Royal Mail and Parcelforce (Including Fleet and Engineering etc.) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Protective Clothing and Footwear Provision and Supply Issues:
The Health, Safety and Environment Department has continued to receive enquiries regarding the provision and supply of those items of protective clothing and footwear which fall within the Royal Mail and Parcelforce uniform ranges and the specific Technical Services Grades ranges that fall under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work (PPE) Regulations 1992 (as amended 2002). (Note: Regulation 2(1) in these Regulations determines that ‘personal protective equipment (PPE)’ means all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects him/her against one or more risks to his/her health or safety, and any addition or accessory designed to meet that objective.)
Unfortunately, and sadly, some ill-chosen, misplaced an odd comments made by Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson on the company’s garbage ‘Workplace Social Media Facebook Website’ has been a cause for concern amongst CWU reps and members generally, particularly in relation to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and particularly for the delivery workforce members working outdoors as the winter months approach bringing potential extremes of low temperatures, cold and wet weather. This has led to a number of complaints and enquiries being received at the CWU/HQ Health, Safety and Environment Department.
Following discussions with the Royal Mail Group Head of Assets and National Uniform Manager, we have been assured that despite any issues that may arise in relation to the supply chain, transitioning from the old to new uniform range or uniform reviews etc., the supply of PPE items will continue to be provided as normal and there should be no issues for the workforce in obtaining PPE items such as stormproof jackets, high-Viz garments, waterproof leggings and safety footwear etc. These items are part of the BAU (Business As Usual) process and not part of the new uniform rollout. There may be a few sizes showing as out of stock on the Uniform Portal, however there is a message advising that the order should be placed and it will be fulfilled with an alternative, equivalent, similar specification, ‘off the shelf’ product.
Under Section 2(1) of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended), ‘personal protective equipment’ means all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects him/her against one or more risks to his/her health or safety, and any addition or accessory designed to meet that objective. Under Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, no charge can be made to the worker for the provision of PPE which is used only at work. Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: “No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions”. Section 9 applies to these regulations because they impose a ‘specific requirement’ – i.e., to provide PPE.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer