The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is looking at ways to reduce maximum pallet weights to 750kg in order to cut the risk of injuries to drivers making tail lift deliveries.

It follows the announcement last year by both Palletline and Fortec that they were reducing maximum weights to 750kg. In Palletline's case it has continued to handle heavier pallets under a scheme called Lift Assist, which haulier-members charge a supplement for.

The RHA, which has been involved has also said it is spearheading a campaign to restrict pallet weights for single driver deliveries.

Currently there is no law stipulating pallet weights, but an HSE spokeswoman told it expected companies to conduct a risk assessment for drivers.

“They should take into consideration the real risk delivery drivers face of suffering musculoskeletal injuries from moving heavy loads as well as looking at what the safe working limit is for the lorry’s tail-lift," she said.

“Currently the HSE is working with the industry to explore reducing the maximum pallet weight to 750kg.”

Paul Johnson, MD at West Midlands haulier Transervice Express, said that after discussions with the HSE he believed it wanted the industry to take the lead.


“They are waiting for the industry to come up with a workable, safe load and then enforce it. It’s the industry that handles those pallets, they are looking to the industry to say what’s safe,” he said.

However, Johnson also warned: “The problem is, if the industry doesn’t come up with a workable solution and it’s left up to the HSE, they could turn around and say ‘OK, we will call it 500kg.’ And then we are in a mess.”

RHA head of technical services Ray Engley said: “I think the RHA is one of the biggest pushers of this. It’s gathering momentum and the HSE is very keen. We want to work with them to make sure that happens.”