Long-delayed industry guidance on pallet weights for tail lift deliveries is “imminent”, the RHA revealed today (11 January).

The news follows a virtual meeting between the industry working group, which put together the draft guidance, and HSE officials.

“The RHA, in close collaboration with the Association of Pallet Networks, continues to work with the Health & Safety Executive on the issue of tail lift & pallet weights," it told

“This has been a protracted process as due to the ongoing pandemic, the HSE Publications Approval Panel has not been sitting.

“However, following a recent, very successful meeting with HSE, both organisations are confident that approval and subsequent publication of the long-awaited Guidance Document is imminent.”

As MT revealed last month, the meeting follows intense lobbying by the RHA after sources said the association became so frustrated at the delay that it warned HSE officials that chief executive Richard Burnett would complain to ministers if officials did not act. RHA denied the claims at the time.

Hauliers questioned the HSE’s claims that the guidance had been delayed by the pandemic.

One said: “This has been in the making since well before Petru Pop died in 2016, so it should have been approved by HSE long before the pandemic.”

HGV driver Petru Pop, 52, was crushed to death in November 2016 by a 1.4 tonne pallet of tiles whilst making a residential tail lift delivery in High Wycombe on behalf of Reason Transport, which was at the time a member of Palletways.

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Geoff Hill, chairman of Rase Distribution, who has long campaigned for tighter guidance on pallet weights welcomed the news.

He said: “It is very welcome and not before time. Hopefully this will deliver safer conditions for delivery drivers. Under the new guidance risk assessment will be absolutely key.

“Employers must allow drivers to risk assess at the point of delivery and must listen to them and respect their decision. In turn that might force pallet networks to put a 500k limit on any pallets destined for residential tail lift deliveries.”

A leaked copy of the draft guidance, seen by, in August 2019, revealed that HSE tests had established that recommended safety limits for starting and stopping a load were breached by 50% when attempting to move pallets in excess of 750kg.

The draft guidance said this figure increases “considerably” in real world conditions and whilst it sets no limit on pallet weights, it suggested the need for a dynamic risk assessment when transporting pallets weighing 500kg or more.

The guidance also stresses pallet weight is only one element, highlighting communication throughout the chain, use of the right equipment, conditions at the point of delivery, the stability of the pallet, that the pallet is correctly manifested and the empowerment of drivers to make a dynamic assessment at point of delivery.

The draft guidance was sent for final approval to HSE in December 2019.

In October 2020, following a lengthy HSE investigation into Pop’s death, Reason Transport UK (RTUK) was fined just £5,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

No action was taken against Palletways, which had consigned the 1.4 tonne pallet to Reason Transport for tail lift delivery.