UK Weather Warnings of Snow and Ice – Royal Mail Severe Weather Preparation Advice Reminder

UK Weather Warnings of Snow and Ice – Royal Mail Severe Weather Preparation Advice Reminder:

Introduction and Background

The UK Met Office has issued Amber and Yellow Warnings regarding snow and ice in various parts of the country as follows; Temperatures are falling. Icy patches may cause travel disruption and delays on roads stranding some vehicles and passengers. Bus and train services may be delayed or cancelled, with some road closures and longer journey times possible – some rural communities could become temporarily cut off. Power cuts may occur and other services may be temporarily affected. Untreated pavements and cycle paths might be impassable with a chance of injuries from slips and falls on snow-covered or icy surfaces. The Met Office warn that heavy snow is likely in the East Midlands, North East England, North West England, Midlands, Yorkshire & Humber, Central, Tayside & Fife, Northern Ireland, SW Scotland, Lothian Borders, Strathclyde and Wales.

The news is that the so called UK ‘Arctic plunge’ may last for some time so all ASRs should check the weather maps for your area and regional/local weather forecasts and ensure, working with the SHE Advisors and OPLs/COMs/Transport Manager, that ‘Severe Weather Risk Assessments’ are carried out for all Units. The snow, freezing temperatures and wintry conditions could continue in the lead-up to spring.

Severe Weather Preparation and Risk Assessment Requirements:

All Royal Mail and Parcelforce Managers have received the message that it is important that prior to any severe winter weather, preparation takes place for conditions that may be faced.  Managers need to ensure that the workforce has the correct equipment needed to work outdoors in severe weather.

Managers need to ensure that they have reviewed the ‘Severe Weather Preparation Checklist’ and carried out the required activity. They need to download a copy of the Severe Weather Risk Assessment (SWRA) and save to a dedicated folder to use as required. Managers should familiarise themselves with the severe weather risk assessment so that they know how to use it as the situation arises. This must be carried out in consultation with CWU ASRs.

All staff must be briefed to remind them of their requirement to order the correct uniform personal protective clothing and footwear for use during winter conditions.

ASR – Be Proactive:

As always ASRs should be proactive and not wait for Managers to approach them to consult on the SWRA. Make contact with COMs, OPLs, SHE Advisors, Depot Managers, Transport and Distribution Managers, MCMs etc. Mobilise WSR to support also.

To assists ASRs, attached find 4 documents for information and reference and to assist in discussions with managers as well as bringing the information to their attention as need be.

SHE Huddle FY22 052 – Severe Weather Preparation

This was prepared to remind managers of their responsibilities and support to achieve compliance. SHE Huddle FY22 052 instructs Managers to:

  • Ensure that they have reviewed the Severe Weather Preparation Checklist and carried out the required activity. Download and carry out a Severe Weather Risk Assessment.
  • Brief employees to remind them of their requirement to order the correct uniform for use during the winter.
  • Access the Severe Weather Instruction, Guidance, Risk Assessment and Severe Weather Preparation Checklist in RMG SHE Standard 5.1.7 ‘Severe Weather’.

SHE Instruction 5.1.7 Risk Manaement – Severe Weather Guidance:  

This guidance is for all managers in all functions and will help to manage the operation during periods of severe weather.  Managers will need to assess the impact of various weather conditions and ensure that suitable controls are put in place to reduce the risk.  The aim is to keep the operation running where safe to do so but in extreme weather, ceasing operations may be necessary to keep the workforce safe.

Severe weather is defined as any weather condition that could significantly increase the risk to the workforce whilst performing their job. This includes the following weather types:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Heavy rain/floods
  • Fog
  • High winds
  • Sun/high temperatures

The likelihood of accidents and ill health can increase significantly during severe weather. This can include:

  • Road Traffic Collisions
  • Slips/Trips/Falls
  • Effects from the sun/heat e.g., sunburn and heat exhaustion

This guidance covers the following steps to successfully managing severe weather:

  • Severe Weather Preparation Checklist
  • On the day assessment of weather conditions
  • Potential generic hazard controls
  • Communication

RMG Gritting Contract Overview:

Please find attached a copy of the gritting contract communication that was shared on the intranet, through SHE News and Workplace week commencing 26thSeptember as a reminder of the gritting controls.

SHE Huddle FY22 053 – Yard Risk Assessment and Yard Safety:

Yard Safety and specifically accurate and full completion of the site Yard Risk Assessment is vital. SHE Huddle FY22 053 was released to highlight some recent weaknesses identified by Health and Safety Enforcing Authority Officers. The huddle prompts PIC’s to review their Yard Risk Assessment after reading the learning identified in the briefing.

Yards are potentially some of the most high-risk areas that Royal Mail and Parcelforce has within the business. When completing the Yard Risk Assessment, it is vital that Managers fully consider all the hazards and the risks that exist. Royal Mail has previously been prosecuted and fined over Yard Safety failures and accidents plus the business has been served with a number of Enforcement/Improvement notices for risk assessments not being suitable and sufficient and hazards not having been considered as well as pedestrian walkways not being adequate and failure to segregate pedestrians and vehicle traffic. CWU ASRs must be involved and consulted in good time on risk assessments and control measures. This is particularly important in bad weather conditions.


  • SHE Huddle FY22 052 – Severe Weather Preparation
  • SHE Instruction 5.1.7 Risk Management – Severe Weather Guidance:
  • RMG Gritting Contract Overview:
  • SHE Huddle FY22 053 – Yard Risk Assessment and Yard Safety:

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

23LTB057 UK Weather Warnings of Snow and Ice – Royal Mail Severe Weather Preparation Advice Reminder

SHE Huddle FY22 052 Severe Weather Preperation

Severe Weather Guidance Sept 2022

September Gritting and Snow Clearing Refresh Comms

SHE Huddle FY22 053 Yard Risk Assessment

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