Shipping pallets — often used as display platforms in retail settings or seen as raw material for household projects — were responsible for sending more than 30,000 people to the emergency rooms of U.S. hospitals over a recent five-year period, according to a new study.
With approximately 400 million new wooden pallets produced in the United States every year, and nearly 2 billion in use at any given time in the country, pallets are indispensable components of domestic supply chains. But they present unique hazards when used by retailers and homeowners for unintended purposes, pointed out researcher Judd Michael, Penn State Nationwide Insurance Professor of Agricultural Safety and Health.
The first-ever investigation of non-occupational injuries that occur due to unintentional contact with pallets yielded startling statistics, Michael noted. From Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2018, there were an estimated 30,493 people who visited hospital emergency rooms for pallet-related injuries.