Working for the United States Postal Service (USPS) is a surprisingly dangerous job. The USPS estimated its 2015 workers’ compensation costs for claims at $18.8 million—up $389 million from 2014.
From the beginning of 2015 through 2016, the USPS reported 395 severe injuries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—the largest number reported by any employer. OSHA defines a severe injury as one causing an amputation, loss of an eye, or resulting in hospitalization for at least one night.
Postal employees injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act. Mail delivery personnel in the private sector would be covered by Florida’s workers’ compensation laws.
Causes of Postal Workers' Injuries
The USPS has more than a half-million people on payroll. Postal workers are exposed to hazardous conditions due to the many miles that they travel on foot and in their postal trucks on a daily basis. They often must work in dangerous weather conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, excessive heat, and extreme cold.
Here are some of the most common reasons these employees sustain injuries at work:
- Dog bites. These are major causes of postal worker injuries. According to the USPS, 6,244 postal workers were attacked by dogs in 2017. Dog bites can cause amputations, nerve, damage, disfigurement—and death.
- Slip and fall accidents. Carriers in a rush to deliver mail can slip and fall on slippery grass, snow covered or icy sidewalks and driveways, cracked pavement, and other obstacles. Those who work in post offices or mail sorting facilities can also suffer injuries if floors and walkways aren't kept free of spills, debris, and other dangers.
- Motor vehicle accidents. Not surprisingly, the danger of being injured in a vehicle accident due to treacherous weather or negligent drivers is high for carriers driving on mail routes. Workers can suffer life-altering injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, back injuries, internal organ damage, or death.
- Repetitive motion and overexertion. Postal workers’ duties involve many repetitive motions when sorting and delivering mail that can cause injuries to their muscles, nerves, and tendons. In addition, carrying a heavy bag filled with mail or heavy packages can lead to overexertion injuries in backs, shoulders, necks, and knees.
The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Johnson & Gilbert, P.A., know how Florida and federal workers’ compensation systems operate and have helped clients submit successful claims for more than 20 years. If you were injured on the job, call us to schedule a free consultation.