Royal Mail/CWU Quarterly Road Safety Week, 20 —24 February 2017 – Focus on Handbrake Safety and Avoiding Vehicle Roll Away Accidents

Royal Mail/CWU Quarterly Road Safety Week, 20 —24 February 2017 – Focus on Handbrake Safety and Avoiding Vehicle Roll Away Accidents:
To: All Branches
Dear Colleagues,

During the February Quarterly Road Safety Week, Royal Mail Group will focus on Handbrakes and warning of the dangers of vehicle roll away accidents.  
This is to remind Branches and in particular Area Safety Reps (ASRs) that next week is the February Quarterly Road Safety Week (RSW), and that the CWU fully supports the week which is based on full CWU ASR involvement, participation and support.
During Road Safety Week ASRs are asked to focus Workplace Safety Inspections on a number of Units through daily activities, concentrating on high impacting units and to liaise with Operational Line Managers and Safety Managers to agree which Offices should be targeted and visited/inspected during Road Safety Week (RSW).

– There have been 112 handbrake incidents in the last 12 month and 533 over the last 4 years.

– Each year many road traffic collisions are handbrake-related. These include instances where the handbrake had not been applied, not fully applied or were reported as being faulty.

– These collisions can cause serious injuries and even fatalities to our drivers and the public as well as extensive vehicle and property damage.

– It is a legal requirement to apply the handbrake before leaving the vehicle. Drivers could place themselves at risk of prosecution of a serious motoring offence if they fail to follow the standards set out in the Highway Code Rule 252.
A van weighing several tons running away out of control can cause death, danger and significant damage to people and property – and we don’t want our members learning the hard way how important it is to park their vans safely on a hill or slope and even on the slightest of inclines or gradients.
Pressures on our drivers have never been greater and drivers are sometimes in a rush or have other things on their mind whilst performing their deliveries or collections working within a busy schedule but we want our members never to forget that safety is of paramount importance and must always come first. It’s imperative that our members fully understand the correct procedures to protect themselves, other road users and the general public.
Three Example Cases: 

One of our Postman Driver members was killed when his van rolled away and ran him over after he had removed mail from the back doors. Another Postman Driver Member was crushed against a wall by his own delivery van which rolled down a hill, mounted the pavement and hit him. He sustained serious multiple injuries and fractures and had a leg amputated. A third Postman Driver Member sustained a broken wrist whilst sitting in his van, in a Delivery Office yard, his vehicle was struck forcibly by a colleague’s runaway delivery van which collided with his vehicle. These are just three examples of the many.
ASR Activity Guide:

ASRs are asked to follow the ASR activity guide and schedule for the week, a copy of which is attached. By carrying out the activities and safety inspections during Road Safety Week, ASRs can help to raise the profile of Road Safety and keep our drivers and members safe and free from injury and prosecution. ASR’s will be fully involved and consulted on joint RSW activities.
Posters and Leaflets giving information and advice have been produced by Royal Mail and will be distributed and displayed prominently in workplaces across the country throughout the week and this will also be flagged up during Worktime Learning Sessions.
ASR activities are:-
Agree with your Operational Managers/Safety Managers, which units you will jointly support during Road Safety Week, and;

a. Assist the Front Line Manager in delivering the WTLL.

b. Carry out Safety Inspections.

c. Use the Road Safety Week materials to talk to drivers about Road Safety Week.
Ask Drivers:

– If they’ve received the WTLL safety briefing for Road Safety Week?

– Do they understand the principles covered?

– Have they seen the Handbrake Video and Road Safety Week leaflet?
Ask Front Line Managers:

– What activities have they completed for Road Safety Week?

– Have they delivered the WTLL and made leaflets available?

– Have they completed a Driver/Vehicle SMAT concentrating on Handbrakes?
Observe Vehicles and Drivers:

– Observe drivers parking in the yard and check that handbrakes are applied, vehicles are left in first gear and wheels turned as required on inclines. Provide feedback to the Managers on safety performance.

– Observe drivers parking vehicles, encouraging the correct use of handbrakes and discuss with drivers the acronym ‘HIT’ going through the 3 steps.

– Discuss with drivers the importance of reporting any faults with handbrakes immediately?
Finally ASRs should:

– Ensure that Safety Inspection Reports are recorded and submitted using the agreed reporting processes.

– Ensure they’ve recorded their Safety daily Inspections using the agreed process and forms.

– Collate and summarise the findings and forward it to the Area, Sector and Plant Managers in the area to provide feedback on the Road Safety Week Activities.
The “HIT” Acronym:
Remember “HIT”
Handbrake On

In Gear

Turn the Wheels
And Follow these simple steps:
When parking UPHILL:

• Handbrake Firmly on

• In Gear (First Gear UPHILL)

• Turn the Wheels (Away From the Kerb UPHILL)
When Parking DOWNHILL

• Handbrake Firmly on

• In Gear (Reverse Gear DOWNHILL)

• Turn the Wheels (Towards the Kerb DOWNHHILL)
Royal Mail Vehicle Fleet Handbrake Safety Developments:

– The current specification for Royal Mail Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs – Vans) is that they are supplied with a voice warning system that sounds on every 5th ignition turn off.
The warning states “Ensure handbrake is fully applied before leaving the vehicle”.
A new experimental system is currently under evaluation and this is an innovative new electronic hand brake warning device. This driver safety aid is designed to avoid insufficient application of the handbrake prior to exiting the vehicle. The device has been static tested on a Peugeot Partner and is about to be evaluated fully on a small number of operational trial vehicles, with the device consists of a handbrake sensor and warning system that switches off and at 5 handbrake ratchet clicks and locks out on 6 handbrake ratchet clicks which meets the required Royal Mail standard. There are 4 vehicles currently being modified with the device ready for evaluation trials. The ASRs covering the Offices where the Vehicles are to be located have been notified and will be fully involved in monitoring the trial vehicles when the Trials commence. The vehicles will be located in Milton Keynes, Woodbridge, Grimsby and Stoke. Further update reports to Branches and ASRs will be made in due course.


Finally, this important Safety Issue is not just for Road Safety Week alone! The issue needs to be monitored continually and be part of Safety Inspections and spot checks on a regular periodic basis, flagging up all shortcomings as soon as possible.
Road Safety Week provides a high profile, awareness raising, special focus on an important Driver and Vehicle Safety matter.
ASRs may wish to further discuss the above with the local SHE Team Managers and Advisors and at Health and Safety Joint Committees to suggest some further ongoing joint attention and initiatives and how to maintain vigilance and attention to issues highlighted during the week.
Every 30 seconds someone somewhere in the world is killed in a road crash. The misery of road death and injuries caused by vehicles is a shameful epidemic that we should all try to reduce. Road Safety Week is the beginning of a campaign to reduce accidents and injuries.
Can I thank all ASRs, WSRs and Branch Officials for their support.

 – RMG/CWU/Unite Handbrake Leaflet

 – RSW Activity Plans (ASR, Front Line Managers, Other Managers)

 – RMG Handbrake Safety Alert

 – RMG Handbrake Safety Poster

 – Royal Mail Vehicle Roll Away Photos
Yours sincerely
Dave Joyce

National Health, Safety & Environment Officer
Email Attachments – Click to download
Attachment 1 – LTB088/17 Royal Mail/CWU Quarterly Road Safety Week, 20 —24 February 2017

Attachment 2 – Handbrake Leaflet RSW Feb 2017 Final

Attachment 3 – RSW February 2017 ASR Activity Plan

Attachment 4 – RSW February 2017 Front Line Manager Activity Plan

Attachment 5 – RSW February 2017 Other Managers Activity Plan

Attachment 6 – GPSA 2015 003 Handbrake Safety

Attachment 7 – Handbrake Poster

Attachment 8 – RM Vehicle Roll Away Photos


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