Dog at­tacks are mak­ing life hell for our posties

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Safety Campaign -

It is of­ten an im­age con­jured up by comic books but the re­al­ity is huge num­bers of post­men and women are be­ing at­tacked by dogs when de­liv­er­ing our mail.

Lat­est fig­ures show they re­ported 147 in­ci­dents in Kent dur­ing the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year.

This amounts to 12 fewer at­tacks on postal staff re­ported from April 2015 to April 2016.

In to­tal 695 at­tacks have been re­ported across the county by Royal Mail work­ers de­liv­er­ing the post in the last five fi­nan­cial years.

But in the TN postal code ar­eas, which in­clude Ash­ford, Ten­ter­den and Rom­ney Marsh, the num­ber of at­tacks ac­tu­ally fell in the last year, down 9% from 56 in 2015/16 to 51 in 2016/17. In the past five years, there have been 278 in­ci­dents.

In the CT postal code ar­eas, the num­bers rose from 34 in 2015/16 to 35 in 2016/17 – a 3% rise. There have been 127 in­ci­dents in the last five years.

Na­tion­ally, in the last five years, there have been 14,500 at­tacks, out of which more than 2,400 took place in the last year.

It means ev­ery day seven post­men or women are at­tacked by a dog.

The ma­jor­ity of in­juries were bites but there were cuts, bruises and dam­aged ten­dons, and two cases led to am­pu­ta­tions.

The num­ber of dog at­tacks on postal work­ers has fallen by 7% on the pre­vi­ous year to 2,471.

Royal Mail says while the re­duc­tion is en­cour­ag­ing, it is still too high and says its first pri­or­ity as an em­ployer is to en­sure the wel­fare and safety of its em­ploy­ees.

Royal Mail’s re­search also shows that the num­ber of at­tacks rises dur­ing the school hol­i­days and in the sum­mer, when par­ents and chil­dren are at home.

In the last year, 71% of dog at­tacks on postal work­ers hap­pened at the front door or in the front gar­den where dogs are more likely to be un­su­per­vised.

Dr Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group global di­rec­tor of safety, health, well­be­ing and sus­tain­abil­ity, said: “Some of these at­tacks have led to ex­tremely se­ri­ous and life-chang­ing in­juries.

“Our post­men and women need to be able to de­liver the ser­vice they pro­vide to com­mu­ni­ties across the UK, with­out the risk of in­jury.”

Dave Joyce, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Work­ers Union na­tional health and safety of­fi­cer, said: “Seven postal work­ers at­tacked by dogs ev­ery day is un­ac­cept­able.”

Seven post­men or women ev­ery day are at­tacked by a dog, ac­cord­ing to Royal Mail fig­ures

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