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Winter Weather Stormproof Clothing To Be Issued To Processing Engineers In Royal Mail

Dave Joyce CWU National  Health,  Safety & Environment Officer has issued the following letter to all CWU Branches with regard to PPE/Outdoor Clothing for Processing Engineers undertaking work at remote sites:

The installation of CSS machines in MPUs and DOs plus the RDC Mechanisation programme has resulted in a significant number of off site machines for engineers to cover for the purpose of maintenance routines, breakdowns, modifications and upgrades requiring the attendance of engineers under the 'Business Transformation Agreement'.

In order to provide a maintenance service for these remotely located machines it will involve engineers travelling in Official Vehicles on journeys to remote Units which in some cases will involve a significant round trip.

Click here to go t BBC's weather pagesAs drivers of Official vehicles it will be a necessary duty for engineers to carry out basic pre-use, cursory vehicle checks and servicing on their vehicles (Oil, Water, Air, Fuel, tyres etc) all performed outside in all weathers.

The journeys travelled may also on occasion entail engineers having to leave the vehicle in breakdown or emergency situation should they occur, e.g. in the event of a Emergency Services directions or in Adverse Weather.

In response to a number of enquiries from Engineering Reps and Branches the matter was raised with Royal Mail HQ and a formal request was lodged in respect that Royal Mail should ensure that Engineers are provided with suitable PPE/Outdoor clothing, commensurate to their new extended duties and in compliance with the PPE Regulations 1992.

It was requested that the said Clothing should be 'Winter weather', Stormproof clothing to protect against low temperatures with a good thermal value and be appropriately classed High Visibility clothing. It was pointed out to Royal Mail that both the Police and Highways Agency are strongly advising that amongst other things Drivers should take with them Warm Clothing with a good thermal value during the current severe weather.  

Local suggestions had been made to Reps that Engineers should share one set of clothing. This was rightly rejected for obvious reasons and is outside the PPE Regulations.

Royal Mail's Chief Engineer has now responded to the issues raised on the policy covering outdoor PPE
for engineers as follows;

Those engineers who work in more than one facility and therefore need to travel between locations or work outside should be provided with the appropriate outdoor wear. This should be an outdoor coat of the types listed below.
For those engineers who work within a single facility then the need is less difficult to justify unless a specific risk assessment states the requirement. Also given the extremes of weather that we are experiencing across the UK at the moment, Royal Mail should ensure that the safety of Engineers is guaranteed and thus would expect the appropriate clothing to be provided.

It is essential that the local management teams make the call on who requires which elements of uniform over and above base PPE, and ensure that clothing / uniforms are provided promptly. I am not sure how wide spread this issue is but please act quickly to understand and resolve in your areas. Bob Webb will be re-issuing the standards and requirements to the uniform administrators to assist your requests. This will extend the Mail Centre Engineers entitlement with Dimensions to Stormproof Coat (Hi-Vis Class 3), Hi-vis Jacket Class 2 and Fleece. The Fleece and the Stormproof coat will be limited to Mail Centre Engineers who attend remote sites (eg RDC’s and CSS support in DO’s).

The Health, Safety and Environment Department will keep this under review and welcome feedback as remote working develops and increases.

Source: CWU LTB1144/10

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