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Coming Into Focus: ALSC Adopts HT Inspection and Mark Removal Process Modifications
Zero Tolerance No More: Pallet industry wins some policy concessions from the American Lumber Standard Committee in terms of inspection processes and mark removal for repaired pallets.
Date Posted: 12/1/2014
Coming Into Focus:
ALSC Adopts HT Inspection and Mark Removal Process Modifications.
The American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) at its annual meeting recently approved changes to its heat treatment program requirements for solid wood packaging material (WPM). These changes came as a result of a joint taskforce involving the ALSC, the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) and some ALSC accredited agencies. The process modifications relate to inspections and holding up loads for verification. But many of the more significant issues remain including the requirement for domestic repaired pallets to be either heat treated and re-certified or the ISPM-15 marks to be removed.
The NWPCA has been working with the ALSC and certification agencies to address challenges that recyclers face, such as removing marks for domestic pallets and some stringent inspection criteria. Working with ALSC, the NWPCA was able to secure some leeway in regards to zero tolerance policies involving mark removal.
“Inspectors saw situations where companies were doing their best, but in almost every situation, an inspector might be able to find a mark that should have been obliterated but was missed. We developed a proposal that now it has to be greater than 5% before the agency takes action,” explained Brent McClendon, the president of the NWPCA.
Also, the NWPCA has worked with the ALSC to change procedures when it comes to holding and quarantining pallets. “Some of us had problems where our entire inventory was quarantined or held up for a couple of days until an inspector could be there,” commented Paul Lovett, the chairman of the NWPCA recycler’s council. “The ALSC has agreed not to seek lengthy holds on treated pallets for verifications unless a participant is under scrutiny for repeated or serious violations.”
The intention is for ALSC and its agencies to work with pallet companies to develop a better understanding of where mark obliteration should be expected and where it may not be done right away or required at all. For example, do pallets destined for the grinder need marks to be removed? What about scrap pallets in a yard that are not destined for outbound shipment?
Lovett explained at the recent NWPCA meeting that the ALSC and its agencies were open to developing procedures that don’t necessarily require mark obliteration immediately upon a pallet entering a repair facility. This will help inspectors and program participants distinguish between areas in a facility where marks should be removed and pallets that are not going to be shipped out and should not fall under scrutiny. Also, agencies are open to working with pallet companies to develop new procedures to streamline and reduce holds and quarantines on inventory that need to be verified.
McClendon explained that in a quarantine situation the “facility would be required to keep documentation (logs/pictures/etc…) of the correction for the agency to verify, but would not have its inventory held up waiting for review and release by the agency.”
John McDaniel, the president of the ALSC, said, “Everything that was proposed by the enforcement subcommittee was approved.” He added, “The new procedures are not drastically different than what has been done in the past. It just gives clear guidance to certain issues or irregularities.”
The ALSC and its agencies will roll out these changes over the coming months. Make sure to discuss them with your inspection agency if you are having problems.