Low letterbox deemed unsafe for posties

Low letterbox poses health risk to posties

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 05:00 20/09/2012
Postie
AMY JACKMAN
Safety hazard: Kevin Turner was told by New Zealand Post that his letterbox is too low.

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Miramar resident Kevin Turner is amused by a letter he has received from New Zealand Post stating that his letterbox poses a health and safety risk for the postie.

It said letterboxes needed to be between 90 and 150 centimetres from the ground. Mr Turner's letterbox is 65cm from the ground and is built into a brick wall.

The letter said Mr Turner had two weeks to fix the problem.

Mr Turner said his letterbox had been in the same place and at the same height for 18 years.

"It is amusing. That letterbox, that fence, has been like that for 18 years and we have never heard of the postie having a problem in delivering the mail," he said.

"Surely the postie is more worried about a big doberman, which might bite his fingers off, rather than a low letterbox.

"It has been a great letterbox and sadly, amusingly, it doesn't seem to work for them any more."

Mr Turner is a maintenance contractor and said he had never heard of there being correct heights for letterboxes.

He would not be modifying his letterbox because it was built into a brick wall.

He said he was interested to see what would happen after the two-week deadline expired next week.

New Zealand Post spokeswoman Jaimee Burke said there were many cases of serious accidents happening on postie rounds in New Zealand.

"The most common problems our posties have in accessing mailboxes are foliage overgrowth, steep access and slippery surfaces, spring-loaded flaps, incorrect box heights and obstacles," she said.

"While for the householder these may seem like minor matters, for a postie handling up to 20 kilograms of mail and servicing up to 1000 mailboxes, they represent a safety hazard, which we are obliged to remedy."

In 2006 New Zealand Post analysed the number of serious accidents happening on postie rounds in New Zealand.

The study found that 17 per cent of posties suffered injuries each year, including strains from over-stretching to reach incorrect height letterboxes.

Ms Burke said that since the study, New Zealand Post had been advising residents of changes they needed to make.

"Our guidelines on mailboxes have helped to reduce the number of posties suffering injuries that required time off work from 330 in 2006 to 50 in 2011."

She said it would be extremely rare for New Zealand Post to withhold a household's mail because of safety concerns.

"Only after repeated correspondence and offers to help, combined with a refusal by the householder to work with us on a solution, would we consider it."

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- The Wellingtonian

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