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

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.

Tropical Pallets Crucial For Transportation Of Goods

Tropical Pallets Crucial For Transportation Of Goods

The world relies on pallets for the transportation of goods. The items are rather straight forward and, often times, people don’t pay too much attention to the pallets. After all, it is often inexpensive wood constructed together in order to hold shipping containers steady and to make sure it is not touching the ground (in order to avoid dampness, should moisture and water be present). Once a shipment is complete, the pallets are discarded and, almost always, just left in stacks behind a place of business receiving the goods. This is just a waste of good, quality material sitting around, waiting to be used. It is also how Tropical Pallets out of Miami had made a business out of collecting these pallets and refurbishing the material in order to help not only recycle the wood, but return the pallets to use. It is a method that has created jobs in the southern Florida hotbed for shipping while also helping able to prevent tens of thousands of pounds of discarded wood end up in landfills or even out in the ocean.

The owners of Tropical Pallets saw the potential to break into the shipping industry when noticing all of the shipping recipient companies storing the pallets on the exterior of their buildings. When asked what these pallets would end up, recipients would say they would either allow individuals to pick up and use what they needed, or they would just go and discard the wood in the recycling or trash. Typically though, these pallets would just sit out, exposed to the elements and deteriorate.

Tropical Pallets saw the potential to take trash and transform it into something worth while for the shipping industry. Now, it is recycling pallets and helping companies save money while shipping the goods to locations around the world.

House Made from Reclaimed Pallets Stands up to Tropical Cyclone

House Made from Reclaimed Wooden Pallets Stands up to Tropical Cyclone

A unique little house designed and built by three university students and constructed out of wooden pallets withstood category-three winds, ranging from 111 to 129 mph, from Tropical Cyclone Marcia’s that battered Rockhampton, Australia in February. In fact, the little house faired so well in the storm that it could serve to become a prototype for temporary emergency shelters in disaster-struck regions.

Constructed over a year ago by Angus Hughes and two friends, students at Central Queensland University, the house won a national competition that put the house on the road to wider-spread construction. Hughes two accomplices, engineering students Mattison Rose and Jessica Kahl tweaked the draft, turning the house into a flat-pack design and allowing it to be released as emergency housing, putting marginalized Australians to work building pallet-house kits.

The three Rockhampton students were in Melbourne when Tropical Cyclone Marcia hit, and were definitely surprised when the house held its ground while other sturdier structures around it were badly damaged. Hughes said he realized their little house could serve as an emergency shelter prototype when he saw everything that was going on throughout the storm, with his family’s home taking on some damage from the cyclone, but the pallet house remaining virtually unscathed.

Hughes said that he and his classmates are focusing on disaster-relief shelters as part of “The Big Idea,” which is a project hosted by “The Big Issue,” an independent magazine sold by homeless, marginalized and disadvantaged people in Australia. Hughes said their plan is to set up a business, with their business plan being fine-tuned with the expert help of The Big Idea as well as accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Hughes said the next phase of the venture is to conduct a comprehensive research project into the feasibility of building larger houses from pallets.

Michigan Artist Turns Scrap Pallets Into Works of Art

Michigan Artist Turns Scrap Pallets Into Works of Art

Recycling isn’t always a heavy industrial process of breaking down old object to reuse the material in them for new products. Sometimes, it can be a labor of art, as Kalamazoo native artist Adam Cefai proves. Adam has built a reputation for himself as an artist by creating geographical representations of the Great Lakes and their surrounding states in the medium of jointed pallet boards. His latest creation is an amazingly accurate cutout of the state of Michigan, surrounded by the lakes.

Adam’s pieces of artwork begin from a simple concept: that of using recycled material to produce something entirely new. All of his cutouts are made from boards harvested from pallets he finds in his area. Generally, he finds pallets that are being given away and that would wind up in landfills if not used. In this sense, Adam is reducing waste, one piece of art at a time.

His inspiration for this line of art was a post he came across online of someone else doing something very similar, but using new material instead of recycled. Realizing that the same thing could be achieved by culling specific boards from pallets, Adam went to work with his jigsaw and produced the first of many cutouts. Spurred on by support from social media groups he posted pictures to, he also began creating his Great Lakes cutouts to sell to interested parties across the country. He now treats his art as his own small business, selling his pieces for good prices to buyers who love both his craftsmanship and his environmentally conscious method.

The popularity of Adam and his artwork seems only to be increasing with time, and he has branched out to doing cutout pieces of other geographical features for customers who request them. His art teaches the fine lesson that recycling is more important, and sometimes more aesthetic, than one might think.

Make Trendy Custom Furniture With Recycled Wooden Pallets

Make Trendy Custom Furniture With Recycled Wooden Pallets

Purchasing new furniture can be expensive, time consuming, and doesn’t always fit with current decor styles. For those that don’t have the time or budget to shop for new pieces of furniture that can end up costing thousands for quality furniture, consider making your own with recycled pallets. Recycled pallets are not only cost effective, but allow for uniquely customized pieces that fit perfectly with existing furniture, and present room decor.

Everything from living room tables, chairs, grills, outdoor planter containers, to beautiful rustic wood floors, customized entertainment stands, and eye-catching shelves, can be made at little or no cost. The best part about making wooden pallet furniture is creators will find an endless supply of building materials. The National Wooden Pallet & Container Association report more than 1.5 pallets per day are used to transport goods in the United States. After transport those pallets are often not reused and end up discarded or being used in recycling.

In an age of recycling and innovation pallet furniture makers will find an endless supply of ideas at such websites as Pinterest, 99 Pallets, 101 Pallet Plans or 1001 Pallets. Pinterest alone will display beautiful results of pallet projects, such as kitchen cabinets, garden paths, and wall gardens. Facebook pages for 1001 pallets, and 101 Pallets will unveil projects, such as children’s desks, tool racks, consoles, and even bed frames.

Dr. Alex Yergiyev, pathologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, began making pallet furniture after finding instructions for a buffet table online. He kept the buffet, but has made a hobby and business out of making wine racks, and tables, which he sells for $50, and $150.

Third grade teacher Donna Zang also has a thriving online furniture business using recycled pallets. She makes a variety of products including wine racks, towel holders, and a variety of frames and tables. Her prices range from $15-$250 depending on the product. She initially put a few products online and had ten orders in 12 hours.

Once pallets have been found they have to be taken apart, and the slates sanded and cleaned for reuse. Most pallets are heat treated, which makes them perfect for reuse. When attempting to use old pallets, however, keep in mind older pallets may not always be safe for reuse. They were sometimes treated with formaldehyde, so never use questionable pallets. One of the best parts about building pallet furniture is all it takes is a few clicks of the mouse button for custom made designs and thriving hobbies.

Recycling Wooden Pallets This Holiday Season

Recycling Wooden Pallets This Holiday Season

Warehouses use a copious amount of pallets everyday. These wooden pallets are durable, however, they won’t last a lifetime. Someday they will become warped and too weak to be used. Many pallets are only used just one time and then disposed of. This is such a waste of good wood that can be used elsewhere. Too many wooden pallets end up in a landfill. These pallets are still useful in many ways.That’s when it’s a smart idea to consider having these pallets recycled.

The best use for these old wooden pallets is as fire wood. With the holidays coming up so soon, wood will be needed even more to heat fireplaces and keep everyone warm and cozy.

It’s not always necessary to cut down perfectly good trees when there are so many wooden pallets available to be recycled. Too many trees are wasted in this manner. Recycling the wooden pallets is much better than just disposing of them. It is good for the environment, and keeps the trees in the forests where they belong. Wooden pallets are not biodegradable and with the world thinking more about being green, recycling the pallets is a wonderful example of caring for the environment.

One place that is really involved in this recycling project is Denver, Colorado. PalletFest is held in October. It focuses on recycling wooden pallets. This unique festival offers live music, a pallet maze, food and drink, an up-cycled fashion shop, and many more exciting activities. PalletFest is held to get people excited about recycling wooden pallets and have them be used in a creative manner.

October is the perfect time of the year to have a PalletFest. The weather is getting a nip in the air. The wooden pallets are available to take home and be used as fire wood on those cold, snowy evenings in front of the fireplace. Just imagine sitting there with a delicious glass of wine, or a nice, warm hot chocolate to take the chill out of those bones. No one really cares what kind of wood is in the fireplace; as long as it warms up the atmosphere in a cozy way.

Pallet Design System Keeps Getting Better

Pallet Design System Keeps Getting Better

Improvements to PDS™ brands this application or software tool ‘A Treasure’. It is even more valuable because it allows various companies to share certain information regarding unit loads with their customers. PDSTM is designed, developed and owned by the National Wooden Pallets & Container Association (NWPCA).

According to the latest statistics, one of the best methods to convey the right solution to all PDSTM software customers is to basically design them. They can be designed on a 3d design platform for better clarity. The PDSTM was the first software, application or program that exists in the marketplace and has widely become a respected platform as per the industrial standards.

PDS version 5.1 which was successfully launched during the summer is the latest updated version of the software. It contains a new Integrated Program known as ‘LoadSync’. LoadSync works concurrently with the PDSTM software to allow end users scrutinize their unit load handling requirements. The requirements are then saved to a data file and later sent via email to the manufacturer.

The PDS application incorporates various uses and functions. For example, if there is a shortage of hardwoods, but there is the availability of green pine, the company can analyze the stacking, racking, and load systems to figure out if the alternative material will accomplish various customers’ needs.

Bearing in mind that there are very many variables that get into a design, the system does better evaluating all of them. The newest PDS 5.1 version allows companies to run schematics and analysis of the pallets then printing it out while getting a sign-off from the relevant customer. The company is able to integrate it into the PalMate system and into their production processes.

The PDS application will always show that a change in packaging will put substantial weight and pressure on the deck boards, instead of the stringer. Using this software, the customer is able to know how the bags affect the pallet strength while coming up with a precise solution. The application also goes an extra mile to incorporate various safety measures into its dominant designs.

Pallet Fest 2014 Helps Save The World One Pallet At A Time

Pallet Fest 2014 Helps Save The World One Pallet At A Time

Recycling is a very sensitive topic. Many people try to do their best to help recycle materials that can then be repurposed and integrated into other items. Until now, there have been very few events where people who are passionate about recycling can gather. However, that will change with the implementation of PalletFest.

Many people are unaware of the benefits of upcycling pallets. Pallets are used in the logistics industry as a way to move many items, at one time, in an efficient way. However, many pallets are discarded after only one use. This leaves a lot of usable and useful material simply sitting in landfills, when it could be used in many different ways to help benefit and enrich the lives of many people. The many different uses for pallets and the many creative ways that people implement them only serve to show that it is a valuable resource that should be utilized and treasured, and that is the main goal of PalletFest.

PalletFest is an even that focuses on the upcycling of pallets that are used for transporting goods to manufacturers and stores. The event takes place in Sculpture Park, near Speer Blvd. and Champa in Denver Colorado on October the 11th and 12th. Events for PalletFest include live music, an upcycled fashion shop, food and drink, live music a “Pallet Build Off,” a pallet maze, pallet parkour and much more. If you are someone who is interested in seeing what the excitement is about or are a fellow upcycling enthusiast, come to PalletFest.