Oct. 29, 2019

Colorado Postal Carriers Suffered 289 Slips, Trips and Falls Last Year: Four Tips to Help Coloradans Keep Their Carriers Safe

Keep outside pathways safe

Letter carrier delivering mail.

Colorado Springs, CO, — Last year 289 Colorado postal carriers, including 37 in Colorado Springs alone, were injured due to an unforeseen slip, trip or fall— and many of the incidents occurred as a result of unsafe or hazardous conditions on their mail routes. Colorado Springs is among the top 50 cities nationwide for slips, trips and falls to postal carriers.

Slips, trips and falls often lead to carriers needing time off to heal, which can cause delays or interruptions in mail delivery. And they could have been prevented. Nationally, in 2018 an average of 51 postal carriers per day were injured by slips, trips and falls.

For example: a city carrier slipped on a customer’s icy driveway and suffered injuries that required surgery. The carrier is still receiving medical treatment, and has ongoing activity limitations.

Property owners could be liable if a carrier falls because of unsafe conditions on their properties. Costs include medical expenses and repayment of lost work hours, which can total thousands of dollars. The Postal Service makes the safety of its employees a top priority. The week of Oct. 26 through Nov. 1 is dedicated to fall prevention awareness.

Here are four simple tips to prevent slips, trips and falls by mail carriers and others on private property year round:

Inspect the path:
Walk the path your carrier takes along your property to identify hazards. This may be an entrance that you use less often. You may not realize that there is a hazard present.  Replace doormats that roll up along the edges, and use rubber-backed mats to prevent them from sliding. Ensure there is adequate lighting along the walking path.

Repair hazards:
Cracks in steps and porches, loose railing, uneven sidewalk joints and loose bricks or blocks in the walkway can be caused by deterioration over time. Water is a main culprit. Check drainage slopes and look for pooling areas, as this will also prevent slippery ice spots in the winter. Make repairs as quickly as possible. If you are not able to make the repair, block off the area or add paint to an uneven surface to bring attention to it.

Control slippery surfaces:
Leaves, rain and ice can all pose serious fall hazards. Keep leaves off walking paths, use sand in paint for traction on porches, and clear the ice and snow from the path your carrier takes.

Be informed:
Postal customers with access to postal notification features, such as Informed Delivery for letter mail and package tracking, are urged to use these features to determine if mail is expected that day, and to ensure a path has been adequately cleared for the carrier to make a safe delivery. Expecting a package delivery on a Sunday? Postal officials urge residents and business owners to clear delivery paths of hazards throughout the weekend. Sign up is free at informeddelivery.com.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.



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