RMG Driver/Road Safety – “Preventing Vehicle Rollaways & ‘H.I.T.’ Campaign” (RMG SHE Huddle/Briefing FY22 034 Avoiding Rollaways)
Royal Mail Group are following up previous campaigns on a crucially important driver and road safety issue this week and will be highlighting the very serious issue of vehicle Rollaways involving Royal Mail and Parcelforce vehicles and once again will be focusing on the vitally important and ‘mandatory’ steps that drivers need to take to prevent these incidents from occurring.
All drivers will now be very aware of the mandatory requirement to follow HIT, every time they park their vehicle, regardless of whether they are parking on a hill.
H – Handbrake on – apply the handbrake FULLY, pulling it all the way up on the ratchet (click, click, click!).
I – In Gear (or ‘Park’ mode) – even if the handbrake fails, your van will not move if it is in gear.
T – Turn Wheels – use the kerb to ‘chock’ your wheels or if there is no kerb present, turn to the place of least danger.
- Most rollaways occur when the handbrake has been applied! The most common issue is partial application of the handbrake, and the handbrake can sometimes be defective. Either way, leaving the vehicle in gear will still prevent a rollaway.
- Most people are taught to push the handbrake button in when applying it, but this increases the risk of partial application as the handbrake can drop a notch as you release it – always apply your handbrake on the ratchet ‘click, click, click …’ and only us the button to release it. Contrary to myth, this does not cause early wear and it means your handbrake holds at its highest point.
- RM and RMPF Delivery and Collection vehicles typically park around 15,000 times per year, and the handbrake will also be used when stationary at junctions etc. Handbrakes will wear and must be maintained. Drivers must always complete their pre-use vehicle checks and report if the handbrake is faulty or has excessive travel. NEVER drive an un-roadworthy vehicle.
- If a vehicle is involved in a rollaway, it must always be inspected by the Workshop. RM and PFWW need to ensure that the handbrake is working correctly, to establish cause and to avoid any repeat.
New Vehicle Specifications and Electronic Parking Brakes:
- Many new vehicles are now arriving on the RM and PFWW fleet with Electronic Parking Brakes. These remove the possibility of a partially applied handbrake and some have an option to apply the parking brake automatically. This is brilliant until a driver changes vehicles! This is when there is a risk that the driver is either unfamiliar with the set up or forgets to apply the parking brake or assumes it will automatically apply itself! Whenever a driver changes vehicles, they must ensure that they familiarise themselves with the operation of the handbrake or parking brake and the options (e.g. ‘Auto hold’), and when parking, the driver must always check that the brake is applied.
- Vehicles may have ‘hill start assist’ where the brakes apply automatically on a hill, so the driver can pull away without rolling back. This is not a parking brake and will release after a few seconds. Drivers must always apply the handbrake/parking brake before leaving the vehicle.
- All new vehicles (including hired vehicles) should come with a familiarisation document or a vehicle handbook. Drivers must ensure that they are familiar with all controls BEFORE driving the vehicle and they should ask a manager if they are unsure about anything with the vehicle.
- Some vehicles will have automatic transmission (including the electric vehicles). These typically have a ‘Park’ or ‘P’ function to use when parking the vehicle. Drivers still need to apply the handbrake/parking brake. In rare cases, there may be another mode to use. Drivers should check the familiarisation document or the vehicle handbook or ask a manager if unsure.
The national focus on following ‘HIT’ is working as last year saw a 17% reduction in vehicle rollaways despite the size of the fleet growing and making more stops. If all drivers follow ‘HIT’ every time, then rollaways can be eliminated.
If drivers don’t follow ‘HIT’ presently then they should start doing so as soon as possible. Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them…. until it does!
If you see any of your driver members not following ‘HIT’, please remind them to do so.
- Always follow HIT every time the vehicle is parked, even on level ground.
- Make sure you are familiar with how your vehicle controls work, especially if it is a new vehicle.
- Complete the vehicle pre-use checks and report any defects.
- Use Yard Checks and First Class Safety Conversations, to identify whether ‘HIT’ is being applied.
- Ensure that any defective vehicle is repaired by following the PMT1 process.
- Ensure that any vehicle involved in a rollaway is immediately sent to the workshop for testing.
- Ensure that new vehicles have the required familiarisation documents and/or the vehicle handbook, so that drivers can familiarise themselves with controls.
This campaign is supported by the CWU HQ Health, Safety & Environment Department. CWU ASR full support and participation is much appreciated by Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide, RMSS, RMP&FS and CWU HQ.
The Aims and Benefits of the Campaign are:
- To improve compliance with RMG ‘H.I.T.’ Road Safety Handbrake Policy and Road Traffic Law.
- Increase awareness amongst drivers and managers on the ‘Mandatory’ ‘H.I.T.’ Safety Standard.
- Abate and reduce the worrying number of highly dangerous vehicle rollaways.
ASRs Should utilise the support of WSRs and IR Rep colleagues. Agree with Operational Managers which Units will be visited where possible and jointly support the ‘Preventing Vehicle Rollaways – Road Safety Campaign’. Where possible, engage CWU member drivers and:
- Carry out additional safety inspections, spot check activities, remind drivers about ‘H.I.T’.
- Use the Road Safety Campaign Materials (attached) to talk to drivers about the importance of Handbrake Safety and ’H.I.T.’.
- Check that drivers have received the ‘H.I.T.’ briefing.
- Check drivers have seen the RSW ‘H.I.T.’ materials (attached).
- Ask drivers – Do they follow the Royal Mail ‘H.I.T.’ safety procedure?
ASRs should where possible engage front line managers and ask them:
- What activities have they completed for the Preventing Vehicle Rollaways, ‘H.I.T.’ Road Safety Campaign?
- Have they made all drivers aware of the actions they need to take?
- SHE Huddle FY22 034 – Preventing Vehicle Rollaways Huddle
- H.I.T. Materials
Thanks for your support and assistance at this very difficult time.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer