Royal Mail & BT/Openreach preparing for H&S Week 2018

Health & Safety

CWU safety reps at workplaces all across the country will be carrying out thorough checks later this month, with a focus on awareness-raising, risk assessment and accident prevention.

Wednesday October 24th has been chosen as the official TUC National Inspection Day, as it falls right in the middle of 2018 European Health and Safety Week – and this year, as usual, our union will be playing its full part in highlighting the need for a safe workforce for all.

At the two companies where the vast majority of our members work, operational and safety managers will be fully supporting CWU safety reps in a wide range of joint activities, which will include work-time learning sessions, posters and leaflets and key messages to the workforce.

The headline theme of this year’s European H&S Week is – Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances – something  which affects many workers in the UK and all around Europe.

“In recent decades many hazardous substances, such as asbestos, have been banned, restricted or subjected to strict regulatory control,” explains our national health, safety and environment officer Dave Joyce, “however, dangerous substances continue to be a major safety and health issue in some workplaces.”

From Monday 22nd through to Friday 26th, the aim will be to raise awareness of the risks posed by dangerous substances in the workplace, to promote a culture of risk prevention to eliminate and, where that is not possible, to effectively and safely manage these risks.

At UK workplaces in 2017/18
137 deaths

621,000 injuries

0.5 million workers were suffering work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

0.5 million workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

30.4 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.


12,000 lung disease deaths were estimated to be linked to past work exposures

2,515 Mesothelioma deaths were due to past asbestos exposures.

 “Royal Mail Group and BT Group/Openreach have endorsed and are fully supporting National Inspection Day and European H&S Week and we’reencouraging CWU Safety Reps to specifically prioritise inspections at higher risk workplaces, areas or functions or specific jobs and consider whether the workplace is healthy and safe for all,” Dave pointed out.

“Safety Rep workplace health and safety inspections don’t just have to focus on the tangible hard hazards such as slip and trip risks, fire risks, and work stations,” our national health and safety officer continued, suggesting that the spot checks can also focus on intangible hazards and solutions that do not have a physical presence, including shift work, job rotation, specific tasks, working environment and flexible working.

“So our message is, please play your full part in Health and Safety Week and remember, workplaces with active safety reps are twice as safe as those without.”

Key dates:

  • European Health and Safety Week 22-28 October 2018.
  • National Inspection Day Wednesday 24 October 2018.


Campaign objectives:

  • Target groups of workers with specific needs and functions with higher levels of risk
  • Raise awareness of risk
  • Promote risk assessment
  • Increase knowledge of the legislative framework 

For further information, please contact your branch or area health and safety rep or read further details here: (LTBs 503 and 550)