Background: Background: Pallets are key components of domestic supply chains, and yet present unique hazards when used by homeowners and retailers for unintended uses. No previous works have investigated non-occupational injuries that occur due to unintentional contact with pallets. This study sought to describe the incidence and epidemiology of non-occupational pallet-related injuries as seen in United States emergency departments (EDs). Method: The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database was used to derive national, weighted estimates of pallet-related injuries by age, sex, injured body part, and location where injury occurred. Data for the years 2014 to 2018 were analyzed with all relevant narratives reviewed. Results: From 2014 to 2018, there were an estimated 30,493 persons who visited an ED for a pallet-related injury. The yearly incidence of pallet injuries rose during this period. The 35–44 age group (n = 5,481) was most likely to be injured, but about 3,000 children and youth under 18 years of age were injured and more than 4,000 persons 65 years of age or older suffered injuries. The elderly were especially likely to suffer injuries from slip, trip and fall incidents. The lower extremities were the most commonly injured body parts. An estimated 3,964 persons, accounting for approximately 14% of all pallet-related injuries, were treated for injuries incurred while at a retail establishment. African Americans, Hispanics, and the elderly appeared to be disproportionately more likely to have pallet-related injuries in retail locations. Conclusions: Non-occupational pallet-related injuries affect a wide range of patients and cause a variety of injuries, with the elderly being especially vulnerable to tripping incidents. Retailer prevention strategies should focus on the misuse of pallets for merchandising purposes. Industry should maintain control of pallets so they are not used for unintended purposes. Practical applications: Retailers should limit the use of pallets for floor-level merchandising purposes and remove pallets from customer-facing locations where unintentional contact could occur. Owners of pallets should maintain them in a controlled supply chain so that they don't leak out into the hands of homeowners. Policy-makers should educate the public about the dangers of used pallets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality