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Designing & organising a mail room

First class organisation to reduce strain in the mailroom.

In 2012 - 2013 Royal Mail sorted and delivered over 1 billion parcels and 14 billion addressed letters across the UK and with estimates that this number is set to rise year-on-year this makes the mailroom one of the busiest areas in many businesses.

However, a badly designed mailroom can be a breeding ground for manual handling injuries so organisations need to give careful consideration to the systems, processes and equipment that they put in place.

Anyone responsible for processing, packaging and sorting large volumes of incoming or outgoing mail, will often spend lots of time on their feet and be required to lift heavy or awkward packages.

In addition, it’s likely they will make lots of repetitive movements such as reaching, twisting, bending and stretching. All these tasks are common causes of manual handling injuries.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) require employers to carry out risk assessments for all handling operations, no matter where in the business the individual works. Risks of injury can often be mitigated by the use of trolleys or powered handling and lifting equipment to help take the strain.

To overcome these problems, it is important to carefully plan the design of the mailroom. Start by thinking about the processes and systems that it needs to incorporate. The most efficient mailrooms will always follow clearly defined systems that everyone in the organisation is aware of, which also means the mailroom can still function if an employee is absent.

Once these systems are in place, it is vital to install the right furniture for the job and it is always advisable to use products that are specifically designed for a mailroom environment.

Benches and packing stations need to be sturdy enough to support heavy parcels as well as related machinery such as franking machines and scales. Using freestanding benches and units that are easy to move also means the room can be easily adapted to accommodate increased workloads at peak times or during expansion programmes.

Trolleys are another key aspect of a mailroom and these should always improve efficiency and productivity as well as making the task easier for employees so it is important to choose a product that is fit for purpose and can accommodate the size, weight and volume of mail that the mailroom is required to process.

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