Long Term Health Concerns

Head Office Circular NP/102/21
Our Ref: HSR/1/11
30th March 2021
The Secretary

Dear Colleague


The 2020 AGM considered Item 76, a resolution concerning the possible long term health effects of working catering trollies on trains:

As caterers we deserve the same support and recognition as all other grades RMT represents.

As with all other grades there are specific concerns on the wellbeing of members in our grade.

We instruct the NEC and Lead Officers to explore the detrimental effects on our members’ health now, and future impacts after numerous years of working standard trolley. Many TOCs have implemented standard trollies which has, during the facilitating of the trolley, many detrimental factors to our health.

To facilitate the trolley, tasks include twisting, bending, stooping, stretching, pulling and pushing; this will have a detrimental effect where musculoskeletal injuries are more than likely to occur. This affects the muscles, ligaments, tendons and the bones.

The causes of musculoskeletal pain are varied. Muscle tissue can be damaged with the wear and tear of daily activities. Trauma to an area (jerking movements, auto accidents, falls, fractures, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscle) also can cause musculoskeletal pain. Other causes of pain include postural strain, repetitive movements, overuse and prolonged immobilisation. Changes in posture or poor body mechanics may bring about spinal alignment problems and muscle shortening, therefore causing other muscles to be misused and become painful.

This Conference instructs the RMT to investigate the long-term health effects which we believe many of us will suffer in the long term after working standard trollies.

The National Executive Committee referred this item into their Health and Safety Sub-committee and then, at their meeting of 25th March 2021, noted and adopted the following report:

We note the resolution on file. The General Secretary is instructed:

To write to Health and Safety Reps in all TOCs to gauge their concerns and determine whether proper Risk Assessments have been undertaken

Following this, to conduct a survey of all RMT catering grades

Subsequently, to establish a Working Group to consider the matter, together with data collated to support the resolution.

Branches and Regional Councils to be informed.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you advised on developments. Please bring the contents of this Circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary