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Des Moines Mail Carriers Suffer Heat Illness, Post Office Cited By OSHA

Flickr / Johnny_Spasm
Florida mail carrier.

A post office in Des Moines has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after two employees developed heat-related illnesses while delivering mail this summer.

In one incident a mail carrier ended up in the emergency room, and in another case, a carrier became so sick she was home from work, recovering for three days. OSHA says the supervisor of the latter employee had initially told the carrier to keep delivering mail on her 11-mile route in 93-degree heat, despite the fact she felt ill.  

But OSHA, which fined the post office more than $68 thousand dollars, says the citations are being appealed. Both employees reportedly have new direct supervisors.

U.S. Postal Service says it cannot comment at this time but adds, "Our carriers deliver the mail in all kinds of weather, including high temperatures. The safety of our employees is a top priority. The Postal Service strives to make sure they have the tools and training to do so safely. Carriers are reminded daily to ensure they’re hydrated, wear appropriate clothing, including hats, get in the shade whenever possible, and to take sufficient amounts of water and ice with them out on their routes."

OSHA says it’s issued 28 citations to Iowa post offices this year.