Joint and Independent Ergonomic Study on the Two-Bundle Mail Delivery Method

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Thursday December 4 2014
2011-2015/348

Further to the arbitration and arbitrator Burkett’s decisions on the two-bundle delivery method, CUPW and Canada Post agreed to carry out a joint and independent ergonomic study on the two methods for carrying mail that are supported by Canada Post and used by letter carriers in post offices that have undergone postal transformation since 2010. The two methods are: (1) holding the manually-sorted and sequenced mail bundles together in one hand, and (2) holding the manually-sorted and sequenced mail bundles in the hand and across the forearm.

The Golder Associates ergonomics firm (Golder) will carry out the study in the coming weeks at the following locations: Calgary, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; London and Ottawa, Ontario; Gatineau and Montreal, Quebec. We will be visiting two depots in each of the cities involved.

The study will be done in several phases. One of the first steps will consist in jointly meeting with workers to explain the study’s objectives and process, and to hand a survey form (the content of which has been agreed to by the parties) to letter carriers in the offices in question. LJHSC members from the relevant offices will be present and involved at those meetings. The employees taking part in the study will have one week to respond to the survey, which they will complete during working hours. The surveys will be anonymous, i.e. the participants will not be identified. The surveys will be placed in specially-identified sealed boxes, which will only be opened jointly at a meeting of the NJHSC in Ottawa. The survey data received will then be compiled and analyzed by Golder.

One of the next steps in the study will be to conduct observations in the field. Ergonomists will go to the six locations to film and photograph workers who have volunteered for the observations, and to study and analyze their movements as they deliver mail using the two proposed methods. We will need four (4) volunteers from each of the depot who, on the percentile curb, are outside the 5th and 95th percentiles in terms of height (i.e. short or tall people), for a total of eight (8) volunteers per city, and a grand total of 48 participants. (These volunteers could wear, for instance, markers on their bodies that will allow for a detailed analysis of their movements.) In this case too, the workplace observations will be conducted jointly with LJHSC members from the relevant offices. Once the study is completed, all photos, video recordings and data that is gathered will be destroyed to preserve participant anonymity. If photos are incorporated into the ergonomists’ final report, Golder will make sure it is not possible to identify the volunteers. Based on the observations made, recommendations will be developed and presented to the NJHSC. A final report is expected by late June 2015.

We urge all members in the workplaces involved to participate fully in this study, which will help improve working conditions not only in those locations, but in all facilities where the two-bundle method is used.

You will receive more information on the above shortly.

Serge Champoux
National Union Representative - Health and Safety (2008-2015)