Pallet storage laws are currently a hot topic between wooden pallet suppliers (like HWP Herwood), fire marshals, and other safety regulators. The wooden pallets industry takes safety extremely seriously (in fact it is our number one priority), that is why we agree with The International Code Council (ICC) that strict safety measures need to be in place. However the new code that has been introduced in response to fire risk in wooden pallet storage yards has been done without enough scientific research, and without appropriate input from the industry, and as such is not appropriate for the job it is designed to do.
The ICC are an international body who are responsible for creating codes, and standards to be used in environments such as a wooden storage pallet yard. Fire marshals in the US are obligated to follow any codes that ICC create.
They define pallet storage as one of the high-hazard commodities, and as such have decided to change the code related to this, which will limit the amount that can be stored.
With this in mind, the ICC updated its codes on pallet storage. The new code stated that fire hydrants must be next to storage areas, there must be proper access for fire vehicles, and updated the code on sprinkler location.
It also changed the storage of pallets in outdoor yards. Idle pallets now have to be stored in a grid pattern, to allow easier access for the fire services.
The problem with this is that pallet companies may now have to reduce their inventories, or increase their yard size.
What makes this new code worse, is that the ICC also stated that the amount of stacks (which is a stack of pallets), and piles (which is a group of several stacks) would have to be reduced, once again meaning that inventories may have to be reduced.
The NWPCA responded by saying that it should have been consulted, as its members were the most affected. In response, fortunately, the ICC voted not to implement the rules for this year. But they may still vote to implement these rules in 2015.
This would be bad for both the wooden pallet suppliers, and the wooden pallet storage companies, as well as the consumers who use them. This is because these regulations would significantly increase costs, with companies having to buy more storage space, or reduce inventory. These costs would unfortunately have to be passed onto the consumer in the form of increased prices.
While we welcome safety codes, and laws, let see what real safety benefits will come with these.