Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 011 – Serious Dog Attack in Garden:
Background and Description – What Happened:
Royal Mail Group’s Safety Team have issued RMG SHE Safety Flash FY22 011 following another recent serious dog attack on a postman/OPG member in Bury who received a horrific leg injury in the attack. In this case the very aggressive, large Mastiff type dog violently broke through a garden side gate and into the front garden, where it launched a vicious attack on the member, inflicting a serious leg injury. Although in this case the postman could do little to avoid the attack, the Safety Flash has been released to once again raise awareness and raise the profile of the need for the delivery workforce to be vigilant and follow dog risk controls and safe systems of work in order to reduce the risk of dog attacks.
On the 22nd April 2022 at approximately 10am the regular Royal Mail postman delivered mail to a property via an external mailbox attached to the wall of the house. The employee was aware of the dog at the property, however the customer on this occasion failed to secure the side gate properly allowing a Brindle Bullmastiff type dog to escape and viciously attack the postman. The dog was eventually dragged away by the owner and returned to the property.
Police investigations and internal Royal Mail/CWU joint investigations are both underway. The CWU Area Health and Safety Representative is fully involved locally in the investigation and the CWU/HQ Health, Safety and Environment Department involved nationally. We are in close contact with our Branch ASR and in regular contact also with the Royal Mail Security Investigation Team and Royal Mail Group Senior Lawyer and Legal Department, receiving regular updates.
The injured postman was taken to hospital via ambulance and received emergency surgery on his leg resulting in multiple stitches.
As indicated in LTBs 134/22 and 150/22, a detailed staff WTLL Briefing on dog awareness was produced in consultation with the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department to be delivered to the Delivery Office workforce in preparation for the reinstatement of PDA ‘Signed-For’ deliveries, reminding and raising awareness of all delivery staff to be vigilant at all times and to always take the safe course of action regarding dogs. Take no risks and take no assurances from dog owners either!
There are 3000 dog attacks on postmen and women every year. Members need to be vigilant and aware of the risks that dogs pose and take no changes. Royal Mail and CWU agree that the safety of our delivery workforce is paramount, and dog awareness must be taken seriously.
- 3000 dog attacks on postmen and women every year!
- 1000 postmen and women have had a finger bitten off in the last 5 years – don’t put your fingers through the letter box!
- 3 children have been killed in dog attacks in recent months.
- 5 million households in the UK have acquired a pet during the 2-year pandemic according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association. That means the UK now has 17 million pet-owning homes – mostly dogs.
Raise Awareness – Be Vigilant
The aim of the attachments to this LTB is to raise awareness of the dog risk and to urge members on delivery to always stay vigilant in order to do what we can jointly to minimise the risk of dog attacks on members and to promote the staff dog awareness ‘AVOID’ acronym message. The ‘AVOID’ message, outlined in the attached briefing is crucially important at this time – the message is:- ‘AVOID and Stay Safe’ – Managers and Workplace Coaches have been requested to ensure that staff are thoroughly briefed on the importance of using ‘AVOID’ and being dog aware. All CWU Reps should support getting the message across to all members.
Key Messages, Learning Points and Activities – DOMs to take appropriate remedial action, brief and remind all delivery staff as follows:
- Ensure staff are being vigilant and aware that they should report all unsecure gates or properties where a dog resides to their manager, so that they can agree the necessary controls with customers to ensure the safety of delivery staff.
- Remind staff that they may need to be prepared to use their delivery equipment (pouch or trolley) to form a barrier to defend themselves if necessary.
- Remind staff to report all dog hazards to their manager, so that they can be assessed using the dog attack control matrix and appropriate action taken to reduce the risk.
- Postmen and women/OPGs unfamiliar with delivery walks need to be made aware and informed of any hazards such as dangerous dogs or hazardous delivery points and the temporary controls that are in place and addresses where there are delivery suspensions.
- Ensure that all USO delivery exceptions and suspensions, along with alternative delivery arrangements are identified on the delivery frame through the use of the special instruction card.
- Significant dog hazards must be recorded on the ‘Outdoor Risk Assessment/(WRAP replacement) and must be identified by a yellow dot on the frame.
- The USO Sharepoint should be used to request letters to be sent to notify customers of any concerns that need addressing.
- 1 in 3 properties in the UK now have a dog. Approximately 2.5 million dogs were purchased during the pandemic. So therefore the risk of attack has increased significantly.
- Brief the Safety Flash to all staff as part of your next staff WTLL/huddle.
- Ensure all delivery postman/women employees have had the Delivery SSOW communicated to them in the last 12 months.
- Ensure walk logs are reviewed, printed off [this will support the transfer of hazards into Outdoor Risk Assessment (ORA)], and yellow dots are in place on frames for all known dog hazards.
- Visit the dog attack hazard intranet pages for ideas and material to reduce dog attacks. Units can order proactive dog attack postcards by contacting their local ALTS (Area Leadership Team Support).
- Focus Safety Conversations on dog attacks, check that customer gates are in good condition and secure.
CWU ASR/WSR Actions
Please ensure that this Safety Flash, Briefing materials and images are communicated to all members!
- Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 011 – Serious Dog Attack in Garden
- WTLL Dog Awareness Delivery Staff Briefing as RM re-instate ‘Signature Capture’ and embeds ‘Photo Capture on Delivery’
- Bury Postman Dog Attack Injury Image
- Bullmastiff Image
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer