Royal Mail Materials Handling & Containerisation & Trailer Load Plans – Supplementary Update – Christmas Arrangements 2020 – Health & Safety Aspects

LTB 590/20 – Royal Mail Materials Handling & Containerisation & Trailer Load Plans – Supplementary Update – Christmas Arrangements 2020 – Health & Safety Aspects

No. 590/2020

10 December 2020

Our Ref:  E1/20

To:  All Branches

Dear Colleagues,

Royal Mail Materials Handling & Containerisation & Trailer Load Plans – Supplementary Update – Christmas Arrangements 2020 – Health & Safety Aspects:

(Due to the unprecedented volume of traffic resulting in the shortage of Yorks – alternative containers and methods of moving mail, including loose loading are now being used).  

This is a supplementary update to be read in conjunction with LTB No. 557/2020 issued on 19 November 2020 entitled ‘Royal Mail Materials Handling & Containerisation Update – Christmas Arrangements 2020 – Health & Safety Aspects’ which was a summary update on Materials Handling Containerisation arrangements for the 2020 Christmas period.

Branches and Reps are also advised to read this in conjunction with LTB No. 577/2020 issued on 1 December 2020 entitled ‘Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash – Poor Standard of Pallets and Euro Pallet Boxes (EPBs) Loading and Presentation’ and LTB No. 360/2020 issued on 7 July 2020 entitled ‘Royal Mail, Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Safety Flash – Moving Blocks of 5 Nested York Roll Containers in Breach of the SSoW – Member Injured’.

The contents of this LTB have been discussed and agreed with Royal Mail HQ, Central Containers Team, Safety, Health & Environment Team, Royal Mail Fleet Engineers, Royal Mail Head of Ergonomics and Royal Mail Head of Assets following the work of a RMG/CWU Joint Working Party.

As previously reported, prior to the Christmas peak period, Royal Mail purchased an additional 70,000 MK3 York Containers, increasing its originally planned purchase of 34,000 Yorks from manufacturer K.Hartwall. The additions, added to the existing 552,000 (MK1, MK2 and MK3) Yorks and resulted in a total fleet of 622,000 Yorks available for operations. Under normal circumstances this would have been more than sufficient for the Christmas pressure peak period operation, even with an increase in traffic over and above previous years. However, we are not in normal times.

The impact of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic, with two national lockdowns and many regional restrictions impacting on retail outlets with non-essential shop closures and reduced public mobility, resulted in the UK public turning to the on-line, internet market place. This in turn brought with it a massive increase in e-commerce, and a rapidly accelerated increase in on-line shopping parcels into the RM network. By the end of 2020 estimates predict that Royal Mail will have carried over 300 million more parcels than last year. This is obviously very good news for the business, but with it has come many challenges during the current ongoing pandemic.

Despite Royal Mail’s large, increased order of York Containers, traffic levels have still resulted in over a 30% shortfall of York Containers for the 2020 Christmas peak period.

Alternative Containers from other manufacturers were investigated but nothing of a suitable, safe, fit for purpose, compatible design for the Royal Mail network operation was available. Therefore, alternative arrangements for some customers as well as contingencies within the network were required to maintain the service.

20,000 Magnum (Heavy Duty Plastic RSC type) Containers were secured on hire and the only remaining option was to use standard logistics industry pallets and various palletised cardboard containers with loose loading as a last resort in RM.

The other challenge was to ensure that sufficient capacity was available on the Royal Mail Group Fleet, capable to move these re-configured loads. This has meant that a huge amount of work needed to be undertaken to re-risk assess trailers that are designed for roll containers, in order that they could be utilised to transport the various temporary pallets and static non-wheeled containers. This involved considerations of MHE, loading/unloading methods, load plans, trailer deck weight checks, stability assessments, load plans, load securing and strapping arrangements.

This huge amount of work has been undertaken in the shortest amount of time with Royal Mail and the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department, supported by the CWU Network/Logistics team of ASRs working closely, jointly with the Royal Mail SHE, Fleet and subject matter experts team, completing this work, centering on the 95 York, Dual-Use, Double Deck Trailer. I would like to thank my Network/Logistics ASR Safety Team, in particular Karl Maginn D/ASR(WA) NW Central Amal and Paul Arandall ASR(LS) Leeds No1 Amal.

The following updated list of the key current documents which have been developed are attached:

  1. Coronavirus Temporary SWI: Loading & Unloading Loose Loaded Trailers (RM)
  2. Using a Manual/Hand Pallet Truck (MPT/HPT) SSoW
  3. Pallets SSoW (Pallets and Cardboard RSCs)
  4. Double-Deck Trailers Operation SSoW (Inc. Lifting Roof DDTs)
  5. Shrink-Wrapping Pallets SWI
  6. Non-Wheeled Containers SSoW (RSCs / BGC)
  7. Stackable Containers (Cardboard RSC (CRSC), Plastic Folding Stackable Container (PFSC Magnum), Euro Pallet Box (EPB) – SSOW
  8. Temporary (Xmas Peak) Use Stackable Containers – One Page Quick Reference Sheet With Uses Summery & Tech Details
  9. Operating Methods For Transport of Loaded & Empty RSC/York Containers In Royal Mail Vehicles & Trailers (Loading & Strapping Mandatory Instructions)
  10. RM Loose Load Parcels – Load Plan For Single Deck Trailer
  11. RM Load Plan Single-Deck Trailer
  12. RM Load Plan for 75-York Double Deck Trailer
  13. RM Load Plan for 92-York Double Deck Trailer
  14. RM Load Plan for 95-York Double Deck Trailer (Inc. Non-Wheeled Containers & Pallets plus understanding/competency questions)
  15. RM Load Plan for 98-York Double Deck Trailer
  16. RM Load Plan for 110-York Double Deck Trailer
  17. Additional Strapping for 95 York DD Trailers.

There are, of course, other documents and risk assessments but this list is the most specific and relevant.

Important – Please note: These Risk Assessments and Safe Systems of Work will be kept under review and closely monitored with all feedback welcomed. Following the peak period a full joint review will take place. The documents will therefore potentially change based on feedback. Operational managers will always have the latest version and updates will be issued following any significant changes.

The Double-Deck Trailer Loading Plan was subject to close testing and weight checks at the RM NW Hub jointly by Royal Mail and the CWU. Additional straps have been procured in order to achieve full utilisation of the DDTs for the various container loads.

Key points:

  • Temporary changes have been risk assessed with input from fleet engineers/subject matter experts, operational managers and CWU.
  • The safety documents (SSoWs/SWIs/Guides etc.,) will be closely monitored and reviewed with changes made if required.
  • SSOWs, guidance and training MUST be adhered to without exception.
  • The 95 York Double Deck Trailer is the only Double Deck that can carry non-wheeled containers. All others are for Yorks only.  The Load Plan for the 95 York Double Deck Trailer must be understood in order to understand the variables of container type in order to ensure that the vehicle is not overloaded.
  • The mail types, weight limits and fill must be adhered to for containers – the container matrix is a simple guide to support managers and the workforce with this.
  • Damaged equipment and pallets must be taken out of service.
  • As with all other work activity, tasks and use of equipment must be completed in a ‘COVID-Secure’ way.

Safety Instructions Must Be Followed At All Times

The purpose of these safe working instructions (SWI) is to highlight safe work practices to minimise exposure to hazards and prevent harm to people. These safety instructions must be followed at all times.

SMATs & Joint Safety Inspections

It’s been agreed that Managers (in conjunction with Area and Workplace Safety Representatives) will regularly review the implementation of the safety instructions to ensure

they remain effective in all work areas. If any Rep or member has any queries, – raise it immediately with line management. Compliance to SWIs and Coronavirus controls

will be monitored as part of regular managerial SMAT activity and joint Unit Workplace Health and Safety Inspections with the CWU Safety Rep.

Some Important Mandatory Safety Actions

  • Face masks are mandatory and must be worn at all times indoors.
  • Wash hands/use sanitiser before, during and after completing the task.
  • Adhere to manual handling principles at all times.
  • Maintain social distancing standards at all times, in all places.
  • Avoid face to face contact.
  • Follow safe loading/unloading work methods without deviation.
  • Move one York at a time.
  • Use MHE carefully as instructed and as per training.
  • Where containers are fed in and out of the vehicle ensure social distancing standards, for example by using a single ‘chain’ and don’t encroach into another employee’s space.
  • Ensure compliance to the relevant vehicle/trailer loading plan.
  • Adopt the job rotations and work activity controls ensuring there are no additional ergonomic risks.

All enquiries should be directed to the CWU/HQ Health, Safety & Environment Department.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 590/20 – Materials Handling & Containerisation & Trailer Load Plans – Supplementary Update – Christmas Arrangements 2020

Additional Straps-95 York Double-Deck Trailer-Positioning Guide v1.0

Coronavirus Temporary SWI_Loading & Unloading_Loose Load v1.1

Manual Pallet Truck (MPT) SSoW_v1.2

Pallets SSOW v1.2

RMG Operating Double Deck Trailers (DDT) SSoW_v1.2

Shrink-Wrapping Pallets_v1.0

SL_Non_Wheeled_Containers_General_SSoW (1)

Stackable Containers (Cardboard RSC; Euro Pallet Box; Magnum) SSOW v1.3

Temporary Usage Stackable Containers Matrix v1.1

Transport of Yorks and RSCs SSOW v.1.3

Vehicle Load Plan-Loose Loads-v1.0

Vehicle Load Plan-Single-Lower Deck Trailers v1.4






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