Reduce stress on postmen by banishing letterboxes which are too close to the ground, MP urges
Archant © 2009
To the average householder, it means nothing - but to a postman, it turns the morning delivery into a punishing workout of constant bending and squatting.
So it will come to a relief to posties across the land that an Essex MP is trying to change the law, so they may need to bend their knees less in future.
As someone who has delivered a fair amount of political literature in her time, Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford knows only too well the irritation caused by letterboxes placed close to the ground.
So when representatives from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) told her one of their biggest issues was not Brexit but low-low-level letterboxes, she was only too happy to help.
While she accepts it would be impractical to alter low-lying letterboxes on current doors, she has made a speech in Parliament imploring that a new law be brought in to position letterboxes in new buildings at a certain height.
If she is successful, posties up and down the land are likely to rejoice - not least because the lower letterboxes are, the more likely deliverers are to be injured by dogs snatching letters out of their hands.
“I am not asking homeowners to retrospectively change their existing letterboxes or replace their front doors,” she said.
“This Bill simply wants to stop developers from building swathes of homes each with a letterbox placed near the ground.
“Back injury is the primary cause of sickness in Royal Mail. The act of having to bend or stoop to deliver mail to low letterboxes is a significant factor, and it cannot be overlooked.
“The occasional low-level letterbox is not a big issue, but where developers fit row after row of front doors with ankle-high letterboxes, deliverers face repetitive stress.
“Back pain is the most common cause of chronic pain. Those of us who have ever suffered from back pain know how debilitating it can be.
“Every day our postal workers deliver for us: let us now deliver for them.”
In a letter about the issue last year, CWU national health, safety and environment officer Dave Joyce said: “The problem with low-level letter boxes is that back injuries to postmen and women occur each year.
“Delivering to low-level letter boxes at the base of a house front door forces postal staff to stoop to ground level repetitively to deliver mail items which can cause or exacerbate back strain and back conditions.”