A pallet or so called skid can be considered as flat transport structure which handles product batches so that they can be lifted by a forklift, pallet jack, or other jacking devices. A pallet is the basic requirement of a unit load aimed at being loaded, unloaded or even transported from the point of origin to the others. The basic materials used in a pallet construction can be of wood, plastics, composite and other carbon based materials.
There are various organizations active in setting up specific standards for pallets and the associated issues in terms of utilization and performance. Some of these organizations are entitled to establish rules and regulations regarding pallet standards such as globally recognized dimensions, types of materials used designs, performance and also testing methods;
ISO Technical Committee 51
ISO TC 51 declares the standardization of pallets in general use in the form of platforms or trays on which goods may be packed to form unit loads for handling by mechanical devices. TC 51 is responsible for developing the ISO 6780 which states the standards for flat pallets designated for intercontinental material handling purposes.
There are several other technical committees along with the mentioned ones in collaboration in order to set the standards. (ISO Standard 6780: Flat pallets for intercontinental materials handling)
National Wood Pallet and Container Association: National Wood Pallet and Container
Association (NWPCA) is mostly dealing with the commercial issues of pallets in favor of pallet and container manufacturers. NWPCA represents solutions with respect to cost, environment and customer cares. (National Wood Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA), Pallet Market Assessment (1998))
European Committee for Standardization
The European Committee for Standardization also referred to as CEN declares standards for pallets. The ICS 55.180.20 General purpose pallets are one the mentioned standards set by CEN. (ICS: 55.180.20 General purpose pallets, European Committee for Standardization (CEN)) There are some others along with the ones mentioned above which have their own criteria.
For instance MIL-STD-1660, the military standard for pallets set by US DOD (Department of Defense). (Design Criteria for Ammunition Unit Loads Department of Defense (DOD) (2008))
Regarding the environmental concerns, there are also some sanctioned regulations and criteria such as the Phytosanitary measures that set regulations around the pests and insects spread by wooden packaging including wooden pallets. It is in accordance with the ISMP 15 regulation imposed by the International Planet Protection Convention (IPPC) which is a subsidiary of the Food and agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO). There is a certain stamp set to approve the designated packaging as shown below. (International Planet
Protection Convention (IPPC) (1997))