Royal Mail Group – Night Workers Health Assessment 2022
As part of employers’ legal requirements under the UK Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended in 2003, 2007 and 2009), every adult worker assigned to night shift work must be afforded the opportunity to have a periodic free health assessment. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces the night worker health assessment requirement detailed in the Working Time Regulations.
Royal Mail Group complies with this legal requirement by ensuring that all night worker employees are offered a health assessment on an annual basis. This is done through a screening questionnaire that has been compiled with guidance from Royal Mail’s occupational health provider (Optima Health).
Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, a ‘night worker’ is an employee whose regular work hours includes at least three ‘night time’ hours between 11pm to 6am unless otherwise agreed.
Night workers can be at a higher risk of physical or mental ill health than day workers, which is why this assessment is offered. The assessments are designed to support night workers’ health and wellbeing as some health conditions might need to be taken into consideration when doing night work.
While working at night doesn’t necessarily pose any significant health risks, it may worsen some existing health conditions including epilepsy, depression, anxiety and diabetes.
The health assessment helps employers to identify where night shifts are causing workers health risks. After completion, it also helps to decide how best to make reasonable adjustments. Very few health problems prevent people working nights and the assessment will help identify where any specific advice or adjustments may be needed for individual workers and/ or their manager to take account of.
A night worker health assessment will identify any risk factors associated with health condition(s) and allows advice to be obtained on how to manage them effectively. It does not necessarily mean anyone with these conditions is unsuitable for night work.
The Royal Mail health and wellbeing team are this month (August 2022) writing to all night workers about the offer of the free health assessment and inviting them to complete an on-line health questionnaire. Each completed questionnaire will then be professionally reviewed by Royal Mail’s occupational health providers (Optima Health). Those workers who are unable to use the online version of the questionnaire can ask for a paper version which they can complete and send by post. The closing date for returns is 18 September 2022.
Depending on the information individual night workers provide, if a follow-up conversation with an occupational health professional is required, the individual will be contacted to arrange a health assessment appointment which are usually held over the telephone, but can be face to face. Individuals will be advised if further action is required. The employees’ manager will receive a report which will confirm fitness for night work and if necessary, it will contain further advice in respect of ensuring appropriate adjustments and action are taken to help and assist the employee to manage their health.
Should an assessment not be necessary, following completion of the questionnaire, there will be no further action taken and those individuals will not receive any further correspondence until the next annual night worker health assessment is due, unless a personal requirement is identified sooner.
Note: This is a ‘voluntary assessment’and workers are not obliged to complete it. All returns will be treated in the ‘strictest confidence’ and with the individual’s consent, information may be shared with Royal Mail, which could result in the worker’s line manager being informed about certain aspects i.e. if reasonable workplace adjustments are required to accommodate a health condition or disability. Employers must make reasonable adjustments to make sure workers with disabilities, or physical or mental health conditions, aren’t substantially disadvantaged when doing their jobs. This applies to all workers, including trainees, apprentices, contract workers and business partners.
The benefit of the night workers’ health assessment is that it helps identify risk factors associated with health and medical conditions which may require treatment or need advice on how to manage them effectively and where issues are identified, Royal Mail Group can take some proactive action to support the individual workers in order that they can continue to undertake their work effectively and efficiently without added difficulties and stress. Additionally, the assessments data helps Royal Mail understand any emerging health trends amongst the workforce.
Health Advice for Shift Workers:
As part of the exercise, the Royal Mail Group Occupational Health Service is distributing health advice to night workers which also contains advice on physical activity, diet, social interaction and the steps workers can take to help maintain and improve their health and minimise any adverse effects. A copy is attached.
Managers’ Actions are to deliver the attached WTLL brief during August/September and provide the attached ‘Health Advice for Shift Workers’ information sheet/hand-out to all night workers.
The Royal Mail Group ‘Feeling First Class’ portal has helpful support content on both mental and physical health. Visit www.rmgfirstclasssupport.co.uk or download the ‘Lifeworks’ app. New users are required to sign up using a unique invitation code, which is ‘RMG-payroll number’, for example RMG-12345678. More information is available at www.myroyalmail.com/support. You can also call First Class Support in confidence on 0345 266 5060 for health and wellbeing support. This is available 24/7.
Would ASRs ensure that:
- Managers have delivered the WTLL
- Night workers are fully aware of the annual health assessment,
- Night Workers have received the health and wellbeing advice and
- Night Workers are aware of the support services available to them should they require it for any reason.
The CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department fully supports the exercise and wishes to encourage all CWU Night Workers to participate and take part.Would all CWU Health and Safety Reps remind Night Worker Members about the Health assessment and encourage them to participate and complete the questionnaires as it’s in their best health and wellbeing interests.
The letter to all night workers, approximately 16,500 workers will be dispatched on 12 August and the deadline for completing the health assessment questionnaire is 18 September. Every CWU Member Night Shift Worker is encouraged to complete the on-line questionnaire as soon as possible before the closing date.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer