Pallet safety is vital when using them for upcycling projects. While they’re great sources of lumber for DIY, it’s worth knowing about potential pallet dangers before you start. So, here are 7 tips for ultimate pallet safety.
7 Pallet Safety Tips
1. Choose the right pallets
Most pallets have identifying stamps that state how the wood is treated. Look out for HT or KD, which mean heat-treated and kiln-dried. These are safe to use. MB stands for methyl bromide, a highly toxic gas. Avoid this if you want pallets for furniture.
2. The safest places to shop
Plenty of companies give pallets away, although you might have to pay for them. Start your search by choosing the right companies, including:
- Feed and livestock stores
- Gardening centers
- Landscaping companies
- Hardware and lumber stores
- Residential construction sites
These places are most likely to have chemical-free pallets due to the nature of their businesses. While you can’t guarantee this, it’ll narrow down your options.
3. Opt for plain pallets
You’ll likely come across colored pallets in your search, usually blue, red, or brown. What these mean isn’t super important, but stay away from them for best pallet safety. Instead, go with plain, unpainted wood.
4. Avoid spills or leaks
One of the biggest pallet dangers isn’t always obvious. Pallets are used to transport almost everything, including hazardous chemicals. When looking for old pallets, avoid any that have stains or spill marks because you don’t know what it’ll be.
5. Handle carefully
When inspecting or handling pallets, be incredibly careful. They might have nails sticking out that aren’t immediately obvious. Along with chemicals, hidden nails are one of the bigger pallet dangers. After all, you don’t want to go to the ER for a tetanus shot!
6. Prep the pallet properly
Before you start on your DIY project, you’ll need to prepare the lumber. A big pallet safety tip is to do this properly and wear the right safety equipment (dust mask, gloves, and safety glasses).
To prep the pallet, you’ll need:
- A claw hammer
- Crow bar or cat’s paw
- Nail punch
Each piece of lumber should have all its nails removed and be sanded before you even think about turning it into furniture.
7. Disposing of excess lumber
While most of a pallet is good to use, you might have some bits left over. If so, continue your pallet safety by disposing of them properly. Importantly, never burn the wood, as you don’t know what it could release.
The easiest way to dispose of excess lumber is at a landfill or scrapyard. If you’re unsure where the closest one is, consider speaking to the company that sold you the pallet. They should have some tips about disposal.
Final Thoughts on Pallet Safety
You now have some basic tips for proper pallet safety. Once you’ve prepped the wood, you’ll just need a project to use it on! Check out our list of DIY furniture ideas for some inspiration on how to use your pallets.