January-February 2016

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12 PalletCentral • January-February 2016 WPCA continues working to make sure your voice is heard on critical issues that affect the safety of your employees and the operation of your business. Today, our team, consisting of NWPCA staff and a task group of diverse industry members, is involved in a long-term effort to enhance fire safety at wooden pallet manufacturing and recycling facilities. NWPCA is now participating in the development of the model fire codes that regulate the outdoor storage of wood pallets. There are currently two different fire code development organizations: the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and International Code Council (ICC). State and local governments choose which organization's model fire code to use, as shown on the map inside this article. Both code developers go through systematic reviews of their codes, providing the opportunity for code officials, fire experts, and affected industries to propose modifications where applicable or update/improve an existing code. In the case of the NFPA fire code (NFPA 1), there is existing language for the outdoor storage of pallets, but the ICC code fire code (International Fire Code) does not address the issue. NWPCA recognizes that fire code regulations play a vital role in ensuring the safety of employees, community members and first responders, and that model safety codes are stronger when they accurately reflect proven industry best practices. Including these practices into the NFPA code would improve fire safety because it would mandate their industry-wide implementation wherever the NFPA code is enforced. The current NFPA code makes it difficult to implement those best practices because it treats pallet storage at all types of facilities the same way – regardless of how pallets are used in those facilities. To address this issue, NWPCA has collaborated with fire code experts to improve the existing NFPA fire code by proposing language that would distinguish among facilities – based on their primary activity. The proposal we support would result in provisions for pallet manufacturing and recycling facilities that differ from those for facilities where pallets are simply stored. The distinction can be drawn because the storage areas at manufacturing and recycling facilities are more like "staging" areas, where pallets are actively managed by personnel and inventories are consistently rotated. Outdoor Pallet Storage and Fire Codes: Protecting Against Fire in your Facilities By Dr. Brad Gething INDUSTRY N

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