Friday, 29 March 2019

Postal Workers Win Fight for Letterbox Height Change



Perhaps the position of the letterbox isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when designing a door.

But for the UK’s postal workers, letterbox height is of huge importance – as openings positioned at the bottom of doors can cause serious physical problems, due to the back strain caused by repeatedly bending down to deliver mail. In fact, back injury is the primary cause of sickness in the Royal Mail, which recorded nearly 17,000 back-related absences last year alone.

Low-level letterboxes also present a security risk, as it’s possible for thieves to reach in and steal letters and packets that are sitting close to the opening. ‎

Both the Royal Mail and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) - which represents UK postal workers – have been campaigning to have minimum letterbox height guidelines enshrined in law.

The Irish government set a precedent for such a move back in 2001, when – after sustained pressure from postal workers and many injury claims - it outlawed the use of low-level letter boxes in the front doors of all new homes.

And it looks like the UK will soon follow suit.

After concerted lobbying of MPs, government ministers, local authorities and developers, the issue rose to parliamentary prominence in January when a Private Members Ten Minute Rule Bill - sponsored by the CWU and Royal Mail - was presented to the House of Commons. This received the support of all parties.

As a result, the Building Regulations Advisory Committee, which advises the Secretary of State on building regulations, has formally endorsed the call for change and will include the issue within the formal review of UK Building Regulations later this year. This means that a minimum letterbox height for new doors will soon become law. 

CWU National Health and Safety Officer Dave Joyce is delighted with the news, saying that:
“The Government has this target of a million new homes to be completed by the end of 2020 and large developments with Low Level Letter Boxes are a nightmare for postal workers. The Union has had to tackle the problem by challenging builders piecemeal when they install low level letterboxes in big numbers without the force of law behind us and this news couldn’t have come at a better time.”





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