in the eyes of the beholder, and has a deeper meaning than some store-bought gizmo or plywood pressboard cookie-cutter factory furniture.

Solving Refugee Housing Problems by Upcycling Wooden Pallets

Solving Refugee Housing Problems by Upcycling Wooden Pallets

The people at i-Beam Design were inspired to start the Pallet House Project when they learned that collectively, we could house 84% of the refugees currently displaced by war and natural disaster using just one year’s worth of recycled American shipping pallets. A year and a half of American pallet production creates enough upcycleable material to build housing for 33 million refugees, the entire refugee population on Earth.

Every year, however, almost 21,000,000 pallets wind up in dumps and landfills instead of being put to good re-use. 21 million wood pallets contain enough raw building material to house over forty-thousand refugees. The best notion about the concept of using wooden pallets is their shipping cost is practically zero, since they’re already being used to ship and deliver goods like medical supplies, food, and water already to the regions where they’re needed most.

The Pallet House is a simple structure constructed primarily of recovered wood from shipping pallets. I-BEAM offers construction plans and details for sale to download for $75. This elegantly simple design has been featured in HRH Prince Charles’ Royal Gardens as part of a sustainable design exhibition

It takes just 100 upcycled pallets being configured and assembled by a team of 4 or 5 folks to construct a 250 square foot “Pallet House” and the work can be done in less than a week. Wooden shipping pallets provide readily available and easily sustainable building modules that are inexpensive and highly versatile. A family can utilize corrugated roofing or simply stretch out some tarps to keep water out, until eventually local materials become available enough to produce something more durable and long-lasting.

Refugees spend an average of 7 years in their refugee camps after being displaced by some unfortunate event. The Pallet House can be adapted to work in almost any climate on the planet, and can provide long-term solutions for people in need of basic shelter.

In 1999, the Pallet House design won an award from Architecture for Humanity. Since then, it has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and papers in Italy and Spain as well. It was also featured in the book “Design Like You Give A Damn” which is a book produced by Architecture for Humanity.

I-Beam Design has also built Pallet structures in Indiana and New York, as well as at the Architecture Triennial in Milan. Currently, they are developing housing for victims of the recent earthquakes in both Haiti and Pakistan.