17 November 2022
Our Ref: C38/22
To: All Branches
Solystic PSM Accident – Operator’s Loose Clothing Trapped in Conveyor – ‘Precautionary Safety Measure (Removal of Induct Workstation Chairs) – PSM Safety Modification Update:
This is an update to Branches further to LTB 364/22 issued on 12 September 2022.
As you’ll be aware, the PSM manufacturer ‘Solystic’ of France and Royal Mail have been investigating an incident in which a PSM Induct Station operator’s clothing (sleeve) became trapped and his arm drawn into the moving conveyor at Romford MC on 17 August 2022, leading to the emergency stop being activated by a nearby manager and thus avoiding serious injury.
A Briefing Instruction was cascaded to all plant managers in light of the incident and a review of the incident was initiated with PSM manufacturer Solystic to jointly examine options for mitigating the ‘nip’ risk which occurs if staff reach across the conveyor or lean into the conveyor belt area.
Royal Mail removed all chairs at the Induct Work Stations as a precautionary measure, to reduce the risk of further safety incidents involving the gap between the end of the dispatch belt and the Induct Station and thus ensure operator safety.
This was because the initial investigation found that the seating was a contributory factor when operators inadvertently rested their arm against the gap at the end of the dispatch conveyor as they leaned across. The removal of chairs was a temporary measure whilst a permanent solution was investigated and established with the machine manufacturer Solystic.
Managers were instructed to brief all PSM operators, reminding operators that they should not lean on, or touch the induct belt whilst it is stationary or moving, as this may result in a nip incident. They were also reminded of the safety standards which need to be followed when working on the Induct Station and the Safe Working Instruction was updated to conform to the new Standard Operating Practice.
Royal Mail have reported to the RM/CWU National Joint PSM Safety Forum that the machine manufacturer ‘Solystic’ have now produced, tested and finalised a roller bed design change modification in their factory which they report removes the ‘nip’ risk.
A modification kit will arrive from ‘Solystic’ this week and will be fitted to the NWMMC (Wolverhampton Mail Centre) PSM for final live testing and monitoring over a number of shifts. If successful ‘Solystic’ will produce enough modification kits for all Royal Mail ‘Solystics’ PSMs and they will be installed on all PSMs across Royal Mail nationally.
Once the modifications are installed, the operators’ chairs will be re-introduced to the Induct Workstations.
A further update will follow in due course.
Dave JoyceNational Health, Safety & Environment Officer