Royal Mail Group ‘Severe Weather (HOT WEATHER) Safety Controls Guidance – Supplementary to the Severe Weather Risk Assessment – Message Sent To All Unit Managers/PiCs:
Updated ‘Severe Weather (HOT WEATHER) Safety Controls Guidance’:
Royal Mail Group have ‘updated’ their ‘Severe Weather (HOT WEATHER) Safety Controls Guidance’ which is supplementary to the Severe Weather Risk Assessment.
A joint post implementation review was carried out following the Met Office ‘Red Warning’ severe (Over 35C/95F) heatwave on 17, 18 and 19 July. Following those discussions, Royal Mail Group in consultation with the CWU Health, Safety and Environment Department have developed and issued fresh, clearer guidance to clarify and simplify the understanding and process for dealing with severe hot weather and safely managing the workforce to ensure their wellbeing.
I would firstly refer all Branches to the contents of previous LTBs – 310/22 308/22, 306/22, 305/22 226/22 and 213/22.
In developing the new guidance, the implications were considered for the Royal Mail Group workforce as a whole, both indoor and outdoor but for the outdoor workforce in particular who are most affected in hot, sunny, high temperature and heatwave conditions.
The new updated, supplementary guidance designed to deal better with extreme heat (copy attached) has been issued to all Royal Mail Group managers in respect of last week’s Met Office ‘Amber Hot Weather Warning’ and further expected Met Office ‘Amber and Red Weather Warnings’ to come later this month where forecasts are that 35C could be reached on 27 August with high temperatures of 30C/86F to 32C/90F in the days before and after that date.
A copy of the ‘Royal Mail Group ‘Severe Weather (HOT WEATHER) Safety Controls Guidance’ communication is attached for your urgent and priority attention. (Note: This applies to all businesses Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide, RMSS, Royal Mail Property and Facilities Solutions, RM Engineering, RM Fleet etc).
Daily SWRA To Be Completed:
The communication to all PiCs and Managers reinforces the very important need for the implementation of the ‘Severe Weather Risk Assessment’ (SWRA) process in all Offices on a daily basis and with the involvement and consultation of CWU ASRs.
Key points in the ‘Severe Weather (HOT WEATHER) Safety Controls Guidance’ are as follows:
- The guidance communication sets out the businesses’ approach to dealing with the hot weather/intense sunlight, including Amber Warning/Red Warning heat wave situations and gives a clear national steer to managers/PiCs, working with full CWU ASR/WSR engagement/involvement locally, as an integral part of the SWRA process.
- During hot weather, high temperatures and intense sunlight, including heatwave warning situations, a SWRA local risk assessment is to be carried out daily and decisions on delivery and collection adjustments and changes as necessary are to be decided upon and deployed locally to protect the workforce.
- When a Met Office ‘Red level Warning’ is in place for the majority of the duty and temperatures reach 35C/95F, managers will suspend all outdoor operations. All outdoor work will stop at that point including driving with some driving exceptions and indoor operations making necessary adjustments.
- When a Met Office ‘Red level Warning’ or ‘Amber Level Warning’ is in place for part of the duty and temperatures reach 35C/95F, managers will suspend all outdoor operations for that period of the duty during which the warning is in place, including driving with some driving exceptions, with appropriate controls and adjustments made for the rest of the duty. Indoor operations will make necessary adjustments.
- General Controls are listed in the guidance.
- Job Role additional controls are covered in the guidance.
Personal Judgement – Dynamic Risk Assessment – Important Footnote in the new Guidance:
This important part of the SWRA and guidance needs to be drawn to the attention of all outdoor workforce members:
- When working outdoors in hot conditions and sunlight the effects of the weather in the UK environment can potentially have a serious impact on an employee’s health if the risks have not been assessed or properly managed consistent with HSE guidance. This impact may be immediate or it may occur over a long time period.
- All staff significantly impacted by severe sun and heat during their shift have the right to make personal judgements including, should it be necessary, suspending their delivery, collection or duty, to an address, part of their duty, or the whole duty where conditions deteriorate.
- Anyone feeling unwell should stop work and return to their unit/office/depot etc. A manager should be contacted to confirm any change to duties and if assistance/recovery is required.
It needs to be remembered that ‘Personal Judgement’ can be applied by staff at hot weather temperatures below 35C/95F, in situations where individual outdoor workers feel that the sun exposure and heat is too intense and as a result they feel fatigued, stressed or unwell or for any other health condition which is made worse in the heat and sun, then individuals have the right to make a dynamic risk assessment or personal judgement and choice, if they wish to cut off the their duty and return to the Office. Staff do not have to wait until the 35C/95F is reached or a Met Office Warning has been issued.
CWU ASR/WSR Involvement And Consultation:
Full CWU ASR/WSR involvement and consultation is part of the SWRA process. The Manager must consult the CWU ASR/WSR on the assessment and controls as set out in the assessment process and take account of the ASR/WSR input. The supplementary guidance reinforces and re-emphasises the CWU ASR/WSR involvement.
- Ensure all Units carry out daily Severe Weather Risk Assessments during the hot weather in consultation with the ASR/WSR and that appropriate fit for purpose risk control actions are taken. Be proactive – if managers don’t contact you – don’t wait – CONTACT THEM!
- Any non-compliance by Unit managers should be progressed by the ASR via the nationally agreed Health and Safety Disputes/Escalations process as set out in RMG SHE Standard 5.1.
- Convey the ‘Sun Safety’ messages to managers and members repeatedly as follows; – Cover up/keep the dangerous sun rays off your skin. Use sunscreen/sunblock on any exposed skin and avoid sunburn which can lead to skin cancer. Take extra breaks in the shade. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Sunburn and dehydration are dangerous. Outdoor staff to make personal judgements throughout the day and return to the office if at any time they feel they need to do so or if they feel unwell, stressed and fatigued due to the heat and intense sunlight.
- Ensure that all vulnerable workers with underlying health issues and pregnant workers are individually risk assessed to ensure their health and wellbeing is protected whilst working in the current weather.
- Royal Mail Group ‘Severe Weather (HOT WEATHER) Safety Controls Guidance.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer