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LTB 325/23 - Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY23 017 – ‘E-Bikes and E-Scooters –

No. 325/2023

Our Ref:  V4/23 


To:  All Branches


Dear Colleagues,


Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY23 017 – ‘E-Bikes and E-Scooters – Storage and Charging on Royal Mail/Parcelforce Premises’:


Introduction:

Royal Mail Group’s Safety Team have issued ‘RMG SHE Safety Flash FY23 017’ which in effect does two things:

  • Bans the parking/storage of private, personal e-cycles and e-scooters indoors on all Royal Mail sites due to the risk of fire.

  • Bans the charging of private, personal e-cycle and e-scooter batteries on all Royal Mail sites due to the risk of fire.

Background:

Electric bicycles and electric scooters, or e-bikes and e-scooters, are now more popular than ever. Over the past few years the UK’s cycle retailers have seen a huge growth in sales and ownership. These devices give riders a low-cost and environmentally friendly way of getting around. But, unknown to many users, the batteries that power e-bikes and e-scooters have also been known to catch on fire and cause explosions, hence the reason behind the issuing of this Safety Flash.


Electric bike sales have continued to be on the rise with around 50,000 – 60,000 sold each year in the UK compared to overall UK bike sales of over 3 million, and the evidence points towards serious growth over the next 30 years.


Electric Scooter sales have likewise continued to rapidly rise. Sales of these ‘illicit’ micromobility devices are also booming. An estimated 1 million private e-scooters are now in use on the UK’s roads, zipping along bike lanes, weaving in and out of traffic and sometimes terrorising pedestrians on the pavement despite them being illegal on UK public roads.


Media coverage and reports from the Fire Service and Police have raised awareness of the fire risk when charging lithium batteries for these electric cycles and scooters. Powered by ‘Lithium-ion’ batteries, if not used correctly, damaged or defective, over-charged, charged with faulty or the wrong charging equipment etc., these batteries can overheat, catch fire or explode. The fires give off toxic gases and burn extremely hot. Whether e-bikes or e-scooters are used as a way of commuting, getting around or just for fun, there are important safety tips to keep in mind when charging or storing these devices.


Description – The Fire Risk Danger:

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) report that fires involving lithium batteries do happen with some regularity and are the fastest growing fire risk in London. So far in 2023 the LFB have been called to, on average, an e-bike or e-scooter fire once every two days. In 2022, they attended 87 e-bike and 29 e-scooter fires, a total of 116 fires. These lithium batteries can start incredibly ferocious fires which can spread quickly and get out of control within minutes, causing a large fire. The fires have led to deaths and many injuries.


In 2021, Transport for London (TfL) banned e-scooters from London’s transport network. This is due to a number of fires on the network involving these scooters. This means people are unable to take their electric personal scooters/bikes on any TfL service; buses, trains, trams, light railway etc.


Impact/Injuries:

Lithium battery fires have led to deaths and many injuries.


Police Action – E-Scooter Prosecutions:


Man Pays Hefty £836 Fine And Costs For Illegally Riding An Electric Scooter In Cardiff Last Year


A Cardiff Magistrates Court found Kasim Abdul Gehlan, guilty of contravening the Road Traffic Act by taking an e-scooter ride on Penlan Road last year. It is only legal to ride an e-scooter in the UK either on private land or as part of a share/rental scheme approved by the local authority. Mr. Gehlan broke the law and was driving without insurance. He was also found guilty of riding the vehicle without due care and attention and failing to stop when a police constable asked him to do so. Mr. Gehlan has been fined £660 plus £176 costs and surcharges. He also received eight points on his driving license and the e-scooter was confiscated and destroyed.


Man Gets £1,000 Fine And Six Points On His License After Borrowing Son’s E-Scooter Because He Was Running Late

James Bladen was stopped by Police after borrowing his teenage son’s e-scooter to get to a doctor’s appointment and said he had “no idea” it was illegal to ride an e-scooter anywhere but on private land. After appearing in court he was given a £1,000 fine, £56 surcharge as well as six points on his driving licence. His son’s £400 e-scooter was confiscated and destroyed.


Man Who Drove £500 Electric Scooter Without Insurance Fined By Magistrates

George Seed admitted using an e-scooter on a road without third-party insurance when he appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court.  Magistrates heard from the prosecution that Seed committed the offence in Pershore, on the B4084 River Bridge, and was stopped by an officer who spotted him.  Seed pleaded guilty and was fined £467 including costs and six penalty points were added to his licence. George Seed’s £500 e-scooter was crushed by the Police because it wasn’t road legal.


Key Messages:

Cycling to work is a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transport but the message from Royal Mail Group is that e-bikes must be stored outside in a designated cycle storage area and not charged on Royal Mail Group (Royal Mail, Parcelforce, RMSS, RMP&FS etc.,) sites in order to reduce the risk of fires. This also applies to e-scooters. Royal Mail Group are also reminding employees that it is illegal to ride personal e-scooters on public roads, pavements, or cycle lanes.


Actions:

PiCs/Managers must ensure that e-bikes or e-scooters are stored outside in a designated storage area which has been risk-assessed.


PiCs/Managers will inform the workforce that the charging of e-bike or e-scooter batteries on Royal Mail premises is prohibited.


CWU ASR/WSR Action:

  • ASRs/WSRs please ensure that this Safety Flash is communicated and brought to the attention of all appropriate delivery members in Royal Mail and Parcelforce and all parts of RMG.

  • ASRs/WSRs to spot-check that the SHE Flash actions are deployed by PiCs/Managers.

  • ASRs to check compliance with this matter during Workplace Safety Inspections and ensure delivery members are briefed.

Attachments:

  • Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY23 017 – ‘E-Bikes and E-Scooters – Storage and Charging on Royal Mail/Parcelforce Premises’.

  • Electric Scooters and the Law – Fact Sheet.

  • Electric Bikes: Licensing, Tax and Insurance – Fact Sheet.


Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce

National Health, Safety & Environment Officer





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