Postal Worker Safety Tips
It’s no secret that postal workers have a tough job. Without fail, rain and shine, they show up six days a week to ensure that we get our mail on time. In addition to weather-related hazards such as ice, snow, and heat, mail carriers often encounter other dangers to their safety. These might include unfriendly animals, dangerous terrain, and even dangerous insects, such as wasps and bees.
Hints to Keep You Healthy and Safe
Given the number of hazards that a mail carrier can encounter in any given day, there are some helpful tips to reduce the likelihood of turning a potentially dangerous situation into an emergency.
Keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly. Weather fluctuations can vary dramatically from day to day. If it’s going to be very hot, you will need to drink plenty of fluids. In cold winter weather, you will need to dress to stay warm.
Consider ergonomics. Working as a mail carrier is a very physical job, and you can walk in excess of 12 miles a day sometimes. If you are not wearing good, supportive shoes, and lifting properly, you can suffer from any number of injuries.
Drive following all traffic laws and be aware of your surroundings. You should use extra caution when pulling away from mailboxes.
Wear insect repellent. You can encounter any number of insects during an average day, including venomous spiders, wasps, bees, and even Zika or West Nile-carrying mosquitos. Insect repellent will help to minimize the likelihood that you will get bitten.
Use your shoulder-sack as a barrier if necessary. There is a long-running joke about vicious dogs and mailmen, but the truth is that aggressive dogs can be a tremendous hazard in this job. New mail carriers are taught (during orientation) to use their satchel to protect themself from dogs when necessary.
Pay attention to terrain. It may be tempting to take shortcuts when you see them, but sometimes this can lead you to unfamiliar—and even dangerous—terrain. It is easy to slip and break a bone, twist an ankle, or suffer a cut. If it happens in an area with low foot-traffic, you could put yourself in real jeopardy if nobody comes by for a long period of time.
Dealing With Emergencies
These are a few of the common dangers mail carriers face every single day, but it’s important to remember that there are many other, unexpected hazards that could arise. It’s the nature of the job. In extreme emergencies, it is still imperative to contact the local authorities or call 911. And to report any safety problems or incidents, follow the USPS reporting guidelines.
If you’re thinking of becoming a postal carrier, we’d love to help! We have free practice tests, study guides, and flashcards to help you pass your test the first time (and start collecting those paychecks!).