14 March 2022
Our Ref: C1/22
To: All Branches
Royal Mail Group (RMG) – Contractors Health, Safety & Environmental Guide
Following discussions and consultation with Royal Mail Property and Facilities Solutions (RMP&FS), a new RMG Contractor Health, Safety and Environment Guide has been produced and published W/C 7 March which has been distributed throughout Royal Mail Group (Royal Mail, Parcelforce, RM SHE, RMP&FS, RM Engineering, RM Fleet, RMSS, RMCE etc.) via various communication channels.
This is an important publication providing concise, brief but comprehensive and important guidance to help ensure the safety of Royal Mail Group workers and the contractors’ workers whilst contractors are working on Royal Mail Group sites, in and around the operation and staff.
The Health, Safety & Environment Department has had to deal with a number of complaints in the past where contractors have failed to follow site rules and safe working methods whilst on Royal Mail, and Parcelforce sites and this new guidance communicates a clear message and instructions to all concerned about what is required of contractors and what PiCs, managers and Union Reps need to do in the event of health, safety or environmental issues arising.
Any company, as with RMG, engaging contractors has legal health and safety responsibilities, both for the contractors and anyone else that could be affected by their activities. The contractors themselves also have legal health and safety responsibilities they must comply with. It’s important for the PiCs (Persons in Charge) of RMG offices and sites to ensure that everyone understands the part they need to play in ensuring and complying with health and safety.
Use of contractors in itself does not result in poor health and safety standards, but poor management and poor compliance with safe working methods can lead to dangerous occurrences, accidents, injuries, ill health, plus damage, costs and delays. Working closely with contractors will reduce the risks to Royal Mail employees and the contractors themselves.
It’s always important to remember that contractors may be at particular risk – they may be strangers to the workplace and therefore unfamiliar with Royal Mail Group’s organisation and procedures, rules, hazards and risks. Even regular contractors may need reminding. The level of control needed will, of course, be proportionate to the complexity of the tasks and work being undertaken, especially if high numbers of contractors come on-site to complete work over a period of time.
PiCs and Managers:
Need to ensure the contractors have a site induction before beginning work on site.
Need to obtain the contractor’s health and safety plans.
Need to tell the contractors about any specific risks within the workplace, e.g. the location of asbestos containing materials, remembering that some of the risks in the workplace may not be obvious to the contractors.
Need to share work method statements or safe systems of work.
Need to tell employees and contractors about the risks, and make sure that the contractors provide information about any additional risks they will be introducing to the site whilst they are present.
Need to communicate, co-ordinate and co-operate so that employees and contractors know what is expected of them and when, and everyone understands their individual roles.
Need to be clear about the work expected by the contractors and standards of competence.
Need to demonstrate the importance Royal Mail Group places on health and safety.
Need to ensure short cuts are not taken.
Need to ensure a pre-start meeting is held in order to ensure co-ordination and communication, pre-start planning, preparation and consultation with all stakeholders and CWU Reps takes place.
Need to hold regular joint progress meetings involving CWU Reps and raise health and safety issues as they occur.
Need to address health and safety failings by engaging directly with the contractors.
Need to monitor the contractor’s health and safety performance.
Need to include contractors’ activities in all safety inspections and checks.
Need to ‘stop the work’ if there are serious health and safety concerns.
Need to jointly investigate and address the root cause of any incidents, feeding back results of the investigation and remedial action to everyone involved. All workers should have clear lines of communication to report concerns.
The New RMG Contractors Health, Safety & Environmental Guide.
A copy of the new guide is attached for the ASRs and WSR to use as an important information and quick reference tool when contractors are coming on site to undertake any works either planned or reactive.
Subjects covered are:
Arrival on site
Safe working requirements
CDM and Construction Work
Permit To Work
Roof Work – Work at Height
Incidents or Accidents
Where to report any issues related to contractors or engineers which is the RMP&FS National Service Centre on: 0333 005 0312.
All accidents, injuries, environmental incidents or dangerous occurrences are to be reported via ERICA, in addition to the National Service Centre.
Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer