At Change the Pallet, we have always advocated on behalf of corrugated shipping pallets for their ability to reduce traffic, carbon emissions, and worker injuries. But it is this last item, we have noticed, which most commonly tends to raise eyebrows. After all, many have wondered, how significant can wood pallet-related injuries really be? As it turns out, they are quite significant.
A simple search on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website will result in a list of hundreds of instances of pallet-related injuries, most of them resulting in instances of crushed hands or fractured ankles, but some of them even resulting in death. In fact, one of these cases occurred earlier this year at a Walmart in Florida, when an employee was killed while moving a stack of empty pallets, after two of them fell on her head.
What makes this all so upsetting is that these aren't just accidents, they're preventable accidents. People don't die when cardboard pallets fall on them. And because they weigh less, workers who handle cardboard pallets would likely suffer from fewer musculoskeletal disorders, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, account for 31% of all worker injury cases in the United States. Put simply, when you remove wood pallets from the equation, you remove all accidents and human costs associated with them.
It's time for American retailers to take action and make a switch to safer, lightweight corrugated pallets; if not to reduce traffic and combat climate change, then to protect American workers and the families they provide for.