A prime mover in the development of vehicle load security rules has praised pallet networks and their members for their response to the issue.

Nina Day, senior engineer at the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), told MT the pallet network sector’s engagement and the resulting constructive dialogue means the burden of further load restraint legislation is now highly unlikely.

HSL and the Health and Safety Executive are close to finalising a voluntary agreement with the Association of Pallet Networks (APN), which will set hauliers unambiguous load-restraint guidelines for the first time.

“We’re working to have something agreed by all parties by June [this year],” APN chairman Paul Sanders said. “It will mean operators have a best practice guide to work to, creating a level platform, and allowing everyone to train personnel to the same standards.”

Day and her team have visited Palletline’s main hub to get a better understanding of the practicalities of load restraint as the HSE looks to boost worker and public safety, with a particular focus on double-deck trailers.

“I am an engineer, not an inspector,” said Day. “I appreciate these companies are in business and they have an operation to run. We are not looking to place undue cost on them.”

  • Data published by APN suggests that despite pallet volume growth among the networks of approximately 4% from 2011 to 2012, accidents at members’ busy hubs have fallen from 147 in 2010 to 135 in 2012, an 8% change. Reportable incidents were down 33% during the period, with fewer than 10 occurring last year.