20 September 2022
Our Ref: C38/22
To: All Branches
Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 018 – Parcel Sorting Machines (PSMs) – Unauthorised Access To Engineering Restricted Machinery Areas – Interfering With and Disabling Processing Safety Controls – Risk of Serious Injury From Powered Conveyors:
Background and Description
Royal Mail Group’s Safety Team have issued RMG SHE Safety Flash FY22 018 following a series incidents in different Mail Centres with PSM machines where, despite ‘mandatory’ safety rules regarding secured, restricted, high risk, engineering machinery/powered conveyor areas, for authorised personnel only, managers, operational staff and contractors have accessed restricted areas by entering without permission, climbing over locked safety gates designed to prevent such access and cutting off padlocks and chains to gain access or retrieve parcels or trays from moving machines or chutes – thereby dangerously breaching and bypassing ‘mandatory’ safety rules, safety controls, safe systems of work and safe working methods etc., designed to keep the workforce safe from serious harm.
Powered conveyors can cause serious injury – RMG has safety controls in place that restrict access to high-risk conveyor areas, (e.g., areas behind locked and sign-posted gates for trained, equipped and authorised engineering staff access only) plus procedures and systems are in place which isolate and lock off the PSM machines to prevent them restarting whilst being worked on. These are essential measures to be in place before safe access can be made.
Accessing a running machine risks entanglement with the moving machine parts and serious injury or death. These reckless, unsafe acts risk serious injury and recent incidents in two Mail Centres are under investigation due to the seriousness of what occurred.
Key Messages and Learning Points
Managers, staff and contractors must never access a restricted (Authorised Personnel Only) area unless they’re an approved, trained, qualified and authorised person.
Machines must be correctly stopped (and isolated) to prevent them restarting. Otherwise accessing and reaching into a moving machine is extremely dangerous and can cause injury or death.
Without proper isolation, the machine can re-start without warning.
Always follow the Machine Safe System of Work/Safe Working Instructions.
Never take short cuts and stick to the rules at all times.
PiC/MCMs/Engineering Managers Actions:
Issue the attached ‘Safety Flash’ to all staff who work with powered conveyors, ensuring the message is briefed to all staff and that it is clearly understood.
Ensure all employees know that they must follow the SSOWs at all times.
Review to ensure that keys (or codes) to access such areas are securely held – otherwise change them!
Ensure that causes of jams are reviewed to continuously reduce avoidable machine stops.
MC Managers to incorporate the above learning points in their ‘First Class Safety Conversations.’
CWU ASR/WSR Action:
Please ensure that this Safety Flash and PSM SSoW/SWI are communicated to all members and managers.
Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 018 – Parcel Sorting Machines (PSMs) – Unauthorised Access To Engineering Restricted Machinery Areas – Interfering With and Disabling Processing Safety Controls – Risk of Serious Injury From Powered Conveyors.
Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer