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(SHE) Safety Flash (FY21 010) – Yard Safety – Reversing Tractor Unit and Trailer – Serious Injuries

No. 349/2021

20 August 2021

Our Ref: V4/21

To: All Branches

Dear Colleagues,

Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash (FY21 010) – Yard Safety – Reversing Tractor Unit and Trailer – Serious Injuries Accident:

(Also see RMG SHE Safety Flash FY20 012 – ‘Use of walkways in Yards’)


All Royal Mail Group drivers who drive and operate HGVs, tractor units and trailers. All employees who access a yard.

Overview and Background:

Royal Mail Group Safety Health and Environment Group have issued ‘Safety Flash’, number FY21 010, (copy attached), which gives a summary of a recent RIDDOR serious injury accident, involving bone fractures. The SHE ‘Safety Flash’ is to form the basis of a Unit Briefing/Communication to ALL ROYAL MAIL DRIVERS operating large vehicles and all staff who access yards, in order to raise awareness of the potential risk of similar incidents which could cause a serious injury accident or death.


The ‘mandatory’ yard safety rules were not followed by the injured agency driver concerned.

Description of the Incident:

The incident occurred at a Royal Mail Distribution Centre site when an agency driver reversed a motive/tractor unit and trailer onto a loading bay, then exited the cab of his vehicle and then stood in the adjacent loading bay area, in the path of another reversing tractor unit and trailer with his back to the oncoming vehicle, beyond the sight of the driver, whereby he was struck and run over by the trailer. The injured driver should not have dwelt in the loading bay area and should have moved to a safe pedestrian walkway area after exiting his cab.

Impact and Effect:

Injuries from reversing LGV motive units and trailers can result in life-changing or fatal injuries and can expose Royal Mail and drivers to enforcement action/prosecution by the HSE.

Key Management Activities, Messages to Staff Learning Points:

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

  • Ensure yard safety controls are implemented, and safe behaviours enforced and promoted.

  • Ensure a suitable and sufficient Yard Risk Assessment is completed and in place.

  • Ensure the Yard Rules are in place, effective and communicated and briefed to all relevant drivers and staff including agency staff.

  • Consider how rules and instructions are communicated to visiting drivers.

  • Ensure pedestrian routes and designated areas are clearly identified.

  • Ensure all staff are trained in yard safety (see Content on Demand).

  • Complete First-Class Safety Conversations (SMATs) to promote good behaviours.


  • Copy of RMG SHE Safety Flash FY21 010 – Yard Risks and Safety.

Conclusion – ASR Action

Would all CWU Area Health and Safety Reps please note and communicate the content of the Safety Flash, supporting the key messages, and reminding members of the importance of looking after their own safety when in yards where there is vehicle traffic which presents hazards and risks.

By law, pedestrians or vehicles must be able to use a traffic route without causing danger to the health or safety of people. However, no matter how well-designed and maintained a site is with suitable segregation of vehicles and people through separate pedestrian and vehicle traffic routes, in order to make workplace transport accidents less likely – it is only effective if the workforce complies with the rules and doesn’t ignore designated pedestrian routes, thoughtlessly placing themselves in mortal danger.

Health and Safety Executive workplace transport safety guidance states that where complete segregation is not possible, there is a need to have clearly marked pedestrian and vehicle traffic routes, using measures such as barriers and signs.

There should be separate entrances and exits for vehicles and pedestrians, and vision panels should be installed on doors that open onto vehicle traffic routes. Where pedestrian and vehicle traffic routes cross, they should be clearly marked using measures such as dropped kerbs, barriers, deterrent paving etc., to help direct pedestrians to the appropriate crossing points.

Yours sincerely

Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

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