Dangerous dogs awareness push for school summer holidays
18th July 2012
Over 3,100 attacks took place between April 2011 and April 2012. The number of attacks has fallen by 14 per cent nationally since 2010, but it still remains unacceptably high. Postmen and women face increased danger during school holidays when parents and children are at home with dogs sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden or out onto the streets without restraints. These attacks usually increase during the prolonged summer school holidays.
CWU and Royal Mail are asking customers to keep their pets under control and are issuing top tips (see below) in an attempt to reduce the number of dog attacks. Our main aim is to always prevent attacks. We are committed to working with customers to agree simple steps to ensure we can deliver the mail safely.
Dave Joyce, CWU National; Health and Safety Officer said: "The age old image of the dog attacking the postman is not a laughing matter. Thousands of our members are bitten every year and hundreds suffer debilitating injuries every year which leave them with physical and psychological scarring, some with life changing disabilities and all in the course of doing their job.
"There are so many things that dog owners can do to reduce the likelihood of an attack taking place so we strongly urge all dog owners to look at these top tips. Prevention is always better than the cure when it comes to dog attacks so we hope that all dog owners will take a moment to check where their pet is, especially over the summer holidays when attacks increase."
Keeping postal workers safe
Regular communications with staff about the dangers of dog attacks and advice on techniques to minimise harm in the event of an attack are helping. These include:
- 90,000 posting pegs have been issued by the company; these devices helps postmen and women put letters through the letter box whilst protecting their fingers
- In the autumn, Royal Mail will be trialling customer leaflets in raising customer awareness to the risks of dog attacks in Central Reading, Huddersfield, Lymington, Morpeth, North Tyneside and Truro.
- Donald Brydon, Chairman of Royal Mail Group launched an independent inquiry into dog attacks on postal workers led by Sir Gordon Langley, with the objective of making recommendations to address them.
Ian Stockdale, Head of Health and Safety Management for Royal Mail said: "Clearly most dogs are not inherently dangerous, however, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is being threatened.
"We would like to express our thanks to our customers for working with us to help reduce the number of attacks by 14 per cent since 2010, now we want to reduce this number further as there are still too many attacks taking place.
"Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers and we regularly provide advice to our people to help minimise the risk of an attack and have spent over £100,000 on awareness campaigns and equipment to help reduce the risk of injury. However, even just being threatened by an unrestrained pet is a frightening situation for our delivery staff and we would appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature."
Top Tips for Dog Owners
Even the most lovable dog can be a danger to postal staff. Dogs are territorial by nature and if they feel they need to protect their family, they can become unpredictable.
Here are some ideas to help your postman deliver your post in safety:
- Please keep your dog indoors around the time that the postman (or any other lawful visitor) usually calls to deliver mail.
- Dog attacks can happen when you've opened the door to sign for an item. Please keep your dog in another room before answering the door and make sure children don't open the door, as dogs can push by them and attack.
- If you have a back garden, please close off the access, in case your dog could get round to the front when the postman calls.
- If your dog likes to attack your mail consider installing a cage. It will protect your post, and your postman's fingers
- If it's not practical for you to keep your dog away from a postman delivering your mail, please consider fitting a secure mailbox on the edge of your property.
FInd out more about the CWU's Bite Back campaign.