Workers' Compensation blog


Postal workers subjected to extreme heat

On behalf of Mitchell Law Corporation
August 8, 2019

Regardless of the weather, you probably see postal workers going door-to-door, bringing the mail to the proper homes. As common as this is, new reports show that it has been putting these workers in some dangerous situations as they face extreme heat.

In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited USPS (the United States Postal Service) for putting roughly 900 people at risk since 2012, exposing them to the potential for heat-related health issues and even death.

In one case recently reported, a man worked for over five hours making deliveries. When out of his truck, he was exposed to incredible heat as temperatures soared to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Even in his truck, he did not have any air conditioning.

After five hours, he called into his superiors to request that someone else assist him with the rest of his deliveries. Other workers had noticed that he was clammy and pale. Even so, his supervisor told him off for asking for assistance, instead asking him, “How hot do you think it is in Afghanistan?”

It’s unclear what the temperature in Afghanistan has to do with temperatures in the United States or safe working environments, but it is clear that at least that particular supervisor did not take the heat danger seriously enough. This is just one example, but you can imagine how hundreds of mail carriers may have found themselves in similar positions.

Any worker who is exposed to health and safety risks, especially when they are made to feel like their concerns don’t matter, needs to know exactly what legal options they may have. The same is true for family members when a loved one dies after extreme heat exposure on the job.

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