The headline above couldn’t come at a worst time for the CWU and it’s members working in Royal Mail and along with it’s ASR and USRs who are now facing the end of the Union’s dedicated health & safety department, it’s Regional Health & Safety Structure as part of a cost-cutting exercise (denied by CWU HQ) as part of a proposed re-organisation of the Union pre-empted by major changes in the head office structure.
USRs are at a loss as to how the CWU will continue to support them Regionally and interface with the Royal Mail management at national level, to prevent even further deaths and injuries given that the record of this employer is appalling, despite the constant work being done in accident and injury prevention by CWU USRs in Royal Mail which has undoubtedly curtailed to an extent, the incidents of injuries and deaths to our members and risk to the general public. Further, the question of having to re-negotiate an escalation proceadure with Royal Mail and who at CWU HQ will deal seems not to have even been considered according to those opposing the plans.
CWU’s National Health, Safety and Environment Officer, Dave Joyce explains in his letter to branches (LTB177/18); how Royal Mail continues it’s bad safety record, culminating in the employer paying their largest ever health and safety fine!
Royal Mail pleaded guilty to Health and Safety Offences at Isleworth Crown Court on 7 December 2017, in relation to an accident which occurred in the Jubilee Mail Centre yard on 12 December 2014 when a CWU member, employed as a Yard Marshal was struck by a departing 7.5 Tonne Vehicle and was knocked unconscious and received multiple serious injuries including a fractured jaw and several fractured ribs amongst other injuries.
Royal Mail was sentenced on 21 December 2017 at Isleworth Crown Court and was fined £1.6 Million Pounds – Royal Mail’s biggest ever fine for Health and Safety Offences. They also paid £21,785 Prosecution Costs.
The Prosecution was brought in relation to health and safety breaches which occurred at the Jubilee Royal Mail Centre, Hounslow, Middlesex.
The Health and Safety breaches were found to be a significant cause of a serious but thankfully non-fatal accident in which an employee was struck by a LGV lorry.
The Court heard from the Prosecution that Royal Mail’s safety failures consisted of failures to undertake suitable and sufficient risk assessments and monitoring, failure to provide adequate safety information, training, instruction, supervision and failure to maintain a safe workplace and transport arrangements including road markings and signage.
Royal Mail Previous Health and Safety Convictions:
In 2003 Royal Mail was fined £200,000 plus £3,500 costs after a pensioner, who was collecting a package, was run over and killed by a 7.5 Tonne Vehicle, in the Bridgend Delivery Office Yard.
In 2010 Royal Mail were fined £90,000 plus £42,000 costs after a CWU Member, HGV Driver, was crushed to death between a Motive Unit Truck and Trailer in the Heathrow (HWDC) yard in 2006.
In 2015 Royal Mail was fined £40,000 plus costs after a CWU Member Fleet Technician suffered chemical burns after being told to use faulty, dangerous cleaning equipment in Hemel Hampstead.
In 2016 Royal Mail was fined £250,000 plus £50,000 costs after a CWU Member, Romec Engineer, fell 9 metres to his death through the roof of the West London Mail Centre in 2013. Romec were additionally fined £100,000 plus £25,000 costs.
In 2016 Royal Mail was fined £50,000 plus £10,000 costs after a CWU Member had his foot run over and crushed by a Fork Lift Truck at the Rochester Walk Bundling Centre.
This catalogue of deaths and serious injuries to Royal Mail workers and members of the public doesn’t make good reading. Obviously we’re concerned about this situation and want Royal Mail to look at the causes.
We take safety very seriously and Union Safety Reps are critical of Royal Mail’s record because many of the accidents could have been avoided.
Royal Mail ’s yard safety record isn’t good and is a cause of concern and disquiet. The Health, Safety and Environment Department is very concerned about the accidents and near misses in yards. The same types of accidents seem to crop up and they are easily avoidable if you learn from past mistakes. Safety procedures are not being enforced in many cases.
Royal Mail needs to take action and work with CWU Safety Reps to improve and enforce safety standards and ensure similar incidents are avoided in future and NOT to cut back safety resources or concentrate on ‘statistics’ instead of risks, hazards and accident root causes!
Source: C Ingram / CWU Health, Safety And Environment Department (LTB177/18)