3 March 2014
Health and safety is one of the most important concerns in the workplace, as is clear from the Royal Mail’s latest instructions to employees.
Reports say that postal workers in some Lincolnshire villages are no longer allowed to cycle to destinations when delivering mail. Instead, they have been told to use a push-trolley or van. These changes to Royal Mail policy reflect the growing popularity of online shopping, which means that postal sacks are filled with more large packages than letters.
With deliveries being bigger and heavier than ever before, it has become too dangerous to carry them on a bicycle. Alternative methods of delivery will be safer, preventing accidents that could occur from too heavy a load.
While many will miss the century-old tradition of cycle-riding posties in villages, the Royal Mail has had to put safety before convention, and consider the wellbeing of its staff.
While the focus of reports has been on the Lincoln area, the drive to reduce bicycle deliveries has been implemented across the UK. Around 14,000 post bikes have been phased out since 2010, with 4,000 more set to go by the end of 2014.
Royal Mail action is in compliance with section 4 of the Manual Handling Regulations 1992. This sets out that, where reasonably practicable, employers should not ask employees to undertake manual handling operations that involve a risk of injury.
In cases where cutting out risk completely is not reasonably practicable, the legislation requires employers to take steps to prevent injury as far as possible, after an assessment of the risks posed by manual handling operations.
Victoria Pryer is a Trainee Solicitor at Advance Legal. Please contact Victoria or another member of the team on 0800 068 00 69 and they will be happy to discuss your compensation claim with you.