August 3, 2023
USPS employees are doing their best to ensure that colleagues stay healthy during the hottest summer on record thus far.
Several facilities have set up hydration stations, where employees can get a cold drink and read tips on heat safety.
The Pacoima Post Office in Los Angeles has both in-office and traveling hydration stations, with the latter being a USPS truck filled with chilled water, sunscreen and other hot weather essentials.
At least two areas, Southern and WestPac, offer prizes to the facilities whose hydration stations have the strongest messaging or most creative display.
In addition to these efforts, the Postal Service provides heat safety guidance through stand-up talks, workplace posters and other educational materials.
Managers are also taking creative approaches.
Jamie Wright, postmaster at Lebec Station in Santa Clarita, CA, created cardboard heat-safety cutouts and sends them to facilities in California 3 District.
Henry HIPP (for Heat Illness Prevention Program) comes with a cover letter outlining ways facilities can use him to convey the importance of understanding the signs and symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
“It is recommended that you share the forecast of the day when using Henry” to engage with employees, the letter says.
Ameth Nunez, a custodian at Woodside Post Office in New York City, was profiled in a 2017 Link article as going the extra mile for his co-workers by offering letter carriers enough bottles of chilled water to fill a mail tub.
Years later, he’s still at it.
“I started this about seven years ago. We used to put the water on ice and now we make the ice in bags in the freezer here.”
The custodian, who used to work in construction, said, “I know what it’s like out there.”
The hydration station “helps everyone a lot. Everyone is starting to do it at other stations, too. People get excited about it.”