The Hazards Postal Carriers Face

The other day, an envelope showed up in my mailbox containing a form letter from our local postmaster.

It was a warning/alert that postal employees face all sorts of hazards on the job and that we, the customers, need to do things to make their job safer. The letter said some postal customers will be hearing from their delivery person shortly about problems that need addressing.

The letter reminds the public about conditions to be maintained to keep postal workers safe, including: 

  • "Keep your property free of tripping hazards.
  • "Ensure that steps are well maintained.
  • "Provide a railing for any area with four or more steps.
  • "Keep curbside boxes clear of vehicles and garbage cans.
  • "Properly restrain your dogs.
  • "Move mailboxes outside of a fence of screened porch.
  • "Move mailboxes that are not at the proper height, such as a door slot that is located at the bottom of the door."
What do postal workers endure every day? Let's ride a few miles in their mail trucks or walk their routes with them.

In June a postal worker was killed in a dog attack in California. The United States Postal Service says 2,863 of its employees were attacked by dogs last year.

By the way, at the same time the Postal Service is asking customers to make life safer for its workers, the Labor Department says the USPS needs to fix electrical violations at 350 facilities around the country. The department reported:
"OSHA's inspections have revealed numerous violations of similar worker safety standards at USPS facilities throughout the nation. The complaint alleges that USPS's actions demonstrate an enterprise-wide policy that resulted in ongoing systemic electrical work safety violations. USPS failed to adequately train workers in recognizing electrical hazards and how to work safely around such hazards, and did not provide workers with the appropriate tools and personal protective equipment to avoid injury or death while working around and on electrical equipment. The complaint also seeks $558,000 for the eight willful and four serious violations discovered in Rhode Island."
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    Al Tompkins

    Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world.


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