What is the safe weight limit for Pallet truck and Tail lift Operations? 

Risk of injury during manual handling cannot be ignored. Costs of time of work, downtime or personal injury claims need to be considered

Where is the biggest danger, risk of injury from trying to start a heavy load moving or trying to stop a heavy load from moving?

The official guideline figure for starting and stopping a load is about 20kg for men or 15kg for a women. The acceptable figure for keeping a load in motion is 10kg for men and 7kg for women....

What does this mean in practise? Independent research has found that on average starting a 500kg load takes an effort of 23.3kg, which is in excess of the official guidelines.

However this is on a flat, smooth surface so further factors also need to be considered, what effect does a slope or rough surface have on the effort required?

Unloading a heavy load on a slope using a pallet truck and tail lift can be fatal

What about stopping a heavy load?

When unloading down a slope there is a danger of losing control of the pallet truck and the load running off the end of the raised platform.  In these incidences the injuries or cost of damage can be to a much higher level

- Research by the HSE has found that an increase in the slope of just 1 degree results in an approximate 1.75 increase in the push force per 100kg of the laden pallet truck weight.  The same report recommends that pallet trucks in excess of 227kg regularly used on ramps or slopes should be powered.

Rough Surfaces - The surface that the hand pallet truck is operated on also has a huge influence on the effort required to move a load. With a heavy load the smallest obstacle or rough area can massively increase the effort required.

Research compared moving a loaded trolley on a smooth surface and a carpet and found the carpet required between 30-50% higher force to move the trolley.

It's been done in the past, does it really matter?

According to the HSE, more than one third of all injuries requiring at least three days off work are caused by manual handling (lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying).

Accidents are costly for all involved


On average, each sufferer took 20 days off in a 12-month period. That's not good for the employee and a huge cost and inconvenience to the employer.

What are the options?

If you need to lift and shift heavy loads that exceed the manual handling recommended limits consider mechanical aids like Palfinger truck mounted forklifts





A Palfinger Truck Mounted Forklift is carried on the delivery vehicle and dismounted and ready for work in less than 60 seconds




Bill Bennett Engineering Ltd 2004. Registered In England No. 1239172