The RHA has confirmed it would like to see a reduced maximum pallet weight applied to tail-lift deliveries right across the road haulage sector – not just among pallet networks.

Commenting on the recent decision by pallet network Palletline to limit the maximum weight of pallets it takes for tail-lift delivery to 750kg from October, and on more general consideration of the problem since by the Association of Pallet Networks (APN) and its members, RHA head of technical services Ray Engley said the issue of pallet weight was “an increasing problem” in the wider haulage community.

“It’s increasing in terms of pallets getting heavier, where they’re asking for them to be delivered, and the type of goods on the pallet which can make them difficult to handle,” he told

The issue of safe, one-man tail-lift deliveries is not just about weight , however, but also factors like pallet condition, proper stacking of goods on the pallet, and overall pallet height, stressed Engley.

An RHA-led working group involving the APN and a number of vehicle operators has already engaged with the HSE on the matter, he said.

“The HSE has given me the impression we’re pushing at something of an open door in terms of getting something sorted out here,” said Engley. “The ultimate goal is to produce a code of practice for handling pallets which HSE will be happy to publish and support as an industry standard.

“Pallet weights of up to two tonnes are very common now. It’s something that wanted addressing some time ago,” he added.

Meanwhile APN chairman Paul Sanders has denied a move to lighter weights would have an unwelcome effect on vehicle utilisation. “I wouldn’t think many [vehicle operators] are tail-lifting off a full load of pallets,” he said.

Sanders also said the move would help protect firms from rising employee liability insurance premiums. “Injury claims can be to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds. That’s what this is all about really – management of risk.”