The United States Postal Service® is sponsoring its first National Slips, Trips, and Falls Prevention Week, a public service campaign that offers safety tips and emphasizes the need for increased owner responsibility to help prevent carrier injuries.
From painted porches to neglected icy surfaces, hazardous conditions on customer property poses a serious threat to Postal Service™ employees. To emphasize the enormity of this issue, USPS® is now reporting the number of these incidents — last year, 18,684 Postal Service employees were victims of a slip, trip, or fall.
The tips available in this article can promote awareness of this issue and help reduce the number of carrier injuries in local communities.
Slips, Trips, and Falls Prevention
Last year, most slips, trips, and falls involved letter carriers. More than half resulted in at least one day away from work.
How Carriers Can Avoid a Slip, Trip, or Fall
- Wear proper footwear. Keep your feet warm and dry. Choose high-traction, slip-resistant footwear.
- Stay away. Avoid wet leaves, slippery surfaces, or icy areas whenever possible. Shorten your steps and shuffle your feet when near slippery surfaces. You are not required to risk personal injury from icy steps.
- Be alert. Finger mail only when it is safe to do so. Always remain focused, alert, and ready to react to the conditions in front of you.
- Hang on. Where available, use handrails or other stable supports. Holding onto something keeps you steady when ascending and descending stairs or entering and exiting vehicles. Keep one hand on the handrail or grab bar, so you can catch yourself if you start to slip.
- Report Hazards. Be diligent about examining your path for hazards. Use PS Form 1767, Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition, or Practice, to report a hazard to your supervisor. Alert replacement carriers to any hazardous conditions by completing PS Form 1766, Hazard Warning Card.
How Customers Can Prevent a Slip, Trip, or Fall Injury
- Clear the way. Keep the carrier path clear of obstacles like leaves, ice, and snow. Make sure doors and porches used by letter carriers are cleared of hazards.
- Maintain the carrier path. Repair cracks and fill in holes. Repair, paint yellow, or block access to unstable or uneven walking surfaces.
- Avoid startling carriers. Keep animals away from the delivery path.
- Make painted porches skid-proof. Install non-skid strips or add sand to the paint to provide traction.
For more information and resources to help prevent slips, trips, and falls, visit safetytoolkit.usps.gov:12/slipstripsfalls.aspx.
— Safety and OSHA Compliance Programs,
Employee Resource Management, 8-29-19