October 16, 2020
Keep outside pathways safe
WISCONSIN/ILLINOIS — In 2019, an average of 48 postal employees per day were injured due to a slip, trip or fall. 495 injuries occurred in Wisconsin and 1246 in Illinois. Many incidents occurred because of a hazardous condition on a mail carrier route. The U.S. Postal Service needs your assistance in providing safe access to your mail receptacle in an effort to prevent these type of accidents from happening to our mail carriers.
An example is when mail carrier Martha Walker was walking across a lawn on her route in Woodbridge, VA, when she fell into a hole hidden by tall grass on a customer’s property. “It happened so fast, I sunk all the way down to my knee,” she said. “As of a result of my injury, I missed some work to give myself time to recover.”
A property owner could be liable if a mail carrier gets injured due to a hazard on their property. The liability costs may 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. 17 through Oct. 23 is USPS National Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Week, which is a week long campaign dedicated to employee safety and injury prevention.
Here are a few simple tips to prevent slips, trips and falls by mail carriers and others on private property year round:
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.
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 yellow paint to an uneven surface to bring attention to it.
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.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.