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Is your facility fire safe? NWPCA Releases Manual for Outdoor Pallet Storage, Seeks to Create Voluntary Industry Standards
New fire code standards for outdoor pallet storage provide opportunity for pallet industry to respond, make workplaces safer as pallet associations seeks to promulgate industry best practices.

By Staff
Date Posted: 2/1/2018

Over the last several years, fire codes and outdoor pallet storage have become significant concerns for pallet companies across the country. It has become an even more pressing issue as new outdoor pallet storage provisions are being adopted by the two major code development bodies. The National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) has just released a new industry resource titled “NWPCA Fire Code Compliance Manual for Outdoor Storage of Wood Pallets.”

The complimentary manual was produced to assist the industry in compliance with the new outdoor pallet storage provisions incorporated in the 2018 International Fire Code (IFC) Section 2810 of the International Code Council, and NFPA1, Section 34.10.4, of the National Fire Protection Association, that were adopted in the summer of 2017.

Kudos to the NWPCA for releasing this manual for free to the entire industry. It represents a lot of work, and the association could have charged for this level of detailed information. The NWPCA has done this hoping the industry will follow these voluntary best practices to reduce the likelihood of fires at pallet facilities and to improve worker safety.

NWPCA worked closely with fire safety and code experts, and hosted several forums for NWPCA members to share safety experiences. All input received led to the development of this comprehensive voluntary resource guide.

 “The revised sections of the 2018 fire codes for both the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), accurately reflect proven best practices for pallet manufacturing and pallet recycling facilities,” commented Dr. Brad Gething, NWPCA director of science and technology integration.

 “By implementing the guidelines outlined in the fire code compliance manual, the industry is taking a significant and proactive step to ensure its pallet facilities are operating under proven best practices. Following the outline allows our industry to build safety programs that prevent fires from starting, mitigate against their spread, and protect the life and safety of our employees, first responders and the communities where we live and work,” added NWPCA chair, Shane Thompson of WestWind Logistics.

Why is it important for you to familiarize your operation with these guidelines? For starters, these best practices can save lives and reduce the threat of fire. Also, if these guidelines don’t work to reduce the rate of pallet-related fires, national fire code officials could move to pass even tougher regulations. The industry has a window of time to prove that it has stepped up to the bar and made their facilities safer. Changes to fire code documents are processed every three years. The new NWPCA manual is intended for pallet manufacturing and pallet recycling facilities to help them understand and build a compliance plan consistent with the revised 2018 fire codes of both the ICC and NFPA.

The guide includes a sample fire code manual and covers key topics such as, the code updates, creating a fire prevention plan, a pallet storage checklist, developing a site plan for fire response, security plans to prevent arson, staff evacuation plans, facility layout to assist fire fighters, etc. It is important that this manual is designed primarily for pallet manufacturing and recycling facilities, not idle storage.

The new guideline, “NWPCA Fire Code Compliance Manual for Outdoor Storage of Wood Pallets,” is available as a free download, and can be accessed at www.palletcentral.com/compliancemanual.

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