The introduction of stricter guidelines on tail-lift delivery pallet weights moved a step closer this week after the HSE confirmed it had completed a series of additional tests to establish the maximum safe weight for pallets.

The additional tests, which looked at push and pull forces, were ordered by HSE in August this year after the first push and pull test results were found to be inaccurate due to faulty measuring equipment.

The HSE told MT this week that the tests, carried out in controlled conditions at a test facility in Buxton, had been completed.

An HSE spokesman said: “In March HSE undertook some indicative testing of push/pull forces required in manually manoeuvring pallets on vehicle beds and tail lifts, with members of the group present.

“The results indicated significant forces may be required to move pallets of various weights and that further detailed testing was needed.

“This testing has now been completed and we are currently awaiting the finalised validated results.”

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The need for clearer guidance on pallet weights was given greater urgency last year by the death of HGV driver Petru Soimu Pop last November, who was crushed while making a tail-lift delivery to a residential address in High Wycombe.

HSE’s decision to re-run the test had led to criticism from industry leaders alarmed by the additional delay created.

The HSE spokesman said: “We recognise the frustration felt at the delay however the seriousness of this issue means we want to give the industry the most effective, accurate analysis and this clearly takes time.”

He added that once the results have been validated they will be sent to the pallet working group, chaired by RHA technical adviser Ray Engley.

Malcolm Dodds, RHA northern area manager, said: “We want these results as soon as possible to avoid any further injuries or deaths.

"HSE must be happy the data is correct this time with no malfunctioning of equipment so we will look to reconvening the working group and look at what guidance needs to be issued.”