Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash (FY21 006) – Tail Lift Safe Operation – Serious Accident

Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash (FY21 006) – Tail Lift Safe Operation – Serious Accident:


All Royal Mail Group drivers who drive and operate a tail lift fitted vehicle.

Overview and Background:

Royal Mail Group Safety Health and Environment Group have issued ‘Safety Flash’, number FY21 006, (copy attached), which gives a summary of a recent serious accident which could have ended in a fatality. The ‘Safety Flash’ is to form the basis of a Unit Briefing to ALL ROYAL MAIL DRIVERSoperating ‘Tail Lift’ vehicles, in order to raise awareness of the potential risk of similar serious accidents involving falls from height whilst unloading vehicles.


The Safe System of Work (SSoW) was not followed by the driver concerned as the tail lift should have been in the up-position, level with the vehicle load space bed. York containers should be pushed on to the tail lift and loading dock platform – not pulled.

Description of the Incident:

A driver was unloading York containers from a 7.5t tail lift vehicle. The driver was moving backwards, pulling a stuck York towards the rear of the vehicle load space. The tail lift had been previously lowered to the fully lowered, ground level position and as the York suddenly became free and released, the driver, pulling the York backwards, fell from the vehicle, down onto the lowered tail lift, pulling the York container with him and the York landed on top of him causing injuries.

Impact and Effect:

Hand, chest and back injuries sustained.

Key Learning Points, Management Activities and Messages to Staff:

  • Communicate and display this SHE Flash on the SHE Noticeboard.
  • Brief all drivers on this SHE Flash, alerting them to risk and the accident and the need to follow the mandatory SSoW.
  • Drivers to follow the mandatory SSoW at all times entitled ‘Loading & Unloading Vehicles – Operation and Use of a Tail Lift’.
  • Do not use a tail lift unless trained and authorised to do so.
  • Do not work on the vehicle bed/loadspace with the tail lift in the down position.
  • Only two Yorks are to be loaded on to a tail lift at any time.
  • When unloading wheeled York containers, turn the York from inside the vehicle and push it on to the tail lift being careful to stay clear of the sides. Position the York against the floor roll stops if fitted and apply the brake on the York container.
  • Position the York containers to the offside of the tail lift platform (right of the platform as facing from the ground), to maximise space available for the driver. Stand to the near side (left as facing the ground) whilst operating the tail lift controls. Hold onto a York with the other hand if needed.

Key Management Activity:

  • Communicate and display the SHE Safety Flash on the SHE Notice board.
  • Brief the SSOW ‘Loading & Unloading Vehicles – Operation and Use of a Tail Lift’ to all drivers operating these vehicles.


  • Copy of RMG SHE Safety Flash FY21 006 –Tail Lift Safe Operation.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

LTB 133/21 – Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash (FY21 006) – Tail Lift Safe Operation – Serious Accident

SHE Flash FY21 006 Taillift Operation

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