Department of Transport to issue guidance on tail lift safety
The Department of Transport is expected to issue new safety guidance by the end of 2019 on the use of tail lifts.
The guidance is believed to focus on weight limits, but will not be just about this issue. Many companies limit tail lift loads to 750 kg but there is no official Health and Safety Executive (HSE) limit.
If an accident occurs while using tail lifts, an HSE investigation does look at the weight capacity of the lift. It also considers alternatives such as whether loads could have been taken from the side rather than using the lift.
Tail lifts need to be in good condition and regularly checked for faults. The gradient underneath the vehicle should not be too great otherwise loads can tip off it.
It is expected that guidance will look at the need for construction and building sites to provide access to safe unloading and loading sites. If a driver believes that goods cannot be safely delivered, they should be able to refuse delivery. Ultimately, the responsibility for the safe use of tail lifts is with the driver, but they need to be supplied with accurate site information.
Protective workwear such as hard hats and steel-toed boots provide limited injury protection, and these could not save a worker from being crushed to death by a 1,100kg pallet of tiles in November 2018 in High Wycombe. If more detailed guidance on tail lifts had been available at the time, it may have prevented this accident.