Royal Mail Group plc Vehicle Services
- No. of employees: 1500 in vehicle services
- Business sector: Public sector
- Business activities: Maintaining Royal Mail’s fleet of 30,000 vehicles
- Stakeholders: Employees, managers, Royal Mail Group, customers and Government
- Location: UK-wide
When Royal Mail Group formed Vehicle Services in 1997 it recognised that its principal challenge was to develop effective safety management processes. Vehicle Services is the vehicle management division of Royal Mail Group. Formed in 1997, it has implemented a comprehensive health and safety management system. This has improved employee health and safety, reduced accidents amongst the 1500 staff, reduced days lost and assisted with civil claims management.
What did the company do?
- Health and safety management system –based on HSE’s ‘Successful Health and Safety Management’ (HSG65)
- Health and safety plan – the annual health and safety plan is an essential link between Vehicle Services safety and business aims
- Annual audits – yearly audits at each Vehicle Services site include elements of health and safety performance
- Proactive role for safety advisors – they have a ‘case management’ role. Following an accident the advisor investigates the accident, identifies remedial actions and monitors their completion
- Health and safety manager as instructing client – for all civil claims arising from accidents at work the health and safety manager co-ordinates Vehicle Services response. With the new management procedures he can refer to risk assessments, safe systems of work, safety instructions and training records which assist in evaluating a claim
- 40% reduction in days lost per employee through accidents and ill health
- Reduction in days lost over five years equivalent to around £700,000 savings
- 50% reduction in the yearly number of civil claims from around 25–30 per year, to 17 in 2002
- A tried and tested health and safety management model that will be rolled out into Royal Mail’s Logistics division
‘Employee safety is paramount: improved safety is key to increased effectiveness and cost control’
Phil O’Gorman, Director, Vehicle Services
‘Vehicle Services can be proud of its improvement in health and safety performance; a 40% reduction in RIDDOR accidents over five years should not be underestimated.’
Melvyn Hodgetts, Health and Safety Manager, Vehicle Services
Health and safety benefits
- 40% reduction in reportable injuries per 1000 employees since Vehicle Services was formed
- More than 30% reduction in ‘all accidents’ per 1000 employees since 1997
- More effective accident investigation, monitoring of safety improvements as a result of investigations, and better records
- Better audit data enabling benchmarking and continuous improvements
Total running costs of the management system are around £160,000 year, based on the annual cost of two safety advisors (direct and indirect costs) plus the initial cost of developing management systems.
Annual savings from fewer days lost, compensation fewer claims, reduced legal costs and less administration on civil cases come to around £370,000.
All members of the Vehicle Services Board were enthusiastic that the initiative would protect employee’s health and safety, and reduce the losses to Vehicle Services that resulted from unacceptable levels of workplace accidents. The board believes the health and safety management system is an efficient and cost effective way to do this.
The Communication workers Union (CWU) has supported the implementation of the new management arrangements as it has seen improvements to overall safety at work.