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Common Causes of Postal Worker Injuries

Common Causes of Postal Worker Injuries

U.S. Postal Service mail carriers deliver mail to nearly 132 million delivery points nationwide over the course of the year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports.

Unfortunately, injuries can occur in the process. According to the GAO, an average of 34,000 injuries to postal workers occur each year, with approximately 13,000 of those injuries (38 percent) directly attributed to mail delivery.

As federal employees, postal workers who are injured on the job are entitled to payment for the medical, surgical and hospital services and supplies they need for treatment as well as transportation for obtaining medical care. They are also entitled to payment for lost wages due to temporary or permanent disability. If a postal worker dies on the job, the worker’s eligible survivors may receive death benefits.

Common causes of injuries to postal workers include the following:

Dog Bites

The U.S. Postal Service reports that nearly 6,000 postal employees are attacked by dogs nationwide every year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 20 percent of dog attacks cause injuries serious enough to require medical attention, sometimes including reconstructive surgery.

Where Are Postal Workers Attacked by Dogs

Cities where the highest number of postal workers were attacked by dogs, according to 2013 data from the U.S. Postal Service:

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Falls to the Ground

Postal carriers cover a lot of ground on foot. This is especially true for those carriers who are responsible for urban foot routes or park-and-loop routes, in which a carrier parks a vehicle and walks out and back over one or more streets to deliver mail. In addition to slick conditions caused by rain, snow and ice, problems such as uneven sidewalks, potholes, debris left in tall grass and other unexpected obstacles can cause tripping, slipping and falling. Workers in post offices and sorting centers are also susceptible to slip-and-fall accidents if floors and walkways are not properly maintained.

Falls on Stairs

Stairways at homes, businesses or multi-level post offices or sorting centers can cause fall hazards if they are damaged, poorly maintained, poorly lit and/or strewn with debris. Water, ice, snow, loose stair treads, frayed or torn carpet, loose or broken handrails or deteriorating flooring can lead to a slip and fall.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Carriers responsible for rural and suburban mail routes typically drive a vehicle to deliver mail to mailboxes on the side of the road. The GAO reports that motor vehicle collisions are the most frequently reported cause of injury to carriers on rural routes.

Overexertion / Repetitive Motion Injuries

Doing the same task over and over can harm muscles, nerves and tendons. Lifting, carrying pushing and pulling trays of loose mail, packages and other objects and materials as well as bending, stretching, reaching and working in awkward body postures can also cause musculoskeletal injuries. For example, a mail carrier may develop back, shoulder or rotator cuff injuries by repeatedly twisting and stretching to reach mail in the back of their delivery vehicle.

Violence

Because they deal daily with the general public, postal workers are exposed to the potential for violence. Because of the high stress of postal work, they may be attacked by co-workers as well as customers. In acts of violence, the perpetrator (or perpetrator’s estate) may be held liable for the worker’s injury, which adds to recoverable compensation for the worker’s losses.

We Help Injured Postal Workers

Like other federal agencies, the U.S. Postal Service pays its workers’ compensation costs through the federal workers’ compensation program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) provides needed benefits to postal workers and other federal employees who suffer temporary or permanent disabilities because of work-related injuries or illnesses.

FECA cash benefits include payments for wages lost when employees cannot work because of work-related disabilities due to traumatic injuries or occupational illnesses. Medical benefits can include medical care and vocational rehabilitation for injured workers.

At Harris Federal, we understand how seeking federal workers’ compensation benefits or federal disability retirement benefits can be daunting if you are not familiar with the process.

Our firm focuses on these cases, which has allowed us to develop the skills, experience and resources to help workers get the benefits they deserve. We work with federal employees across the country.

To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today by phone or by simply submitting our online contact form.

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