Royal Mail has announced a 31% drop in dog attacks on its postmen and postwomen during the 2020/21 year, driven largely by the move to contact free deliveries during the pandemic.
There were 1,690 dog attacks reported last year, compared to 2,445 in 2019/20. Despite the drop, the number of attacks on postal workers still remains too high. In the last year, 33 attacks took place every week across the UK, with some leading to permanent and disabling injuries.
During the pandemic, Royal Mail was the first company to launch contact-free delivery enabling its colleagues to deliver mail and parcels at the doorstep while adhering to social distancing measures. Under the revised process, colleagues place larger parcels on the doorstep, then step aside to a safe distance while the customer retrieves their item.
Renewed Calls For Dog Owners To Take More Responsibility
As Royal Mail launches its ninth successive Dog Awareness Week, the company is appealing to dog owners to ensure they understand the often devastating impact of dog attacks on postmen and postwomen and take proper measures to ensure their pets pose no threat to postal workers through responsible dog ownership.
Despite the introduction of a new delivery process, the majority of dog attacks at 41% (690) still took place at the front door. A further 31% of dog attacks (520) took place in the garden, driveway, or yard. Over 20% of attacks on postal workers (340) took place through the letterbox. And 8% of attacks (130) took place in the street or road.
Dog attacks on Royal Mail colleagues resulted in more than 900 days of absence in 2020/21 with the longest period of absence being 127 days. Royal Mail knows that dogs are not inherently dangerous. But, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels either it or its territory is being threatened. Royal Mail is committed to ensuring the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers across the length and breadth of the UK and in every community.
“We are pleased to see such a significant decrease in dog attacks on our staff this past year. However, 33 dog attacks per week on postal workers is still alarmingly high. We are aware that a change in our delivery procedures was the main factor for the reduction in attacks this year. So, we are asking our customers – and our colleagues – not to become complacent as there is still much work to do in bringing the figure down even further. The safety of our people is of paramount importance as they work hard to keep the UK connected.”Dr Shaun Davis, Global Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability, Royal Mail Group
”CWU National Health and Safety Officer Dave Joyce, said: “Dog attacks remain a major safety hazard and concern for postmen and postwomen across the UK and the scale of the problem shouldn’t be underestimated. 33,000 postmen and postwomen have been attacked by dogs in last decade. Over 80% at the front door, garden path or drive. 1000 dog bites through the letterbox in the last five years – many seriously injured and some losing fingers.
On average, 33 postal workers are attacked every week last year alone. There has been a huge increase in dogs purchased by new owners, during the pandemic. This may add to postal workers’ problems as recent research tells us that many of these dogs haven’t been trained or socialised. The key objectives of Dog Awareness Week are firstly to remind the public to be aware of their legal and moral responsibilities to control their dogs and help prevent dog attacks on postal workers who have been heroes working through the pandemic as key workers. And secondly, a message to our postmen and postwomen to be vigilant, keep safe and take no risks.”Dave Joyce, National Health and Safety Officer, Communication Workers Union
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