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Safety Flash (FY21 007) – Parcel Sorting Machine (PSM) Tipper Area – Fall Accident

No. 186/2021

7 May 2021

Our Ref: C38/21

To: All Branches

Dear Colleagues,

Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash (FY21 007) – Parcel Sorting Machine (PSM) Tipper Area – Fall Accident:


All Royal Mail PSM Site Processing Staff.

Overview and Background:

Royal Mail Group Safety Health and Environment Group have issued ‘Safety Flash’, number FY21 007, (copy attached), which gives a summary of a recent fall accident which resulted in significant injuries. The ‘Safety Flash’ is to form the basis of a Unit Briefing to ALL PSM SITE PROCESSING STAFF operating ‘Parcel Sorting Machines’, in order to raise awareness of the potential risk of similar accidents involving falls from height whilst working unsafely and attempting to remove objects from the PSM Tipper Area.


The Safe System of Work (SSoW) was not followed by the staff member concerned who was attempting to remove a York container cardboard sleeve base from the PSM Tipper/Conveyor Area, after the base had fallen into the machine along with the parcels from the York, as it was being tipped by the Automated Tipper.

Description of the Incident:

A PSM Operator was tipping loaded York containers into the PSM machine when an unsecured cardboard sleeve base fell into the machine along with the York container’s parcel load. Cardboard sleeve bases will cause the machine to stop if they travel along the conveyor.

At the PSM Mail Centre concerned, staff had developed a habit, in breach of the ‘mandatory’ Safe System of Work, whereby they would use either an unofficial set of steps or an up-turned stack of Perstop Trays to climb up, gain access to the moving machine and reach across the safety barrier to remove the cardboard base from the conveyor.

On this occasion the PSM operator lost balance and fell, sustaining serious injuries.

Impact and Effect:

Significant injuries sustained.

Key Learning Points, Management Activities and Messages to Staff:

  • Communicate and display this SHE Flash on the SHE Noticeboard.

  • Brief all PSM staff on this SHE Flash, alerting them to risk and the accident and its cause.

  • PSM staff to follow the mandatory PSM SSoW at all times.

  • Do not climb in order to reach over the metal safety barriers in order to access a moving machine.

  • Check the PSM work area for unofficial access equipment (steps and up-turned tray stacks) removing them.

  • Brief PSM Staff that before tipping cardboard sleeved York containers – check the base retaining lugs have been pushed inwards on each corner. This will ensure that the base will not ‘fall out’ when tipped.

Key Management Activity:

  • Communicate and display the SHE Safety Flash on the SHE Notice board.

  • Brief all PSM staff on the correct SSoW safety procedure to be followed at all times including how to deal with York container cardboard sleeves and bases and how to avoid tipping the bases into PSMs – pushing in the ‘base retaining lugs’ before tipping the York container.

  • Importantly convey the message that staff must never attempt to access a moving machine incorrectly or use unofficial access equipment as serious injury can result.


  • Copy of RMG SHE Safety Flash FY21 007 – Parcel Sorting Machine (PSM) Tipper Area – Fall Accident:

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

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