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LTB 321/23 - Royal Mail, Parcelforce and RM International Christmas Operations 2023

No. 321/2023

Our Ref:  C1/23 

To:  All Branches

Dear Colleagues,

Royal Mail, Parcelforce and RM International Christmas Operations 2023 – Temporary Outhouses and Marquees – Health and Safety


This is to inform and update Branches and Area Health and Safety Representatives that for the twelfth year running, Royal Mail Opps, Parcelforce Worldwide and Royal Mail International are setting up and opening a dedicated network of temporary outhouses, overflow, relief sites as part of the 2023 Christmas operations, to deal with and handle the significantly increased traffic volumes and to sort a significant proportion of the parcels/packets Royal Mail handles before distribution around the UK and final delivery. The sites open on a phased basis from November.

Our apologies for the late issue of this LTB due to the late return and response of Royal Mail. We have been informed that SHE Team members including the Director Health and Safety, Head of Health and Wellbeing, RMP&FS Property Risk and Assurance Lead, SHE Team Advisors etc., are all working in the operation, in Delivery Offices, instead of on health and safety!

The temporary network will handle a significant proportion of the additional parcels/packets from the normal sorting network of Mail Centres and Regional Distribution Centres, enabling Royal Mail to cope adequately with the increased volumes of parcel/packet traffic as a result of the continued growth of online retail shopping as effectively as possible, providing Royal Mail with the increased capacity and flexibility needed as well as reducing the potential for congestion in Mail Centres and Regional Distribution Centres that sort parcels, cards and letters at the busiest time of the year. The set up will also enable the operation to cope better in the event of any severe weather conditions.

Discussions have taken place with Royal Mail Group in relation to Health and Safety at the Temporary Outhouse Christmas Sort Centres and Satellite Offices to ensure full access and involvement of CWU ASRs in order that they be fully engaged and for ASRs to undertake Health and Safety inspections, pre-start and ongoing safety spot-checks once the outhouses are operational and that they be fully involved, working with the RMG SHE Team, Property Team and Operational Management, to deal with any health, safety, welfare and working environment issues during occupation. All the relevant Royal Mail Group Central SHE safety, health and environment documents are attached.

Operational Management supported by the RMG SHE Team will take responsibility for health and safety procedures in temporary outhouses, working with CWU Area Safety Representatives.

CWU RM Christmas Temporary Outhouses Health & Safety Guide for ASRs-2023:

The guide for ASRs covers all the basics that ASRs need to be inspecting and checking e.g., staff safety training and information including site induction training, statutory Health and Safety notices are in place, manual handling training, new/temp employees and visitors, safe systems of work, environmental controls, adequate heating and lighting for a safe place of work, risk assessment, housekeeping, safe machines, plant and equipment, fault reporting, noise and dust control, fire safety and evacuation plan, first aid, ensuring all accidents and near misses are reported and investigated, emergency procedures, joint workplace safety inspections and monitoring, workplace transport and yard risk controls, continued effective vehicle and pedestrian segregation on site, PPE, emergency procedures and workplace monitoring. Site access and involvement of CWU Area Safety Representatives is important with these temporary outhouse sites during Christmas Peak operations.

Safety Documents:

I also attach several Royal Mail Group Central SHE Team national safety documents which have gone out to Royal Mail Regions and Safety Teams which they have been asked to complete when introducing additional Outhouses or Temporary Structures to support their Christmas operation.

These are:

(1) Safety Assessment and Concurrence (SAC1) Unit Level Action Plan

(2) Temporary Accommodation Health & Safety Checklist

(3) Temporary Accommodation Health & Safety Checklist Marquees on existing sites

(4) Guidance Note For Persons In Control (PIC) Where Temporary Heating is Provided

SAC1 & Risk Assessments:

Completion of the SAC 1 in particular may lead to the requirement to review a number of risk assessments in light of changes being introduced, for example:

  • Yard – Primarily to ensure continued effective vehicle and pedestrian segregation on site.

  • Workplace – To identify and record any other significant risk issue inside the building.

  • First Aid – Some of these sites can be remote and require first aid provision to be made.

  • PPE – Potentially a number of risks at the site in terms of vehicle/pedestrian segregation and with adjacent properties who share the yard.

  • Work Equipment – Normal work equipment may not suit some premises/environments.

  • Fire Risk Assessment including fire evacuation plans – essential.

Royal Mail will also be ensuring the following points have been considered:

  • Site induction training – Everyone will be new to the premises.

  • Statutory Notices in place – See the new Health and Safety notice board standard.

  • Accident reporting procedure – Arrangements in place to allow reporting of accidents and near misses.

  • Heating – RMPFS directive followed for temporary heating.

  • Housekeeping standards – To minimise the risk of slip and trip accidents.

  • Manual handling training – For all the temporary staff.

This set of clear arrangements will help overcome problems experienced in the past with Christmas ‘Outhouses’, ensuring better Health and Safety standards, joint working and problem solving.

Attached are the Royal Mail Opps, Parcelforce Worldwide and Royal Mail International locations of the Christmas Outhouses and additional buildings and Marquee Accommodation being used for the Christmas period 2023.


  • CWU Royal Mail Christmas Operation – Temporary Outhouses Health & Safety Guide for ASRs 2023

  • SAC1 Unit Level Action Plan V2.1 (SHEI 5.3)

  • Change Management Guidance SAC1 (SHEI 5.3) (Appendix1)

  • RMG Xmas 23 Site List for Compliance

  • Peak Property Update Planning Group 200923

  • Temporary Outhouses PFS2_350 V.1 Health & Safety Checklist

  • Marquees on Existing Sites PFS2_355 V.1 Health & Safety Checklist

  • Temporary Heating PFS2_360a V.1 Person In Control Guide

  • Temporary Heating Appliances PFS2_360b V.1 Checklist For Use

  • Royal Mail Group Xmas 23 Site List

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce

National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

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