At least four United States Postal Services (USPS) employees at the Silverado Station branch in Las Vegas, Nevada, were treated for heat-related injuries earlier this year, one of whom was hospitalized due to his injuries, according to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“The dangers of working in high-heat conditions are well-known,” said OSHA Area Director Eric Brooks, in Las Vegas, adding that the USPS is fully aware of the risks to workers’ safety and health. “OSHA has cited the U.S. Postal Service repeatedly for failing to provide employees with a workplace free of recognized hazards. Employers whose employees work outdoors in heat are responsible for ensuring work practices include sufficient water, rest, and shade when hazardous conditions exist.”
OSHA cited USPS $129,336 after inspectors determined that the employer failed to provide proper safety measures at the Las Vegas facility. Specifically, USPS was cited for failing to protect letter carriers working in extreme heat, lacking sufficient heat control measures, and having inadequate procedures for contacting supervisors when employees experience heat-related symptoms.
OSHA offers guidelines to companies regarding protecting workers against heat-related injuries, but the administration has no enforceable rules that require companies to ensure their workers have water, shade, acclimation programs or even training to recognize signs of serious heat-related illnesses.
Last July, public watchdog group Public Citizen launched an Extreme Heat and Unprotected Workers petition urging OSHA to “protect the millions of workers who labor in dangerous temperatures.”
OSHA News Release