Wood pallets are designed to handle heavy loads and handling wear and tear. They safely carry thousands of pounds while being lifted by a pallet jack or forklift, which in turn transports the load to warehouses, container vans, trucks, and more.

The repeated impact and force on a pallet eventually may lead to damage requiring replacement or repair. Although this is sometimes unavoidable, there are many ways to extend your pallets’ life span and avoid premature failure.

This is especially important, as improper handling causes most cases of pallet damage. Go to any warehouse and look at the pallets, and you’ll notice that the components that fail first are usually the bottom interior boards, the bottom leadboards, and the top leadboards—components most affected by improper pickup and movement.

Prevention Tips

How to Prevent Wood Pallet DamageAlign forklift with pallet more carefully – Oftentimes, a forklift makes a misaligned insertion into a pallet, with the forks touching the front leadboards first, causing wear or puncture. Done repeatedly, you can imagine just how much impact the front leadboards take, resulting in repair or outright replacement. Once a front leadboard is damaged, the entire pallet often unusable and will require repair.

Avoid dragging your pallets – Pallets are designed to be picked up and moved, not dragged and pushed through the floor. Dragging and pulling creates can cause damage to bottom leadboards. It’s also worth noting that after the front leadboards, the bottom leadboards usually suffer the most damage.

Insert the pallet jack entirely – Although pallet jacks are designed to be completely inserted into the pallets, oftentimes they aren’t, which means the jacks’ wheels make contact with the bottom interior boards, causing damage. Preventing this from happening is as simple as taking the time to check if the pallet jacks are completely inserted and placed in proper position prior to lifting.

These simple tips for handling wood pallets will help to prolong their life by reducing the impact and severity of the forces your pallets are subjected to.