As with a lot of these things, the answer is – it depends. The higher a pallet can be stacked, the lower the cost of transport or storage per unit becomes, however there are numerous considerations before deciding on the optimum pallet height, but before that let’s look at a few generally accepted parameters.
Whilst the HSE hasn’t formally stipulated a maximum pallet weight, they are in active consultations on this following intense lobbying by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) following a fatal accident where a lorry driver was killed when a heavy pallet fell from a tail lift. Rumour has it that the maximum weight will be set at 750kg per pallet. Maximum pallet height is dictated by the height of transport vehicles and storage racking facilities, and it is generally accepted that the maximum workable pallet height is 2200mm.
Read the HSE’s current pallet safety guidance here
It sounds obvious but the first thing to do is consider the product to be palletised. What is the size, weight and stack-ability of the individual units? If it’s a simple rectangular box with lightweight content, then it will be simpler to stack the pallet higher than if palletising full oil drums for example.
Second, consider the method for securing and wrapping the pallet – can the operators wrap to the top of the load safely and securely? Will the wrapping method give enough load stability to prevent the top of the load moving in transit? EUMOS, the European Safe Logistics Association states that the top layer of a pallet load when in a simulated emergency stop situation should not move by more than 5% of the height of the pallet. In other words, if a pallet is 2000mm high, the top of the load should not move more than 100mm. This is virtually impossible to achieve when hand wrapping, and is not easy with machine wrap either, although it is achievable with a fully optimised machine wrap process.
Hazel 4D have state of the art testing equipment to analyse and report on pallet load stability, and with a simple audit, can advise on the optimum pallet configuration for specific products. They can work with you to optimise load stability to assist with reducing damages, reducing plastic usage, and reducing the cost to wrap pallets.