Protecting employees and ensuring safe working conditions.


Health and Safety (H&S) refers to policies and procedures that protect employees and ensure safe working conditions. H&S was introduced as a new Focus Area of the SMMS in 2019. Through measuring posts’ performance, IPC is actively contributing to the aims of UN SDG 8 – ‘Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.’ Within the broader aims of UN SDG 8, H&S was identified as a priority for the postal sector by SMMS participants, in the internal survey conducted by IPC in 2018.

For participants, particular areas of focus include manual handling/loading; road and vehicle safety; slips, trips and falls; mental health and stress; and forklift safety. These are addressed through mechanisms such as safety awareness training; promotion of health topics; grievance reporting systems and joint management-worker H&S committees.

Emerging trends

Employee safety and wellbeing has always been a top priority for the postal sector, given the nature of our work. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world, protecting our people is more essential than ever. The growth of e-commerce, safety technology developments, and the use of alternative fuel/ automated vehicles are all emerging trends that have an important bearing on the health and safety of the postal workforce. As ever the postal sector faces a variety of challenges, but SMMS participants continue to show resilience and adaptability in a rapidly changing world.  


  • H&S was one of the best performing focus areas within the 2020 Sustainability Management Proficiency (SMP) questionnaire, highlighting the importance of this issue to the group. 
  • Scoring 68.6% collectively, H&S once more ranked second only to Climate Change, and over seven percentage points ahead of the overall SMP group score of 61.2%. A score of 68.6% reflects that posts have good H&S management proficiency and that further improvement across the posts will be important in the upcoming years.
  • Participants scored highest in questions related to Measurement & Evaluation and Embedding, demonstrating their commitment to tracking performance, implementing policy and engaging stakeholders in this crucial area. 
  • Compared to 2019, Strategy & Policy showed the biggest improvement by increasing twelve percentage points. Although it is still one of the lower scores along with Disclosure & Reporting, IPC encourages posts to continue sharing best practices and their expert knowledge with other operators in order to drive improvements in lower scoring areas.

Highlights of the group’s performance in 2020 include:

  • All 20 posts have a strategic focus on mental health and/or stress
  • 18 posts have implemented management processes in order to mitigate H&S risks
  • All 20 posts have defined responsibility for H&S at a board/executive level
  • All 20 posts collect data on H&S aspects including: dog attacks, slips, trips/falls, and mental health/stress

Quantitative metrics for H&S are not reported under the SMMS programme, as these are covered by other IPC reporting initiatives including the IPC Global Monitor.