Palletline has confirmed it will introduce a new pallet weight restriction of 750kg for tail-lift deliveries later this year, with the aim of boosting safety for its members’ drivers.

The change from 1,000kg, which the network said had the backing of “an overwhelming majority” of its haulier membership, will come into effect from 1 October.

Individual pallets up to the existing 1,250kg maximum weight limit will still be handled within the system (just not via tail-lift deliveries).

“As a network that truly values the work of its employees and members, we realise that a quality, efficient service should never put anybody at risk, so we have made a brave and pioneering decision that will help protect staff and should set an industry precedent,” said Palletline MD Graham Leitch. “Moving forwards, we would urge all pallet networks to consider introducing the measure.”

The move has already drawn praise from within the industry, including former Palletline MD Kevin Buchanan – now group MD at Pall-Ex – who said he thought that it was “the right thing to do”, adding that discussions among pallet networks showed they were all “in general agreement that it’s the right direction in which to head”.

Buchanan noted, however, that trying to move a 750kg pallet along a gravel driveway and up three steps in a B2C delivery could still present more safety problems than moving a 1,000kg pallet a short distance on a smooth surface. It could also help boost yield, he added.

“It’s a very sensible sales tactic to reduce the volume of business you can’t handle by reducing the more difficult deliveries,” he said.

The Association of Pallet Networks welcomed the move and said it was working with the HSE on a sector-wide code of practice.

Last month the boss of Bullet Express David McCutcheon warned that pallet network that rates needed to rise to protect hauliers. He welcomed Palletline’s, at that time unofficial, move to limit pallet weights for tail-lift deliveries, noting that although it had been introduced as a health and safety measure, it would be likely to have a postive effect on pallet rates.