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Royal Mail Forces Postmen to wear Helmets

An offer of support to Britain’s largest cycling workforce from the national cyclists’ organisation

    "We posties need a voice with clout. Let me, as a ground roots postie, tell how this was introduced. I know of no postie who was asked by the union or Royal Mail if they wanted helmets. We were not consulted … we were told it was compulsory to wear them or we would be disciplined under Royal Mail's Code of Conduct i.e. wear them or risk losing your job. We were also told that managers would be checking on their patrols to see if we were wearing them. We were never given our legal right to choose."

Dear postal worker

    Many of you have contacted us lately about Royal Mail’s new rules requiring all staff to wear helmets when cycling for work. At a time of growing pressure from several sources to make all cyclists wear helmets, CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, wishes to offer whatever support we can to the UK’s largest cycling workforce, who are already facing this threat head-on. One worker has already been sacked for not wearing a helmet, despite medical evidence that this would cause problems.

    The reasons why Royal Mail (RM) and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) backed the new rules may have been well-intentioned, but we also believe they were deeply misguided. We would stress that CTC is not "anti-helmet" – we support people’s right to choose either way, based on reliable, balanced evidence about the possible benefits of helmets and their limitations. However, we also believe that enforced helmet-wearing is not justified, either in practice or in law. Our reasons are set out below.

    We wish to question the advice in an as-yet unpublished report commissioned by Royal Mail, which led to them adopt this helmet rule. We want to know whether it considered the following issues:

    Meanwhile, we want to hear from you, so you can tell us your experiences of how the new rule is working in practice, and we can keep you informed as we pursue the legal and evidence questions above. We have therefore set up a support and information line for cycling postal workers. We want to know:

    So please, do get in touch with us! You can either post back the form or send us your contact details via the phone number or email address given below. We will call back at your convenience to talk through various questions such as those listed above.

    Please feel free to copy and distribute this letter to colleagues. Or if you would like us to send you more copies, please let us know how many you require. We look forward to hearing from you.



Return to: Postal workers’ information line, CTC, 69 Meadrow, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 3HS

Phone: 01483 520756. Fax: 0870 873 0064. Email: postal.workers@ctc.org.uk.


Name ______________________________ 


____________________           Postcode ____________ 

Phone No(s) (please state preferred times to be called) __________________


If you would like copies of this letter to give to colleagues, please state number ____



The statement continued, "HSE has no remit to dictate the uniform policy of a company unless it falls within the scope of PPE. Ultimately the wearing of cycle helmets is a matter on individual choice, and any stance to the contrary could potentially be challenged on human rights grounds. With regards to the use of cycle helmets on the public roads by members of the public, this is a policy area that falls totally within the remit of the Department for Transport."