There’s been a surprising inertia around the issue of pallet weights despite there being a clear and growing problem, in part due to the pallet networks’ success at expanding their offer beyond the traditional B2C.

Certainly, The Hub has spoken to hauliers whose drivers have hurt themselves trying to shift pallets up customer’s drives at residential addresses. It has also heard from a transport lawyer who was involved in a case where a customer was killed after a pallet fell on them from a tail-lift.

So hats off to Palletline and Fortec for taking a lead on the subject and saying, for standard tail-lift deliveries, 750kg is plenty.

Neither are saying that delivering heavier pallets should be a complete no; essentially, both say they still will where there is a suitable delivery point and equipment to do so, but that the majority will now be at the lower limit.

Adrian Bradley, Fortec general manager, operations, told The Hub that the risk of a serious accident occurring while delivering a heavy pallet is something that simply can’t be ignored any longer (and incidentally something the Fortec membership voted in support of at the companies national meeting on 25 March).

He added, ahead of the change going live on 5 October, that: “I think pallet networks also need to get back to what they were designed for. That’s direct loads from A to B not trying to be all things to all people.”

On the issue of commercially disadvantaging itself by adopting the lower limit while other networks do not, Bradley points out that the amount of time it takes a member to deliver a 1,000kg-plus pallet to Mrs Smith’s driveway could instead be spent making three B2B deliveries in the same area instead.

He suggested a code of conduct was the very least the networks should be doing to address the issue, “but it needs more than just the networks to address this issue”, he suggested.

Legislation? It’s a double-edged sword and Bradley said that while it would introduce parity across haulage there are some loads that can’t be broken down to 750kg, so a blanket ban wouldn’t be acceptable.

Irrespective, it’s good to see movement at last on an increasingly significant safety issue that needs addressing.

Is it the weight? Or is it the technique?