The long-awaited publication of the HSE’s updated tail-lift delivery guidance is facing further delay, some five years after HSE launched a review.

HSE confirmed this week that it has “comments” that it wants the RHA working group on to consider, after which the guidance will be put through “internal governance procedures” before it can be given the green light.

The RHA working group had been hopeful that the updated guidance on tail-lift deliveries, including pallet weights, would be launched at the CV Show in April. This was after HSE asked it to review the final draft in January of this year.

It is understood a second deadline of 28 May had been set following the first publication date being missed.

Pallet networks and hauliers have expressed frustration at how long the HSE is taking to deliver the final draft, with some questioning whether Brexit has added to the delay.

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However the HSE told this week that there are still a number of hurdles the guidance has to negotiate.

A spokesman said: “We have reviewed the latest version of the tail-lift guidance and do have comments which we need to take back to the RHA’s working group for consideration.

“After this stage there is an internal governance procedure for clearing HSE contributions to guidance produced by others and this takes place on a monthly basis.

He added: “We cannot comment on timescales and expectations expressed by others. While we appreciate there is frustration, the priority from our perspective is that those of us involved get this right for the wider benefit of the industry.”

The HSE’s review of the guidance on pallet weights, which is contained in the tail lift guidance, has stoked controversy in the past with the HSE’s decision last year to not put a limit on the weight of tail-lift pallet deliveries severely criticised by both pallet networks and hauliers.

However one industry source said that whilst the updated guidance will not set a pallet weight limit it will “make it almost impossible for operators to conclude the heavy pallets on tail-lifts in ‘real world’ conditions are, in fact, safe”.

Some parts of the industry is already taking unilateral action on pallet weights. Last year Palletways member Rase Distribution introduced a 750kg weight limit on domestic tail-lift deliveries, whilst both Palletline and Fortec have been operating a 750kg weight limit on tail-lift deliveries since 2015.

Pallet-Track members have since adopted a policy of power-assisted pallet trucks for tail-lift deliveries.

Calls for limits on pallet weights increased after the death of HGV driver Petru Pop in November 2016. Pop was crushed to death by a 1,400 kg pallet of tiles he was delivering to a residential address in High Wycombe on behalf of Reason Transport, a Palletways member at the time.

The HSE said this week that its investigation into Pop's death is "ongoing".