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LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

02 Aug 2018, 14:20

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

No. 435/2018

1 August 2018

Our Ref: P20/18



Royal Mail Delivery – Musculoskeletal Survey Report

To: All Branches

Dear Colleagues,

A survey of musculoskeletal problems, their impact on work, causes and possible solutions was carried out by Dr Corinne Parsons Royal Mail Group Occupational Health & Ergonomics Manager in 10 delivery offices using questionnaires and focus group sessions. In addition comments were received from several postmen and women as a result of a Courier article.

There were 401 responses to the paper based questionnaire survey from 9 delivery offices; Catford, Dunstable, Ealing, Newport Pagnell, Upper Holloway, Ware, Watford, Willesden and Warrington. Focus group sessions were held at Warrington, Watford and Ampthill delivery offices where feedback was recorded following face to face discussions.

The offices were selected to represent a mix of delivery characteristics and a range of performance for MSD related sick absence.

Questionnaires were distributed and completed during WTLL sessions and almost everyone present completed a questionnaire. The vast majority of respondents were delivery postmen and women (OPGs), there were a small number of drivers, callers’ office staff, managers and DOM supports.

Most participants were male, just under 10% were female.

Ages were from under 24 to over 65 years, with the peak age group 45 – 55 years and a sharp drop off above this level.

There were a comparable number of participants above 55 years as below 35 years.

The most common delivery methods were shared van with a pouch or trolley and HCT walks. 56% of those with a shared van described their duty as a shared van and trolley or shared van with pouch and trolley.

Musculoskeletal Problems

68% of those surveyed reported pain or discomfort affecting their muscles, joints, neck or back, affected work and other regular activities.
77% of these had suffered from this discomfort for more than 3 months.
63% of these individuals said the pain was intermittent.
32% said pain and discomfort was constant.
21% said that they had taken time off due to aches and pains in the past 3 months.
63% said that their aches and pains were caused by work.
47% said that their aches and pain was made worse by work.
35% thought that their aches and pains affected their ability to work a great deal or quite a lot.
43% thought it affected their ability somewhat.
22% thought that they affected their ability to work very little or not at all.
Lower back, feet and knees were the most common areas affected as would be expected from sick absence data and other ergonomics studies. However, almost 40% of participants reported discomfort in their shoulders, and a significant proportion also reported aches and pains in the neck, upper back, ankles, hips, hands and arms.

Tasks contributing to musculoskeletal problems
Walking was the aspect of the work most commonly identified as the cause or contributing factor of musculoskeletal problems. Lifting, carrying pouches, going up and down stairs, standing for long periods of time, getting into and out of vans, stress/pressure and workload where also frequently identified. Carrying heavy bags and not using trolleys as a result of pressure to keep up with colleagues or pressure from management were causes identified. Excessive amounts of overtime and working days off were also considered a problem. Increase in workload was the most common problem identified. Absorption was specifically identified also. Other issues most commonly identified were an increase in the length of the delivery span and pressure/stress, “to get the mail out by any means”. 4.5 hour delivery spans were noted by many individuals as too long. Work schedules described with longer days and 6 day weeks leading to week off after every 4 weeks were considered not to give adequate time for recovery by several participants. Footwear was identified as a problem in 2.1% of responses and during the workshops, better fit and more cushioning was considered necessary. Other issues raised were: Different work patterns, one day off each week not enough, change to a different duty and you are not aware of workloads. Poor working environment and conditions in Offices.

Older workers
The report identifies the impact of work and increasing age and some of the staff felt that they found the work harder than they used to due to wear and tear on their joints. They found the more physical aspects of the job harder e.g. climbing stairs, hills, carrying heavy items and getting into and out of vans. They also said that they felt exhausted all of the time and thought that allowances should be made to work slower as they got older. Others thought that the job had got harder, particularly in relation to the increased delivery span and pressure to increase efficiency and complete and that their abilities had not declined.

Report Conclusions
There was a very high response rate to the survey.

60% of individuals suffered from musculoskeletal problems that they thought were caused or made worse by their work.

The main causes of problems were thought to be the length of the delivery span, workload and pressure/stress. The new delivery methods were positive in reducing the weights carried but the benefit had been offset by longer delivery spans.

The most common changes that individuals had made to reduce their problems included not rushing, using trolleys, taking breaks, wearing their own footwear or insoles and having physio. Changes made to reduce problems to allow return to work included changing the delivery or delivery method, reduced span or indoor working.

The role of the manager was seen as important in helping people back to work. A genuine welcome back with a suitable return to work plan were seen as important by staff and managers.

The 18 page report is attached, giving more details.

The Royal Mail Group Head of Health has formed a National Joint Health Board and three sub-groups looking at Ageing Workforce and Musculoskeletal issues, Mental Health and Health Programmes and Initiatives. All groups have the involvement of the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department and Postal Department.

Yours sincerely



Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

18LTB435 Royal Mail Delivery – Musculoskeletal Survey Report http://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-bdidukd-ztiithhtr-i/

Musculoskeletal survey in delivery http://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-bdidukd-ztiithhtr-d/

View Online http://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-bdidukd-ztiithhtr-h/

LTB438/18 Re: LTB 435/18 Royal Mail Delivery – Musculoskeletal Survey Report

02 Aug 2018, 15:03

LTB438/18 Re: LTB 435/18 Royal Mail Delivery – Musculoskeletal Survey Report

No. 438/2018

2 August 2018

Our Ref: /18



LTB 435/18 Royal Mail Delivery – Musculoskeletal Survey Report

To: All Branches

Dear Colleagues,

Further to LTB 435/18, we are receiving enquiries regarding the status of the Report.

This report is a report based on a survey carried out ‘unilaterally’ by Dr Corinne Parsons, Royal Mail Group Occupational Health & Ergonomics Manager in 10 delivery offices using questionnaires and focus group sessions. In addition comments were received from several postmen and women as a result of a Courier article.

The Report is of great interest and raises a number of health, safety, welfare and ergonomic issues based on information collected directly from front line staff which Royal Mail will need to discuss in detail with the Union and re-assess and address as part of their Health and Safety obligations and duties.

However, the study did not have CWU involvement and the report contents are not agreed or verified at this stage and it will therefore be subject to debate via discussions with the Union through a number of channels as the report touches on a wide range of subject matters which cuts across matters relevant to different departments including Health and Safety, Postal Industrial and Central Services Departments in CWU/HQ.

The report has been published in response to requests from Area and Local Safety Reps who were aware of the study and is for information only at this stage.

Yours sincerely



Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

18LTB438 Re LTB435-18 Royal Mail Delivery – Musculoskeletal Survey Report http://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-bddjktt-ztiitduz-i/

View Online http://emails.cwu.org/t/d-l-bddjktt-ztiitduz-d/

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

02 Aug 2018, 18:07

However, the study did not have CWU involvement........The report has been published in response to requests from Area and Local Safety Reps who were aware of the study and is for information only at this stage.


This is the report that HQ didn't want published and tried to bury....why didn't they want it published?
Well because it flies in the face of the idea that you can protect full-time jobs by constantly increasing delivery spans, Both HQ and Royal Mail want this report to go away quietly but the delivery reps hear these complaints day in and day out. Why does the survey need CWU "involvement for it to be valid? Why isn't the health of our members the most important issue facing the union?

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

02 Aug 2018, 18:10

And perhaps we also do it a disservice burying it in the H&S forum, this is a very important topic for delivery members.

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

02 Aug 2018, 19:03

They will probably try to bury it under the same carpet as the tenement study

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

03 Aug 2018, 11:23

fishtank wrote:And perhaps we also do it a disservice burying it in the H&S forum, this is a very important topic for delivery members.

:thumbup

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

03 Aug 2018, 17:53

fishtank wrote:
However, the study did not have CWU involvement........The report has been published in response to requests from Area and Local Safety Reps who were aware of the study and is for information only at this stage.


This is the report that HQ didn't want published and tried to bury....why didn't they want it published?
Well because it flies in the face of the idea that you can protect full-time jobs by constantly increasing delivery spans, Both HQ and Royal Mail want this report to go away quietly but the delivery reps hear these complaints day in and day out. Why does the survey need CWU "involvement for it to be valid? Why isn't the health of our members the most important issue facing the union?

because those at the top dont give a f**k

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

05 Aug 2018, 09:30

My favourite quote from the Postal Regulations that "those out door workers over the age of 55 should be given help even if they don't ask for it"!
Not the exact quote but something near it.
I'm not sure if postal Regs still apply but I believe that they were meant to "run along side" of the Way Forward Agreement.

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

05 Aug 2018, 13:15

It might be interesting to see what a solicitor would make of the findings as we all get older :hmmmm

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

05 Aug 2018, 15:40

fishtank wrote:And perhaps we also do it a disservice burying it in the H&S forum, this is a very important topic for delivery members.

It makes no odds where it's buried, or where it's swept under, in a year's time nothing will have changed.

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

05 Aug 2018, 19:23

calsae wrote:It might be interesting to see what a solicitor would make of the findings as we all get older :hmmmm


It could be the equivalent to 'Miners White Finger' Millions of pounds were paid out to former workers for a condition which once was seen a part of the job.

It would be good to watch the first Royal Mail workers claims go in. :left:

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

07 Aug 2018, 13:41

calsae wrote:It might be interesting to see what a solicitor would make of the findings as we all get older :hmmmm


Not a lot. :roll:

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

08 Aug 2018, 17:14

Did I miss something or was sod all said about what was going to happen to fix all these issues?

Issues that front line staff have been telling managers and the union ever since we went to a single delivery and time out on delivery shot up to 3.5 a day and people back then noticed issues with feet especially.

Oh and what fuc£ing trollies?

Most ended up in a corner outside in the yard to go rusty never to be used again.

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

13 Aug 2018, 18:08

Went to the docs with sore feet told it was planter fasciitis eventually had to get injections to ease pain. Doctor told me to consider changing jobs because your feet/body is not built for what we do the constant walking,climbing stairs etc

LTB435/18 Royal Mail Delivery - Musculoskeletal Survey Report

18 Aug 2018, 20:19

because those at the top dont give a f**k[/quote]

EXACTA MUNDO !

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