Address pallet weights or face claims
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THE INDUSTRY MUST urgently address excessive pallet weights and unrealistic customer expectations or face a flood of personal insurance claims and the loss of good drivers to injury, according to the national chairman of the Road Haulage Association (RHA). Peter Barber, chairman and founder of Milton Keynes-based WH Barley Transport & Storage,
told CM he would be pushing the RHA and other industry stakeholders to start a debate.
"More drivers are getting injured manoeuvring pallet trucks on customers' premises," he said.
"You can pull a 1,000kg pallet across a warehouse no problem. But when it is outside, there are inclines and rough terrain to contend with."
Barber has a driver off on long-term sick, potentially unable to return to work, as a consequence of this. The firm's insurer has put aside £295,000 to deal with the personal injury action under way.
Customers are also expecting too much from operators, and with the growth of deliveries of items such as turf, tiles and paving to residential sites, it is becoming a serious issue.
Involving the Health & Safety Executive to provide clear operational parameters would allow operators to defend themselves effectively in court if claims were brought. "Regardless, we have a duty of care to our drivers," Barber said.
His comments come after Adam Leonard, MD of The Pallet Network, and David McCutcheon, MD of Bullet Express, warned that customers needed to be educated regarding pallet weights (CM 13 June).