UK businesses could be compromising the safety of their products and warehouse operatives by using wooden pallets with undefined loading capacities.

That’s the stark warning of Jim Hardisty, Managing Director of, following a recent incident where a major UK supermarket was faced with £2.5m worth of damage after a wooden pallet racked 10-pallets high broke in its automated storage system.

Jim said: “How can you be sure that a wooden pallet is capable of bearing the weight of your goods? The truth is, you can’t. The reason for this is that the strength of timber varies. Make 100 wooden pallets one month and test them and they might all have the same loading capacity, but make another 100 pallets a few months later and there is no telling how the capacity of these pallets might differ.

“Choosing pallets that have stated loading capacities, like plastic pallets, not only offers companies the reassurance that their products are being stored and handled in the safest possible way, but can also avoid costly incidents.

“Businesses invest a huge amount of time and money into selecting the safest and most efficient racking, computer systems and handling equipment for their logistics operation, so why compromise all this effort by using pallets with unqualified loading capacities?”

Plastic pallets have three stated loading capacities – static, dynamic and racking. These capacities help operatives choose the right plastic pallet for a particular load so there is little risk of getting it wrong.

Using plastic pallets, can in fact help businesses eliminate other safety hazards in their logistics operation.

Jim continued: “Firstly, plastic pallets are moulded under extreme pressure which produces a high quality product and ensures the consistent dimensional accuracy and loading capacity of each plastic pallet – particularly beneficial in automated systems, as they won’t twist or get stuck.

“Plastic pallets are strong and durable and less vulnerable to damage than other types of pallets – a standard plastic pallet has a lifespan of up to ten years, offering an excellent return on investment. Once a plastic pallet reaches the end of its working life, the plastic still lives on, as the pallet can be recycled and the plastic can be reground to produce new plastic products.

“Finally, as plastic pallets have no nails, sharp edges or splinters and there is no risk of loose component parts breaking free under manual lifting conditions, they are far less likely to damage product packaging or cause injury to operatives than wooden varieties.” has published a Buyer’s Guide, which includes comprehensive advice on pallet selection and is available for download on the company’s website

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