Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 024 – RM Articulated Tractor Unit and Trailer ‘Drive Off’ From Loading Dock

Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 024 – RM Articulated Tractor Unit and Trailer ‘Drive Off’ From Loading Dock:

Background and Description 

Royal Mail Group’s Safety Team have issued RMG SHE Safety Flash FY22 024 following a dangerous incident which occurred at the Parcelforce North Essex Depot in which an agency driver was collecting a trailer to take to the Parcelforce Coventry Hub.

The agency driver coupled up the tractor unit and trailer, connected the trailer suzzie air lines and electrical cable, then wound the trailer legs up to the ready to go position and released the trailer brake.

However, the driver then drove off the loading bay without performing pre-use safety checks, checking the load space, checking the load, checking the rear shutter door or if the number plate was attached.

Having left the North Essex Depot for Coventry, he began to hear a banging sound coming from the trailer. About 1 mile into the journey, he remembered the trailer number plate wasn’t on the trailer so he pulled into a bus stop to attach the number plate. As he got out of the tractor unit cab, checking the underneath of the trailer to see where the banging was coming from, he then discovered the shutter door was still fully open and a Parcelforce employee was still inside the trailer. The employee in the trailer had climbed over York containers in order to bang on the trailer bulkhead to alert the driver.


  • A dangerous incident in which an employee loading the trailer could have been injured and the load could have been lost on the road.
  • Fortunately no injuries were sustained.
  • The incident could have resulted in serious crush injuries from the York containers or a fall from the open trailer.
  • York containers could have fallen from the trailer whilst the vehicle was in motion causing a road traffic collision and injury to third parties.

Key Messages and Learning Points 

  • Agency staff need to be briefed on the site rules, particularly when collecting trailers and any lock out procedure, i.e., keys hooked onto the roller door until the trailer is safe to depart.
  • Only people on site must instruct drivers on specific trailer collections – not people from another site.
  • Drivers and agency drivers must complete the appropriate checks of trailers/rear of vehicles/trailers and ensure the dock leveller and loading dock doors/trailer doors/shutters are retracted and closed prior to departing.
  • Visiting drivers and agency drivers must be directed to the local manager before connecting trailers.


  • PICs to review current vehicle key control procedures to ensure they are robust.
  • PiCs to ensure the site has clearly understood rules governing the safe movement of trailers to prevent loading dock/bay drive-offs.
  • PICs to ensure site and yard rules are communicated to all users including visiting drivers and agency drivers on arrival. Rules should also be clearly displayed in key locations


  • Please ensure that this Safety Flash is communicated and brought to the attention of all appropriate members and that actions above are deployed.


  • Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 024 – RM Articulated Tractor Unit and Trailer ‘Drive Off’ From Loading Dock:

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

22LTB511 Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 024 – RM Articulated Tractor Unit and Trailer ‘Drive Off’ From Loading Dock

SHE Flash FY22 024 – Vehicle Drive Off

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