Davis Velazquez
Director of Safety and Health
Outlook July / August 2019

Zero Tolerance

Letter Carriers, as US Postal Service employees, have the right to perform their assigned duties in an atmosphere free of threats, assaults or other acts of workplace violence. The Postal Service has the obligation to ensure a safe working environment for all employees.

More than 20 years ago, as a result of a very sad moment in our history, we developed the Joint Statement of Violence and Behavior in the Workplace. The Joint Statement of Violence is a contractually enforceable agreement between the NALC and the USPS.

Letter Carriers are continuously being confronted with the misconduct of disrespectful managers. Some make threats to an individual’s job security. Therefore, it is important to remember that threats or assaults made directly or indirectly toward any employee of the USPS will not be tolerated. This misconduct causes a very real concern and/or apprehension on the part of the employee to whom this type of action is directed. This Zero Tolerance Policy places all employees on notice that threats, assaults or other acts of violence committed against other Postal Service employees will result in corrective action and may include removal from the Postal Service.

Letter Carriers should report any unusual situation that has the potential to cause workplace violence such as threats to your shop steward. Threats of suicide are considered acts of violence as well. All reports to the Inspection Service at the request of the employee will be handled anonymously.
Below are definitions to help you understand and clarify when a threat, assault, or other act of workplace violence has occurred:

Threat: A statement or act that carries the intention to inflict harm or injury on any person, or on his or her property. Threats also include: words or actions intended to intimidate another person or to interfere with the performance of his or her official duties

Assault: Any willful attempt to inflict injury upon the person or another, when coupled with an apparent ability to do so, or any intentional display of force that would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm.

The following citations are from handbooks, which are enforceable through Article 19:

M-39 Section 115-4 Maintain Mutual Respect Atmosphere
The National Agreement sets out the basic rules and rights governing management and employees in their dealings with each other, but it is the front-line manager who controls management’s attempt to maintain an atmosphere between employer and employee which assures mutual respect for each other’s rights and responsibilities.

ELM, Section 665.16 Behavior and Personal Habits
Employees are expected to maintain harmonious working relationships and not to do anything that would contribute to an unpleasant working environment.

ELM, Section 665-24 Violent and/or Threatening Behavior
The Postal Service is committed to the principle that all employees have a basic right to a safe and humane working environment. In order to ensure this right, it is the unequivocal policy of the Postal Service that there must be no tolerance of violence or threats of violence by anyone, at any level of the Postal Service. Similarly, there must be no tolerance of harassment, intimidation, threats, or bullying by anyone at any level. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action, including removal from the Postal Service

M-01242) Joint Statement of Violence and behavior in the Workplace:
(M-01243) Second Joint Statement of Violence and behavior in the Workplace:
If any portion of the joint statement was violated by the behavior that we are objecting to, you need to identify which section was in fact violated and what behavior was in violation. National Arbitrator Snow determined that the JSOV was enforceable through our grievance procedure (Article 15), and that an arbitrator has the authority to remedy a proven violation, including removing a supervisor from his duties.The grievance procedure must be used to put a stop to the inappropriate behavior of those managers who violate the rights mentioned in the above cited rules.
Hope you all are having a safe and happy summer. Always remember: Safety depends on me. You are your most important delivery!

Outlook May / June 2019


In keeping with the postal service’s dedication to safety as a core value, the postal service has designed a comprehensive HIPP (Heat Illness Prevention Program). This program contains training to ensure that carriers are protected against heat related illnesses. It teaches how to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses and to plan for and respond to a heat-related emergency. Be sure to review the poster in your office and feel free to ask your supervisor for a copy of the program.

It is important that you do not let your guards down while delivering mail in the summer heat. Extreme heat causes more deaths than any other weather-related hazard. Each year more than 65,000 people seek medical treatment for extreme heat exposure.

Over the next few months, letter carriers will be required to work briefly or sometimes for sustained periods of time in hot weather conditions and face certain heat related hazards. Regardless of age or physical condition, it is important to avoid overexertion in the summer heat. Hot weather can put a strain on your heart with or without exercise.

During 2018, there were 101 heat safety related injuries reported to our Resident Officer (Director of Safety and Health) Manuel L. Peralta. On the downside, there were more than 200 heat related injuries in 2018 that were not reported to Manny or to our national business agents. If you experience a heat safety event, please fill out an “initial heat injury report” form and have your shop steward send it to Manny Peralta and to your National Business Agent Larry Cirelli. You can ask your shop steward for the report or you can find a copy on the NALC Safety and Health page in the section titled “Enforcing heat safety rules.

Being uncomfortable is not the major problem letter carriers face working in high temperatures and high humidity. Letter carriers exposed to working in a hot environment face additional and generally unavoidable hazards to their safety and health.

Be cautious when you are delivering your routes. Don’t let yourself be overcome by the hot weather. Watch out for heat related problems such as: heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Drinking plenty of water can help reduce the incidence of these illnesses.

In the course of a day’s work in the heat, a letter carrier may produce as much as 2 to 3 gallons of sweat. Because so many heat disorders involve excessive dehydration of the body, it is essential that water intake during the workday be about equal to the amount of sweat produced. Most letter carriers exposed to hot conditions drink fewer fluids than needed because of an insufficient thirst drive. Therefore, letter carriers should not depend on thirst to signal when or how much to drink. Instead the carrier should drink 5 to 7 ounces of fluids, every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish the body. There is no optimum temperature of drinking fluids; but most people prefer cool ones over warm or cold drinks. Whatever the temperature of the water, it must be pleasant and readily available for the worker.

I urge all letter carriers to be aware of the following symptoms: dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, or dry pale skin without sweating. Be prepared and stay hydrated. Call 911 for immediate medical attention if you feel symptoms of a heat related illness.

Safety Captains get started on your summertime concerns. On your next Safety and Health Committee Meeting you should discuss what actions or plans to put in place, in the event that the air-condition system fails to operate, during the summertime heat. Such plans should consist of: providing fans on the work floor, refreshments and frequent breaks to help stay cool. Remember, when the AC fails, management needs to take immediate action to have it repaired. Do not wait until the AC system fails to start these conversations. Most important, don’t forget to file form 1767.

Always remember you are your most important delivery. Have a safe and happy summer. Happy Father’s Day

Outlook March / April 2019
LDC 23 Vehicle Safety
The postal vehicle is a welcomed and trusted sight in all residential and business communities because it signals that we are doing what we do best, delivering postal products. The increase in parcel volume raises the amount of postal vehicles and parcel post assignments needed. Now more than ever these vehicles remain on the road longer. In order to continue meeting this standard, it is imperative that the postal service maintains these vehicles in proper working condition. The safety of our letter carriers, as well as, the public is paramount. Preventive maintenance starts with you, the driver. You should be performing a daily vehicle inspection before and after driving and performing your postal duties.

A vehicle inspection check list, titled “Expanded Vehicle Safety Check”, (Notice 76) can be found in the M-41, section 832. The check list includes the following guidelines: 1. Inspect under vehicle for fluid leaks. 2. Inspect front tires for uneven wear and under-inflation. 3. Check that hood can be latched securely. 4. Check front for body damage. 5. Check left side for body damage. 6. Check left door lock (check for complete accident report kit if stowed on inside left of vehicle). 7. Check for rear-end leaks. 8. Check all rear tires for inflation and wear. 9. Check rear for body damage. 10. Check rear door lock. 11. Check right side for body damage. 12. Check right-side door lock(s). 13. Open door and move into driving position. 14. Check for complete accident report kit. 15. Start engine.16. With assistance, adjust pot-lid mirrors and rear-view mirrors. 17. With assistance, check headlights, taillights, brake lights, flashers, and directional signals (front and rear). 18. Adjust center rear-view mirror.19. Check operation of windshield wipers and washer. 20. Check operation of horn 21. Inspect gauges for proper operation. 22. Check foot brake. 23. Check emergency brake. 24. Check seat belt and fasten.

Drivers are to report all defects /failures immediately to management using Postal Forms (PS) form 4565, “Vehicle repair tag”. Drivers are to receive their signed copy of PS Form 4565 as proof that defects/failures were reported. Management is required to report all safety defects/failures immediately to maintenance for abatement before the vehicle is used. If management fails to send the vehicle for repairs and instructs you to use the vehicle under these conditions you should file PS Form 1767 and have your shop steward filed a grievance. One order you may refuse is one that is given that places you in a position to perform an unsafe act. Safety Depends on You. You are your most important delivery.

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