DAVID VELAZQUEZ
DIRECTOR OF SAFETY AND HEALTH
Outlook November / December 2017
Protect Yourself
When I began my career in 1984, it was a rare occurrence for a letter carrier to become the victim of an assault. During that era, letter carriers were respected for the job that they did and seldom viewed as an easy target. We served our communities well and were held in the highest regard because we provided a much-needed service to our customers. As society changed, so did the attitude towards letter carriers, regrettably. Through the years the line has been crossed frequently and letter carriers have become the victims of assault more often. During the holiday season, it is extremely important for letter carriers to be fully aware of their surroundings.

Typically, at this time of year, we work longer hours and deliver more valuable packages, which in turn make us targets for criminals. Each day on the job brings with it new interactions and situations with our customers and the public. Although you may know your route inside and out, be wary of people and circumstances that could put you at risk. Take suspicious characters seriously, even if you do not see a weapon or feel you are in imminent danger. If you are followed, go straight to a safe place and contact the police. Call 911 first, if you are robbed or assaulted. Next, call your supervisor, who will then contact the postal inspectors.

Understand that once an attack or robbery begins, the criminal has crossed a psychological threshold and may resort to violence or deadly force in order to demonstrate who is in charge of the situation. Did you know non-employees are responsible for the vast majority of workplace homicides? Most homicides occur during a robbery.

What can you do to protect yourself? Avoid making yourself a target for robbers. Keep your cellphone in your pocket and out of sight. Avoid large wallets, showy jewelry, or displaying large amounts of cash during your shift. If you are involved in a robbery, remain calm. Comply with any instructions. Remember, nothing is more valuable than your life. If asked, give the robber your money, your phone and even the mail. Let the robber control the situation and you’ll have a better chance of survival. Try to jot down any details you can remember such as the description of the robber(s), the vehicle they may have used, and in which direction they traveled. Remember the most important delivery of the day is you. Deliver yourself home safely to those who are dear to you by working safely. Safety depends on you.

Outlook September / October 2017
Safety Program
The letter carriers job is a physically demanding one and unfortunately, many letter carriers sustain occupational injuries. We can improve on safety by working actively on safety issues and educating letter carriers about safety and health.

Chapter 8 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) describe the Postal Service’s Safety and Health Program in detail, and the responsibilities at each level of the USPS officials for Safety and Health. All Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 Safety Captains and Health Committee Members should read sections 810 through 860 of the ELM.

ELM-Section 811.21: Management must demonstrate commitment to providing safe and healthful conditions in all postal-owned and postal-leased installations, become involved in day to day safety performance, and be held accountable for safety performance and compliance with OSHA Standards and Regulations.

Section 811.23: Employees (LC) Letter Carriers are our most valued resource. Our employees (LC) must be provided a safe and healthful workplace. When our employees work safe, our performance is improved. We can demonstrate that management and employee attention directed at working safely is good business for all.

Section 811.24: It is the position of the Postal Service that any injury can be prevented. Management has the primary responsibility for the well-being of employees and must fully accept this principle. All employees (LC) must be trained in proper work procedure and must be educated to work safely. Management is responsible for the adequate safety training and education of employees. However, all employees are responsible for working safely.

ELM Section 814: Employees (LC) have the right to become actively involved in the Postal Service Safety and Health Program and to be provided a safe and healthful work environment. Employees have a right to report unsafe and healthful working conditions, by using Form 1767, “Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition, or Practice”. Participate in the safety and health program without fear of restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal.

On the job safety and health should be a priority for all letter carriers. The union encourages all Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 shop stewards and safety captains to help create a safe and healthful work place for all letter carriers. Working jointly with management on safety and health issues is the best way to prevent accidents and injuries. Our National Agreement, postal handbooks and manuals, and the OSHA Law all support efforts by employees and managers to create safe and healthful workplaces. Always remember, you are your most important delivery. Safety depends on you!

Outlook July / August 2017
Get Involved
Oftentimes, we find that certain decisions made by management do not adequately consider the risks that they might possibly impose on letter carriers. There is a need to study what happened in the past in order to prevent the same outcome from occurring in the future. One must wonder and question why we strayed from lessons learned in the first place. The necessary element to our success depends on how we identify and correct hazards and how swiftly we educate letter carriers on methods of working safely.

Management has the responsibility of providing safe working conditions in all present and future installations and must develop and maintain a safe work force. The union will cooperate and assist management to live up to this expectation.

If you believe that the contract was in fact violated, you have the right to process a grievance to uphold our Bargain Agreement with the postal service through the negotiated grievance procedure, which can be found in Article 15 in the JCAM. Whenever it comes down to safety and health issues, you must discuss the problem with the supervisor. Article 14, Section 2 in the JCAM provides that if an employee believes that he/she is being required to work under unsafe conditions, such employee may: (a) immediately notify the supervisor of the unsafe conditions or; (b) notify the employee’s steward who may in turn discuss the unsafe condition with the supervisor. The goal is to correct a hazard, as expeditiously as possible, so that no one suffers from the hazard identified. If we cannot reach an agreement stating that there is a hazard and it must be corrected (abated) then we may have to process a grievance.

How do you report a hazardous condition? You can speak to your supervisor, as previously stated; but where’s the proof? If that supervisor later denies that you reported the hazardous condition how do we prove our side of the story? It’s very simple. Ask for and fill out Form 1767. The 1767 form is proof that you reported the hazardous condition to management. Section 824.61 and 824.62 of the ELM explains the purpose of Form 1767 and details that it must be made available at your work location without having to ask your supervisor for one.

Union and management are committed to working safely and correcting unsafe conditions by recording those unsafe conditions through the use of Form 1767. Once a condition is reported, the language goes on to say that if the condition is not corrected or abated during your tour of duty, then a grievance may be filed. There are four sections on Form 1767: Section (1) “Employee Action”; Section (2) “Supervisor’s Action; Section (3) “Approving Official’s Action”; and Section (4) “Maintenance Action” complete if necessary. Section 824.631 of the ELM explains the employee’s rights and closes with the following statement: Discrimination against an employee for reporting a safety and health hazard is unlawful. This warning is both contractual and legal as covered by OSHA regulations.

Remember to be careful while delivering mail during the hot summer months. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Take frequent breaks when necessary. Remember, safety depends on you. Always keep this one thing in mind, “You are the most important delivery.”

Hoping everyone is enjoying a safe and happy summer.

John Springman will be in our hearts and memories forever and will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are for John and his family. Rest in Peace.

Outlook May / June 2017
Summer Heat
Don’t let your guards down while delivering in the summertime heat. Summertime may be fun for vacationers; but not necessarily for letter carriers. Over the next few weeks, letter carriers will be required to work briefly or oftentimes, for sustained periods of time in hot weather conditions, letter carriers face special hazards that working outdoors in the heat demands. Regardless of age or physical condition, it is wise to avoid overexertion in the summer months. Hot weather can easily put a strain on your heart, with or without exercise.

During the 2016 calendar year, there were 101 heat safety related injuries reported to our Resident Officer (Director of Safety and Health) Manuel L Peralta. On the flipside, there were more than 200 heat related injuries that were not reported to Manny or to our national business agents that same year. Should you experience a heat safety event, please fill out an Initial Heat Injury Report Form and ask your shop steward to send it to Manny Peralta and National Business Agent Larry Cirelli. You can ask your shop steward for the form or you can find a copy on the NALC Safety and Health page in the section titled: Enforcing heat safety rules.

Merely being uncomfortable is not the major problem letter carriers face by working in high temperatures and high humidity. Letter carriers with this type of exposure face additional and generally unavoidable hazards to their personal safety and health.

Remember to be cautious when delivering your routes. Don’t allow yourself to be overcome by the hot weather. Watch out for heat related problems such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. To reduce heat related problems, drink plenty of fluids.

Over the course of a day, a typical letter carrier may produce as much as 2 to 3 gallons of sweat. With so many heat ailments involving dehydration, it is essential that water intake during the workday is maximized to the average amount of sweat produced. Most letter carriers exposed to these hot weather conditions, typically drink fewer fluids than needed due to an insufficient thirst drive. Therefore, letter carriers should not depend only on thirst to signal how much to drink. Rather, the carrier should drink 5 to 7 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish the body. There is no optimum temperature for drinking water, but most people prefer it to be cool. I urge all carriers to be aware of the following heat related symptoms: dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, and dry pale skin without sweating.

If you experience any of these symptoms; inform management and seek medical attention immediately. Safety Captains, it’s time to get started on your summertime concerns. At your next Safety and Health Committee Meeting you need to discuss what actions or plans are in place in the event, the air condition system fails to operate during the upcoming summer heat. Such plans should consist of: providing fans on the work floor, refreshments, and frequent breaks to help stay cool. When the AC fails, management needs to take immediate action to have it repaired. Do not wait until the AC system fails to start having these discussions. It is extremely important to fill out Form 1767.

Most importantly, always remember you are your most important delivery. Have a safe and happy summer. Happy Father’s Day!

Outlook March / April 2017
Emergency
You might have thought about it or maybe not, that dreadful thought of evacuating your premises in the event of an emergency. Why wait until an emergency arises, to begin to ponder what to do. Don’t put your life or your loved ones in jeopardy. Take a few moments now to discuss an emergency evacuation plan with your family. The life you save may be your own.

All stations should have their own emergency action plan in place. A workplace emergency is an unforeseen situation that threatens its employees and customers. One emergency situation can disrupt and shut down the whole operation, not to mention cause much physical and environmental damage. Emergencies can be the result of natural or manmade causes and include: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, toxic gas releases, chemical spills, radiological accidents, explosions, civil disturbances and workplace violence, all leading to bodily harm and trauma.

So what are the US Postal Service’s responsibilities concerning an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency? All installation heads are responsible for implementing an emergency action plan and a fire safety program for the protection of people, mail and postal properties. Managers and supervisors must be diligent and on the lookout at all times for fire hazards or other emergency situation, and take immediate action to correct any and all unsafe practices. Postal Service Facilities with more than 10 employees must maintain a written Emergency Action Plan. If there are 10 or fewer employees, a written plan is not required. Before an Emergency Action Plan is implemented, designated employees should be trained to assist in the safe and orderly emergency evacuation of its employees. All USPS Facilities are responsible for conducting an unannounced emergency evacuation drill once each quarter. One quarterly drill must be a total evacuation while the other three only include evacuation to the fire exits.

Management is responsible for assigning responsibilities to personnel, assigned to evacuation duties. Duties listed are as follows: squad monitors, searchers, exit guards, fire wardens, and assistant wardens. Management’s responsibilities include training employees once their initial duty assignment is listed, and posting an emergency evacuation team duty assignment listing.

The first part of an emergency plan is to become familiar with your floorplan. In case of fire, you should know the exact location and how to use all fire alarm stations, along with the location of all fire exits in your facility. It is important to remember to follow the directions given by the assigned emergency evacuation team members and supervisors in your area. It is vital to evacuate your area immediately. Do not go to your locker to retrieve personal items. Do not use elevators during an emergency, it is prohibited during emergency evacuations. Follow all fire evacuation procedures during fire drills, as well as during an actual emergency. Methods must be in place to get disabled or handicapped employees out safely. Do not engage in disruptive or unnecessary talking that will prevent others from hearing or understanding instructions and directions. Move quickly, but do not run, to the nearest exit. If you follow these simple emergency evacuation procedures, the outcome will be a positive one.

Always remember, you are your most important delivery. Safety depends on you.

Outlook January / February 2017
Winter Safety
Winter has officially arrived and being outside during the winter months presents special challenges for letter carriers. Remember, don’t let your guard down while delivering mail and parcels in the winter.

Whether you’re walking or driving you’re exposed to cold temperatures and hazardous conditions. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause your body to lose heat faster than it’s able to produce it, putting your body at risk of hypothermia or frostbite.

Frostbite occurs when the skin is exposed to extreme cold for long periods of time and the skin and underlying tissues freeze. The fingers, toes and feet are most commonly affected. At the first sign of frostbite, remove yourself from the cold. Cold weather can put a strain on your heart, even without exercise. A cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature. Cold air, water and snow all draw heat from the body. Working in cold weather puts a tremendous strain on the body, even to people in good shape. Take frequent breaks and don’t overexert yourself.

Make sure you dress properly during the cold months and wear several layers of lightweight clothing. Air trapped between the layers helps keep the body warm. Protect the extremities such as the hands, feet and ears as they are the most susceptible to frostbite. Wear a hat because a large percentage of the body’s heat is lost through the top of the head. Letter carriers should be able to identify symptoms of cold related problems.

The two main health hazards of overexposure to cold weather are frostbite and hyperthermia. Frostbite occurs when body tissues freeze. The skin becomes hard and numb. Hypothermia occurs as a result of exposure to the cold, which can send the core body temperature down to dangerously low levels. Untreated, hypothermia can lead to unconsciousness and death. Symptoms of hypothermia can include fatigue, drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, cool blushed skin, slurred speech, irrational and/or confused behavior. If you suspect hypothermia or frostbite you should seek medical attention immediately. Move yourself to a warm, dry place. Remove all wet clothing and replace it with warm, dry clothing. Drink warm liquids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

There are other safety hazards involved while working in the cold. The cold weather can affect the function of hands and fingers so that a worker loses feeling and dexterity, making it difficult to handle letters and pushcarts. It also increases the chance of an accident. The cold can also affect a worker’s mood. Letter carriers who are cold and uncomfortable may be less alert when it comes to hazards or be eager to rush to get the job done so that they can get somewhere warm.

Snow and ice conditions increase the occurrences of slips, trips and falls resulting in pain. Be extra careful going up and down steps when they are not properly shoveled. Avoid steps that have not been cleared and use handrails. If you cannot complete the delivery, you should fill out Safety Form 1767, as well as Form 1571. Proper footwear is essential for safe walking on slippery surfaces. Walk with care, take short steps and only deliver mail when it is safe to do so.

Take extra precaution when driving in the winter. Driving in the winter requires your full attention. Good visibility is essential. Ensure all windows, headlights and mirrors are free of snow. Buckle up your seatbelt or safety restraint before you start driving. Reduce speed and increase the following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Stay calm and drive defensibly. Remember to work safe and smart during the winter months. You are your most important delivery. Safety depends on you.

Outlook November / December 2016
Working Conditions and Darkness
On occasion, we find ourselves feeling like we’d rather not get involved in certain issues. However, when it comes to our own safety and the safety of coworkers, we need to make every effort to become involved to make certain that safety concerns are identified and corrected. Safety is everybody’s business. As safety captains and shop stewards, we need to not only practice, but to preach safety to the letter carriers we represent. Article 14.1 in the JCAM (Joint Contact Administration Manual) clearly states, “It is management’s responsibility to provide safe working conditions in all present and future installations and to develop a safe work force.” This is not to say we allow management to dictate what is safe, but quite the contrary. Like other provisions of the contract, the union must police it.

Working in the dark is one provision that should be policed by all. Normally, letter carriers deliver mail during daylight hours. In the midst of daylight saving hours, carriers are once again dealing with delivering mail in the dark. This causes issues, year after year. However, a provision does not exist, which would preclude management from assigning carriers to deliver mail in the dark. This means you may wind up working in the pitch dark. Arbitrators have ruled that darkness, in and of itself, is not unsafe. However, darkness can contribute to unsafe situations. For instance, street lights not working properly might cause you to stumble on cracked sidewalks. Houses or apartment dwellings, which are not well lit, may cause an issue too.

Naturally, high crime areas are of mayor concern in the dark. You may also experience problems delivering to cluster boxes.

If you should choose to bring back the mail, always let management know as soon as possible. In addition, you should request form 1571 and document your reasons for non-delivery of mail. You must also fill out form 1767 and document the unsafe condition you encountered. Work place safety is a joint effort. Article 14.1 states, “The union will cooperate with and assist management to live up to this responsibility.” If a letter carrier believes he/she is being required to work under unsafe conditions, such employee should notify the supervisor who, in turn, will immediately investigate the condition and take corrective action if deemed necessary. The carrier should also notify the shop steward who may discuss the unsafe condition with the supervisor. Though not required, reporting safety hazards should begin with a paper trail, so be sure to document. Article 14 requires that management shall make available at each installation Form 1767, to be used by employees in reporting unsafe and unhealthful conditions. This form provides a paper trail of an unsafe condition. When a letter carrier or the representative of a carrier believes an unsafe or unhealthful condition exists, he/she may do any of the following:
a. File a report of the condition on form 1767 with the immediate supervisor and request an inspection of the alleged condition.
b. If the employee desires anonymity, he can have the safety captain file form 1767, who will give the report to the immediate supervisor for necessary action.
c. Report the alleged unsafe condition to a steward, who may then discuss the condition with the employee’s supervisor.
Once an unsafe or unhealthful condition is reported, the immediate supervisor must promptly (within the tour of duty):
A. Investigate the alleged condition.
B. Initiate immediate corrective action or make appropriate recommendations.
C. Record actions or recommendations on PS Form 1767.
D. Forward the original PS Form 1767 and one copy to the next appropriate level of management.
E. Give the employee a copy signed by the supervisor as a receipt.
F. Immediately forward the third copy to the safety office.
In addition to completing a Form 1767, Article 14.2c states that the employee may file a grievance at Formal Step A of the grievance procedure within fourteen days of notifying the employee’s supervisor, if corrective action is not taken during the employee’s tour. It should be noted that retaliation against an employee for reporting a safety and health hazard is unlawful, and OSHA has a whistleblower process, which you may utilize to protect yourself. Remember, unreported safety issues are accidents waiting to happen. When we practice and preach safety, the injuries we sometimes avoid are our own. Remember, you are your most important delivery!

Outlook September / October 2016
Vehicle Accidents
Dangerous elements, there are countless numbers in today’s workplaces. One of the most dangerous elements is one which you encounter every day, the vehicle. When you think about it, most of us know someone who has been involved in an automobile accident.

The vehicle itself isn’t necessarily dangerous; it is what drivers do when they get behind the wheel that causes most of the accidents. Whether you drive on the job or to and from work, motor vehicle safety is an important concern and part of your daily routine.

So far this year the NY district has had a total of 382 motor vehicle accidents compared to last year’s total of 332 during the same time period. Some of these accidents occurred in crosswalks resulting in pedestrian injuries and property damage. Attention newly hired CCA’s: if you do not feel confident behind the wheel, request from management a Driver Retraining Course.

As a defensive driver, you must always be aware of the obstacles and people and remember to make allowances for the lack of attention of others. In doing so, you can prevent this type of accident from occurring. Before driving away make sure your dashboard is clear, there’s nothing hanging from your mirrors, and all mirrors are properly adjusted. Pay particular attention when stopped at crosswalks and when making turns at intersections. Many pedestrians have been struck in these locations.

All letter carriers must follow the USPS policy for operating a postal vehicle. Seat belts should be worn at all times when the vehicle is in motion. Only authorized passengers are permitted in postal vehicles. All passengers must remain seated and wear a lap belt whenever the vehicle is in motion. Cellphones: talking or texting when driving any USPS vehicle is prohibited. If an emergency occurs requiring the usage of a cellphone, exercise good judgement before making the call. Park the vehicle and turn the engine off. Hands-free devices are not permitted in postal owned, leased or personal vehicles which are being utilized to conduct official postal business. Vehicle doors: all vehicle doors must remain closed at all times while the vehicle is in motion. Exception: when operating a vehicle on delivery routes and performing actual delivery functions of the assignment and traveling intervals of 500 feet (1/100) or less at speeds of not more than 15 miles per hour between delivery stops, driver’s side may remain open. All doors are to be closed when traveling through intersections and when non-delivery functions are being performed. Vehicle doors must be secured when the vehicle is left unattended and out of the driver’s immediate view. Usage of music ear pieces is prohibited.

We, as letter carriers, sometimes become complacent. Do not assume your vehicle is in perfect running condition. All postal drivers should be performing an Expanded Vehicle Safety Checklist (Notice 76) prior to operating any US Postal vehicle. Report deficiencies, body damage, or inoperable items to your supervisor using Form 4565 (Vehicle Repair Tag) so the condition can be corrected or another vehicle can be provided.

Drive safely and defensively at all times and remember that you, as letter carriers, represent the Postal Service when you get behind the wheel. You are your most important delivery!

Outlook July / August 2016
Heat Safety
Fellow letter carriers and CCA’s, don’t let your guards down during the summer months. This year across the nation, a number of letter carriers have fallen victim to heat related injuries, which required medical attention and in some instances, hospitalization.

On July 24, 2012, John Watzlawick, a letter carrier employed at the Independence, MO Post Office died while on duty. The Medical Examiner determined the death was caused by Hyperthermia, noting his body temperature was 108 degrees at the time of his admittance into the hospital. Not long after this unfortunate event, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) issued Citation # 538158 to the USPS.

In 2015, over 170 carriers suffered heat related injuries while performing duties on the job. OSHA has since then kicked off its summer campaign to inform employers and employees about the imminent danger of working in the heat. There is an OSHA app that you can download onto your Smartphone that will inform you of the heat index at your present location. The app reads the GPS coordinates and tells you the temperature and humidity while calculating the heat hazard level at the time of the reading, as well as, the maximum projected level for the day. Be sure to use this app to inform management of the current conditions while working outdoors.

During these sweltering hot days, whether you are delivering mail or driving postal vehicles, you run the risk of being exposed to high temperatures, humidity and direct sunlight and must take the proper precautions. All of these factors increase the risk of heat related illnesses. By knowing the signs and symptoms, we can reduce the risk of these health issues. Heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur when the body is unable to cool itself by perspiring. Heat illnesses can run from mild, to severe and life threatening if the signs are not recognized and taken care of immediately.

Signs and symptoms of heat stress include weakness, usually heavy perspiration, excessive thirst, muscle aches or cramps, confusion and anxiety. Other symptoms can include headaches, fainting, rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath. Anyone who experiences symptoms of any heat related illness should seek medical attention immediately.

When working outdoors during the hot weather, dress appropriately, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and seek shelter out of the sun whenever possible. Many of us make the mistake of not drinking enough water throughout the day. Therefore, hydrate before, during and after work. Prevention is important, so make sure to maintain good hydration by drinking at least 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes.

The average recommendation for women is to drink eight glasses a day. For men, the average is a minimum of eight glasses a day. You should not rely on caffeinated beverages such as tea or coffee as your source of water intake. Too much caffeine causes the kidneys to excrete more fluid. The fluid you are taking in is being released too quickly. Drinking alcohol is prohibited while on duty. Alcohol is a diuretic, which can increase urination and, in turn, causes a dehydrating effect. If we drink too little water, we will become dehydrated. There is a test you can do to see if you are dehydrated. Pinch the skin on top of your hand and let it go. The skin should sink immediately back to your hand. If it slowly lies down, you need to drink more water. Dress in loose, comfortable clothing made of light fabrics. Take frequent breaks whenever needed. In addition, take advantage of scheduled breaks to rest and cool off. Heat stroke is a life threatening illness. Take steps to prevent heat illnesses and treat all heat disorders seriously.

Safety Captains should immediately have a Safety Committee Meeting to discuss what plans or procedures will be in effect should the air conditioner at your facility stop functioning. A mandatory stand up talk should also be conducted concerning the upcoming summer season. If the air conditioner stops functioning on the workroom floor, there are steps management must follow. Management must call CMS (Central Maintenance Service). CMS will either have it repaired or contact FSO (Facility Service Office) for service. Management needs to be diligent and call continuously for updates.

Management should provide cool refreshments, fans and request portable AC units, should they become available. If conditions do not improve or the response is not quick, file a Safety and Health Form 1767. Letter carriers cannot walk off the workroom floor just because the AC unit is not functioning. If you are experiencing any signs of illness related to the conditions on the work floor, you must fill out a B971 and submit it to management.

Finally, it is important to notify your supervisor or call 911, if you are experiencing any signs of heat related illnesses when working outdoors. This will not only ensure your safety, but can also save your life. Stay cool and remain safe.

Outlook May / June 2016
CARE
The postal service has established a program focused on accident prevention titled Counseling at Risk Employees (CARE)” and it is also oftentimes referred to as the CARE package. This program commenced in January of 2016.

The objective of the CARE program is to reduce employee accidents through interactive dialogue, retraining, coaching, and recognition of potential safety hazards. The CARE program should further reduce the cost associated with accidents, employee injuries/illnesses and lost productivity. The CARE program will be solely used for the purpose of improving employee safety and never used to take administrative action against employees. I must reiterate, there will never be disciplinary action taken against an employee with regards to participation in the CARE program.

CARE team meetings will be conducted quarterly with: (1) employees with two years of service or less; (2) employees with deficiencies reported on street or office observation; (3) employees with recent accidents and or a history of one or more accidents within the past two years. The CARE team will consist of: (1) the installation head or designee; (2) the employee’s direct supervisor; (3) the safety captain or shop steward; (4) the participant/employee. The safety captain or shop steward serves as an advisor/coach to the participant throughout the counseling process.

The primary goal of this part of the program is to ensure the participant remains accident-free and knows how to identify and report safety related concerns. Employee deficiencies should be documented by using: (1) PS Form 4584 “Observation of Driving Practices; (2) PS Form 4588 Observation of Work Practices (Delivery Services); (3) PS Form 4589 Observation of Work Practices (General). Positive reinforcement and frequent attention to acceptable on the job skills will reinforce safe work practices and increase participant accountability. A successful CARE program should create a culture of safety.

The Letter Carriers Union at the national and local levels did not endorse the CARE program. You can download a letter sent to our NALC President Frederick Rolando (USPS3959) that letter carriers can use in defending against any action taken against them based on information acquired through the CARE program.

P.S: Prepare yourself for the heat of the summer. Drink plenty of fluids, dress appropriately and take frequent breaks when the need arises. Remember, you are your most important delivery. Have a safe summer.

Outlook March / April 2016
Carrier Assaults
Recently, I read an article titled, “Dog Owner Attacks Mailman with Aluminum Bat” in the New York Post. Obviously, it caught my attention and made me wonder what would possibly possess someone with dogs to viciously assault a letter carrier. Unbelievably, this letter carrier was beaten with a bat by the dog owner simply because she took offense to the carriers request to leash the animals. This letter carrier was merely looking out for his own safety, as well as, for others on his route. His good deed turned bad for no reason. The carrier was treated at a local hospital for his injuries and released. The carrier is presently recuperating at home.

Back in the early eighties, when I began my career, it was a fairly rare occurrence for a letter carrier to be the victim of assault. That line was seldom crossed. During that era, letter carriers were more respected and not viewed as an easy target for an assault. We served our communities well and were respected by our customers. Unfortunately, as society changed, so too had the attitude towards letter carriers.

Nowadays, we are victims of crime more often. There are many assaults on letter carries that do not even make the headlines. Recently in November, carriers delivering mail to a huge complex in the Bronx were verbally assaulted by a lunatic who had a dislike for anyone in a uniform. It happened so frequently, that police were called and had to be present whenever a letter carrier delivered mail to a certain building. Earlier in my career, I can remember a carrier being shot with a BB gun while on duty. Once recuperated, he transferred out of the station.

Keeping yourself safe and secure should be your top priority. Be alert, be observant and above all, be careful. The fact of the matter is that non-employees are responsible for the vast majority of workplace assaults and homicides. The majority of those assaults and homicides occur during a robbery; so take suspicious people and verbal threats seriously.

If you find yourself in a predicament that you believe could possibly turn into an assault, remain calm and stay within sight of as many people as possible. Avoid secluded spots. Remember once a confrontation begins, the criminal has crossed the psychological threshold and the attacker may resort to violence to demonstrate power.

If you come across a suspicious character, take it seriously, even if you don’t feel that you are in immediate danger. Be alert, verbal attacks sometimes lead to an assault. If you find yourself in a threatening situation and feel you are in danger, contact the local police (911) and your supervisor immediately. The supervisor will in turn, contact the postal inspectors, whose top priority is to protect postal employees. Whenever a letter carrier is attacked or threatened postal inspectors will promptly investigate all assaults and threats aggressively and initiate appropriate criminal charges. You can also call the US Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 (press 2). Robbing or assaulting a postal employee is a federal offense that can carry with it a sentence of up to 20 years.

If you inform management of any threat against you, and they fail to take action, file a form 1767 immediately.

Remember we cannot control what others do, but we can control what we do. We must take action to protect our safety and well-being by avoiding danger and not allowing ourselves to become victims. Report all concerns to your immediate supervisor and union steward. Each day on the job brings new challenges, situations and interactions with our customers and the public. Remember the most important delivery on any given day is you. So even though you know your route inside and out, be aware of people and circumstances that may put you at risk.

I would like to thank the membership for their vote of confidence in the Executive Board of Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 and for being reelected as your Director of Safety and Health.

Outlook January / February 2016
Form 1767
Safety is everybody’s business. As safety captains and shop stewards, we need to practice and preach safety to the letter carriers we represent.

Article 14.1 in the JCAM (Joint Contract Administration Manual) clearly states, “It is management’s responsibility to provide safe, working conditions in all present and future installations and to develop a safe workforce.” This is not to say we allow management to dictate what is safe, but quite the contrary. Like other provisions of the contract, the union must police it. Workplace safety is a joint effort. Article 14.1 says, “The union will cooperate with and assist management to live up to this responsibility.” If a letter carrier believes he/she is being required to work under unsafe conditions, such employee should notify the supervisor, who will immediately file a form 1767. Anyone can file a Form 1767. It doesn’t necessarily have to be filed by the shop steward or safety captain. The carrier should notify the shop steward who may discuss the unsafe condition with the supervisor. Though not required, reporting safety hazards should be done in writing to start a paper trail. Article 14 requires that management shall make available at each installation Form 1767, to be used by employees in reporting unsafe and unhealthful conditions. If the form 1767 is not easily accessible, the shop steward should immediately file a grievance. This form provides a paper trail of an unsafe condition.

When a letter carrier or the representative of a carrier believes an unsafe or unhealthful condition exists, he/she may do any of the following: (1) File a report of the condition on form 1767 with the immediate supervisor and request an inspection of the alleged condition. (2) If the employee desires anonymity, he can have the safety captain or shop steward file form 1767, who will give the report to the immediate supervisor for necessary action. (3) Report the alleged unsafe condition to a steward, who may then discuss the condition with the employee’s supervisor.

Once an unsafe or unhealthful condition is reported, the immediate supervisor must promptly (within the tour of duty): (1) Investigate the alleged condition, (2) Initiate immediate corrective action or make appropriate recommendations, (3) Record actions or recommendations on PS Form 1767, (4) Forward the original PS Form 1767 and one copy to the next appropriate level of management, (5) Give the employee a copy signed by the supervisor as a receipt, (6) Immediately forward the third copy to the safety office.

In addition to completing a Form 1767, Article 14.2c. states that the employee may file a grievance at Formal Step A of the grievance procedure within fourteen days of notifying the employee’s supervisor if no corrective action is taken during the employee’s tour. It should be noted that retaliation against an employee for reporting a safety and health hazard is unlawful, and OSHA has a whistleblower process, which you may utilize to protect yourself.

No one should be forced to work in an unsafe environment. Unreported safety issues are accidents waiting to happen. When we practice and preach safely, the injuries we help avoid may be our own. Remember you are the most important delivery. Safety depends on me.

Outlook November / December 2015
Winter Months
Winter will officially arrive on December 22nd and as letter carriers, we must prepare ourselves for the brutal months ahead. Remember to never let your guard down when it comes to working outdoors during the cold, harsh winter.

Veteran letter carriers, as well as, newly hired CCA’s will be requested to work briefly or for sustained periods of time in cold weather conditions. Regardless of your age or physical condition, try your best to avoid overexertion in the winter months.

Cold weather can put a strain on your heart even without exertion.

Did you know a cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature? Cold air, water and snow can all draw the heat from the body. Working in cold weather puts a tremendous strain on your body, even for people in good shape. So remember to take frequent breaks and do not overexert yourself. Make sure you dress properly during the winter season. It is smart to wear several layers of lightweight clothing because in doing so air can be trapped between the layers and it will help to keep your body warm. Protect the extremities such as: the hands, feet and ears because they are the most susceptible to frostbite. Wear a hat; a large percentage of body heat is lost through the scalp.

Letter carriers must be able to identify symptoms of cold weather related problems. The two main health hazards related to overexposure to the cold weather are frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite occurs when body tissues freeze. The skin becomes hard and numb. Hypothermia occurs as a result of overexposure to the cold, which can cause the body temperature to drop to a dangerously low level. Left untreated, hypothermia can lead to unconsciousness and death. Symptoms of hypothermia can include: fatigue, drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, cool blush skin, slurred speech, and irrational and confused behavior. If you suspect hypothermia or frostbite, you should seek medical attention immediately. Move yourself to a warm, dry place. Remove any wet clothing and replace with warm, dry clothing. Drink warm liquids and avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. There are also other safety hazards involved when working in the cold. The cold weather can have an effect on the function of hands and fingers; leaving the worker with a loss of feeling and dexterity, which can make it difficult to handle letters and pushcarts and increase the chances of an accident. The cold can also affect a person’s mood. Letter carriers who are cold and uncomfortable may also be less alert to potential hazards, or may rush to get the job done so they can get to somewhere warm quickly.

ATTENTION ALL LETTER CARRIERS:
REMEMBER TO WORK SAFE AND SMART DURING THE WINTER MONTHS.
Outlook September / October 2015
Driving Safely
Dangerous environments, there are many in today’s workplaces. A hazardous atmosphere, moving materials and machinery are prime examples of dangers that exist in the workplace. One of the most dangerous environments around is one which we encounter every day, your vehicle. Think about it, most of us know someone who has been involved in an automobile accident.

Don’t misunderstand; it isn’t necessarily the vehicle itself that is dangerous, it’s what drivers do once they get behind the wheel that causes most of the incidents. Whether you drive while on the job or to and from work, motor vehicle safety is important.

All newly hired City Carrier Assistants (CCA’s) must attend a Safe Driver Program course and attend a 5-hour Defensive Driving class. Driver training consists of the following components: 1. Web-based driver training; 2. Vehicle Familiarization; 3. Skills Course; 4. Controlled driving; 5. Right-hand drive vehicles certification.

A defensive driver should always be aware of the vehicles and people around, and must make allowances for the total lack of attention of others. Remember, you have total control over your vehicle and you can stop an accident before it happens by being an observant driver. Before driving away in your vehicle, check the following: the dashboard should be clear, nothing hangs from the mirrors, and the mirrors should be adjusted properly. An alert driver pays particular attention when stopped at crosswalks and when making turns at intersections. These are common locations where pedestrians have been struck by vehicles.

All Letter Carriers should be following the USPS Policy for Operating a Postal Vehicle. Seatbelts should be worn at all times. Only authorized passengers are permitted in postal vehicles. All passengers must remain seated and wear a lap belt whenever the vehicle is in motion. Cellphones: talking or texting while driving a USPS vehicle is strictly prohibited. If an emergency should arise requiring the usage of a cellphone, exercise good judgement. Before making a call, park the vehicle and turn the engine off. Hands-free devices are not permitted in postal owned, leased or personal vehicles, which are being utilized to conduct official postal business. Vehicle doors: all vehicle doors must remain closed at all times while the vehicle is in motion. Exception: when operating a vehicle on delivery routes and performing actual delivery functions of the assignment and traveling intervals of 500 feet (1/100), or less at speeds of no more than 15 miles per hour between delivery stops, the right hand side door may remain open. All doors are to be closed when traveling through intersections and when non-delivery functions are being performed. Vehicle doors must be secured when the vehicle is left unattended and out of the driver’s immediate view. Usage of music ear pieces is prohibited. Don’t become complacent and assume your vehicle is in perfect running condition. All postal drivers should be performing an Expanded Vehicle Safety Checklist (Notice 76) prior to operating any US Postal vehicle.

Report deficiencies, body damage, or inoperable items to your supervisor using Form 4565, Vehicle Repair Tag, so the condition can be corrected or another vehicle provided. Drive safely and defensively at all times and remember that you, as Letter Carriers, represent the Postal Service when you get behind the wheel.

Outlook July / August 2015
Dignity and Respect
In July, I had the privilege of attending along with 1,500 letter carrier activists the 2015 NALC National Conference, which was held in Houston. There were several workshops and classes offered at this conference and one in particular caught my attention. It was titled, “Preserving the Right of Letter Carriers to be treated with Dignity and Respect,” led by NALC Director of Safety and Health, Manuel Peralta Jr. This class was three hours long and the main focus was to give shop stewards direction on the proper steps to take in order to improve the working conditions in their offices. The class further provided necessary contractual tools to address and stop the wide range of mistreatment by management. Management’s mistreatment varies from isolated incidents to everyday environments with full blown threats, intimidation, harassment, and bullying. I would like to share this information with all my brothers and sisters of Branch 36.

Letter Carriers throughout the country go to work each day with the commitment of “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.” In most offices, employees clock in, perform their normal duties without problems from their supervisors, clock out and go home. However in some offices, letter carriers are being subjected to mistreatment by their supervisor during their normal course of duties, which results in a poor working environment. Carriers describe the overwhelming feeling of dreading to come to work because of the way they are being treated and made to feel in the workplace. This type of environment is clearly labeled hostile or toxic. This mistreatment of letter carriers cannot be allowed to continue. Many letter carriers in the past have fought hard and achieved contractual protections against such treatment. Management’s harsh treatment of letter carriers violates one or more contractual provisions, which prohibits such behaviors and treatment. When something like this happens, letter carriers should speak to their shop stewards. Unfortunately, some letter carriers won’t stand up for themselves for fear of retaliation from their supervisor. One of the many jobs of a shop steward is to recognize such behaviors by keeping an eye out on the workroom floor and monitoring the treatment of their fellow letter carriers to ensure they are being treated with dignity and respect. Under no circumstances are there ever a legitimate reason for a letter carrier’s supervisor to treat him or her in a way which lacks dignity or respect. There is never a situation that would justify such treatment. A few common causes of mistreatment by managers are: pressure to make the numbers and meet workload projections, unhappiness with a carrier’s performance, a personal dislike of the individual, poor management skills, or simply a lack of respect for others. Fortunately, there are handbooks and manuals that protect us from such behavior. If you find yourself being mistreated by management ask your shop steward to file a grievance on your behalf. You or the steward should file a Form 1767 and identify the supervisor by name on the form and detail the mistreatment. You should use every tool available. Some of the contractual provisions, which prohibit the actions of the supervisor, are: (1) Article 14, Section 1 of the National Agreement “Responsibility states: It is the responsibility of management to provide safe working conditions and to develop a safe working force. (2) Handbook M-39, section 115.4 also contains language prohibiting the action of the supervisor; “Maintain Mutual Respect Atmosphere.’’, (3) Employee Labor Relations Manual (ELM) Section 665.24 Violent and/or Threatening Behavior. In addition, there are (1) “Joint Statement of Violence and Behavior in the Workplace” (M-01242) and (2) “Second Joint Statement of Violence and Behavior in the Workplace/’ (M-01243).

Outlook March / April 2015
Behavior in the Workplace
Origin of the Joint Statement of Violence and Behavior in the Workplace (M-01242)
The NALC, other postal unions, the Postal Service, and three postal supervisors’ organizations created and signed the Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace in February, 1992. The Joint Statement was created in the wake of tragic shootings of postal workers in Royal Oak, MI, in November, 1991. In the statement, the organizations committed to dignity, respect and fairness for all postal employees as a fundamental human right. They also promised to rid the Postal Service of the harassing, intimidating, and abusive behavior that can lead to workplace violence. They also promised to deny rewards to those who violated that right and to remove repeat offenders from the Postal Service. Six months later, the same parties issued a second Joint Statement, committing to continue the dialogue and pursue the first statement’s mandate of a safer, more harmonious and productive workplace.

The Supplemental Joint Statement on Violence was also issued in 1992 (M-1243). In 1996, National Arbitrator Carlton Snow declared that the Joint Statement was a binding contractual obligation that NALC may enforce through the grievance procedure. Snow empowered regional arbitrators to enforce the statement and issue remedies against postal supervisors who violate it. Although, once Snow’s landmark award, regional arbitrators have enforced the Joint Statement against postal supervisors where NALC has presented strong evidence of violent, abusive, harassing, or threatening behavior. They have ordered supervisors to apologize, get training, or be transferred from any position involving the supervision of letter carriers. More recently, regional arbitrators have ordered the Postal Service to remove a postmaster and to demote a supervisor and deny him promotions or raises for five years. Unfortunately, the Postal Service is challenging these arbitration decisions in Federal Court. NALC is opposing any moves to vacate valid arbitration awards or to undermine enforcement of the Joint Statement. Zero tolerance means that every act or threat of violence, regardless of the initiator elicits an immediate and firm response. The response could result in corrective action, up to and including, removal of the offender from employment with the Postal Service.

The concept of zero tolerance is based on the belief that no employee should have to work in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Every threat and every act of inappropriate behavior must be addressed. The zero tolerance policy provides the foundation for prevention, but that is only part of our prevention efforts and strategies. When the union is called upon to do something about abusive managers, we need evidence of their improper behavior. You, as shop stewards, branch officers, and letter carriers on the front line are responsible for the enforcement of the rule through labor management forums and/or the grievance procedure. Management must at all times maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect. Those words are found in Section 115.4 of the M-39. They are supposed to be the model of appropriate behavior in the workplace. They have no legitimate excuse, as they are responsible for making sure that the environment does not become hostile and/or antagonistic; therefore, when they cross the line, you need to protect your brothers and sisters.

There is no simple formula to proving violations of the Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace. What does not offend or affect you might offend and/or affect another employee. We have to use judgement as grievance handlers. It is all based on hard work, investigation and putting a solid grievance together. There is no simple formula to proving violations of the JSOV. To be successful in any grievance we must establish what happened, what provision of the contract, regulation, or law was violated, and what is the appropriate remedy. All of this begins with documenting what happened. You must help us keep an eye on each other.

Outlook January / February 2015
Customer Connect Corner
The NALC and the USPS mutually recognize that revenue growth through the increased use of Postal Service products and services is vital to the current and future success of the Postal Service. To that end, the parties jointly developed the Customer Connect Program, in which letter carriers use their access and special relationships with customers to encourage increased use of postal service products and services. Since mid-2003, letter carriers have successfully used Customer Connect to take advantage of their special relationship with businesses, encouraging business patrons to ship with the U.S. Postal Service instead of with a private delivery service. UPS and Fed-Ex are our biggest competitors. They recently introduced a new pricing feature called the dimensional (DIM) weight pricing on most packages. Simply put this will cost our customers more by shipping with our competitors. Our future is based on our ability to grow our business. Thanks to the participation of the letter carriers, since 2003 until the present day, the program has estimated annualized revenue of over 1.9 billion dollars. We are looking forward to breaking the 2 billion dollar mark.

Will your station be the one to take us to the top? Get in the race and take us to the top. It is extremely important for all letter carriers to continue to participate and support the Customer Connect Program. The NY District is considered the diamond of all districts. Here in the NY district, we are off to a great start. Just recently we had our first successful connection for this year. Letter Carrier Yvonne Chandler from Prince/Canal Street Station submitted a lead that generated over $50,000 in revenue for the Postal Service. Fiscal year 2014 had several successful leads submitted by carriers from Manhattan and the Bronx that generated revenue.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Danielle Smith from Williamsbridge Station as the New Customer Connect Coordinator for Vincent R. Sombrotto Br 36. Danielle Smith is leading and taking charge of the Customer Connect Program. Please give her your full attention and support as she goes out to visit the stations to conduct standups. I will be her backup, as my duties on the CDRAAP process will be taking up most of my time. Danielle is very enthusiastic and energetic and I applaud her for stepping up to the plate and taking on this new position.

Let your customers know that we, as letter carriers do more than just deliver mail. We deliver a full range of shipping services and solutions. The next time you visit a business on or off your route, ask them if they would be interested in someone contacting them on ways they can save money. Thanks for making the Customer Connect Program such a huge success.

Outlook November / December 2014
Darkness & Winter
There is an inscription on the James A. Farley Post Office in New York City which reads: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Letter carriers from the Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36, along with their brothers and sisters across the nation are working and delivering mail based on this motto. For your information, the United States Postal Service has no official creed or motto.

For the next few months, letter carriers will be required to work briefly and in some cases, for sustain periods of time in cold weather conditions; as well as in the dark. Letter carriers often face the difficult working environment that these obstacles entail. Regardless of what type of weather condition or environment you are working in, safety is of the utmost importance. Delivering mail in the dark is extremely challenging. If you find yourself delivering mail in the dark, remember safety is your number one priority. You cannot refuse to deliver mail just because it’s dark outside. What you can do is to not deliver the mail if you are placed in an unsafe situation due to the dark conditions outside. For example: not being able to see the steps leading up to the mailboxes because of the dark. The possibility of tripping and falling because the street lights are not functioning properly is also a problem. Always be alert of your surroundings when delivering mail when it’s pitch-dark outside.

Regardless of your age or physical condition avoid overexertion in the winter. Cold weather puts a strain on your heart, with or without exercise. A cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature. Cold air, water and snow all draw heat from the body. Working in the cold weather puts tremendous strain on the body, even for people in good physical condition. Remember to take frequent breaks and don’t overexert yourself. Make sure you dress properly for each weather condition. Wear several layers of lightweight clothing. Air trapped in between the layers helps to keep the body warm. Protect the extremities such as: the hands, feet and ears as they are the most susceptible to frostbite.

Wear a hat because a large percentage of the body’s heat is lost through the top of the head. Letter carriers should be able to identify symptoms of cold weather exposure.

The two main health hazards of overexposure to cold weather are frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite occurs when body tissues freeze. The skin becomes hard and numb. Most often frostbite affects: fingers, toes, nose, cheeks and ears. If you suspect frostbite, you should seek medical attention immediately. The person should be moved to a warm, dry area. Don’t leave the person alone. Remove any wet or tight clothing that may cut off blood flow to the affected area. Do not rub the affected area because rubbing it causes damage to the skin and tissue. Do not pour warm water directly on the affected area because it will warm the tissue too fast, causing tissue damage. Hypothermia occurs as a result of exposure to the cold, which can send the body temperature down to a dangerously low level. Hypothermia can occur in above freezing temperatures, when it’s windy outside, when someone is suffering from exhaustion or simply by wearing wet clothing. Untreated, hypothermia can lead to unconsciousness or even death. Symptoms of hypothermia may include: fatigue or drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, cool blushed skin, slurred speech, irrational or confused behavior. If you suspect hypothermia, you should call for emergency help (ambulance or call 911). Move the person to a dry, warm place. Remove any wet clothing and replace it with warm, dry clothing or wrap the person in blankets. Have the person drink warm, sweet drinks if they are alert. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. There are safety hazards involved with working in the cold. For example, the cold can affect the functions of hands and fingers with a loss to feeling and dexterity. Thereby, making it difficult to handle letters and pushcarts and increasing the risk of an accident. The cold can also affect a worker’s mood. Letter carriers who are cold and uncomfortable may be less alert to hazards or may rush to get the job done, so they can get inside and get warm.

ATTENTION LETTER CARRIERS:
REMEMBER TO WORK SAFELY AT ALL TIMES!
Outlook July / August 2014
Get Involved
Often we find that some decisions made by management did not adequately consider the risks it imposed on letter carriers. Therefore, we must investigate what has happened in the past in order to prevent the same outcome in the future. We must also question why we strayed from lessons learned in the past. A necessary element of our success will depend on how well we identify and correct hazards and educate letter carriers to work safely.

Management is responsible to provide safe working conditions in all present and future installations and to develop a safe workforce. The union will cooperate with and assist management to live up to this responsibility

If you believe that the contract was in fact violated, you have the right to process a grievance to uphold our bargain with the postal service through the negotiated grievance procedure, which can be found in Article 15. When it comes to safety and health issues you must discuss the problem with the supervisor. Article 14/ Section 2 provides that if an employee believes he/she is required to work under unsafe conditions, such employee may: (A) immediately notify the supervisor of the unsafe condition or (B) notify the employee’s steward who may in turn discuss the unsafe condition with the supervisor.

The goal is to correct a hazard as expeditiously as possible so that no one suffers from the hazard identified. If we cannot reach an agreement that there is a hazard and that the hazard must be corrected (abated), then we may have to process a grievance.

How do you report a hazardous condition? You can speak to your supervisor as previously stated; but where’s your proof? If that supervisor later denies that you reported the hazardous condition, how do we prove your side of the story? It’s very simple: Form 1767. The 1767 form is proof that a hazard was reported to management. Section 824.61 and 824.62 of the ELM explain the purpose of Form 1767 and further state that it must be easily accessible at your work location without the need to ask a supervisor for one.

Union and management have committed to working safely, correcting unsafe conditions and creating a process for reporting those conditions through the use of a form (PS form 1767). Once a condition is reported, the language goes on to say, if the condition is not corrected or abated during your tour of duty, then a grievance may be filed.
There are four sections on Form 1767:
Section (1) “Employees Action”.
Section (2) “Supervisor’s Action.
Section (3) “Approving Official’s Action.
Section (4) “Maintenance Action” complete if necessary.
Section 824.631 of the ELM explains the employees’ rights and closes with the following statement: “Discrimination against an employee for reporting a safety and health hazard is unlawful.” This warning is both contractual and legal as covered by OSHA regulations

Outlook March / April 2014
Zero Tolerance
Letter Carriers as US Postal Service employees have a right to perform his or her assigned duties in an atmosphere free of threats, assaults and other acts of workplace violence. The Postal Service has obligations 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 faced with the misconduct of disrespectful Managers. Some make threats to your job security. Threats or assaults made directly or indirectly toward any employee of the USPS will not be tolerated. This misconduct causes very real concern and apprehension on the part of employees 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 up to and including removal from the Postal Service. Letter Carriers should report any unusual situation that has the potential to cause workplace violence such as a threat to your shop steward. Threats of suicide are considered acts of violence. Reports to the inspection service at the request of the employee who reports the incident 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

Assaults: Any willful attempt to inflict injury upon the person of 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 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.

The grievance procedure must be used to put a stop to the inappropriate behavior of those managers who violate your rights mentioned in the above cited rules.

Outlook January / February 2014
Protect Yourself
Each day on the job brings new interactions and situations with customers and the public. Even though you are likely to know your route inside and out, be mindful of people and circumstances that could put you at risk. Treat suspicious persons seriously, even if you don’t see a weapon or feel like you’re in danger. If a suspicious person follows you, go to a safe place and contact the police. Call 911 if you’ve been robbed or assaulted. Then inform your supervisor. Your supervisor will contact the Postal Inspectors.

Once an attack or robbery has occurred, the criminal has crossed a psychological threshold. The criminal may resort to violence or even deadly force in order to demonstrate who is in charge of the situation and, if need be, to make his victim comply. Non-employees are responsible for the vast majority of workplace homicides. Most workplace homicides occur during the commission of a robbery.

What can you do to protect yourself? Avoid making yourself a target for robbers. Keep your cell phone in your pocket or out of sight. Avoid large wallets, showy jewelry, or any display of cash during your shift. If you are involved in a robbery, try to remain calm. Comply with any instruction. Nothing is more valuable than your life. If asked give the robber your money, your phone or even the mail. Let the robber control the situation and you’ll have a better chance of survival. Try to jot down any details you can remember, such as a description of the robber, the vehicle they may have used, and in which direction they traveled as they left. Remember the most important delivery of the day is yourself. Deliver yourself home to those who are dear to you, by playing it safe.

Outlook September / October 2013
PS Form 1767
Sometimes we find ourselves feeling like we'd rather not get involved in certain issues, but when it comes to our safety, and the safety of our co-workers, we need to make every effort to get involved to make sure safety concerns are identified and corrected. Safety is everybody's business. As safety captains and shop stewards we need to practice and preach safety to the letter carriers we represent. Article 14.1 in the JCAM (Joint Contact Administration Manual) clearly states, "It is management's responsibility to provide safe working conditions in all present and future installations and to develop a safe workforce." This is not to say we allow management to dictate what is safe, but quite the contrary. Like other provisions of the contract, the union must police it. Workplace safety is a joint effort. Article 14.1 says, "The union will cooperate with and assist management to live up to this responsibility." If a letter carrier believes he/she is being required to work under unsafe conditions, such employee should notify the supervisor who will immediately investigate the condition and take corrective action if necessary. The carrier should also notify the shop steward who may discuss the unsafe condition with the supervisor. Though not required, reporting safety hazards should be done in writing to start a paper trail. Article 14 requires that management shall make available at each installation Form 1767, to be used by employees in reporting unsafe and unhealthful conditions. This form provides a paper trail of an unsafe condition.

When a letter carrier or the representative of a carrier believes an unsafe or unhealthful condition exists, he/she may do any of the following: a. File a report of the condition on form 1767 with the immediate supervisor and request an inspection of the alleged condition. b. If the employee desires anonymity, he can have the safety captain file form 1767, who will give the report to the immediate supervisor for necessary action. c. Report the alleged unsafe condition to a steward, who may then discuss the condition with the employee's supervisor.

Once an unsafe or unhealthful condition is reported, the immediate supervisor must promptly (within the tour of duty): A. Investigate the alleged condition. B. Initiate immediate corrective action or make appropriate recommendations. C. Record actions or recommendations on PS Form 1767. D. Forward the original PS Form 1767 and one copy to the next appropriate level of management. E. Give the employee a copy signed by the supervisor as a receipt. F. Immediately forward the third copy to the safety office.

In addition to completing a Form 1767, Article 14.2c. states that the employee may file a grievance at Formal Step A of the grievance procedure within fourteen days of notifying the employee's supervisor if no corrective action is taken during the employee's tour. It should be noted that retaliation against an employee for reporting a safety and health hazard is unlawful, and OSHA has a whistleblower process, which you may utilize to protect yourself. Unreported
safety issues are accidents waiting to happen. When we practice and preach safety, the injuries we help avoid may be our own.

Just a reminder, the month of October has been designated fire prevention month nationwide. The USPS has designated the month of October (the first quarter of the fiscal year) for all stations to perform a total evacuation drill. The Emergency Evacuation Team Duty assignment form should be updated quarterly. It should be posted as well. If not updated or posted, file a 1767 requesting that it be posted and updated.

See you on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at our 37th Annual Dinner-Dance. Let's all party together.

Outlook July / August 2013
Summertime
Summertime in the city can be fun for vacationers but not for letter carriers. This summer, letter carriers will be required to work briefly or for sustained periods in hot weather conditions. Letter Carriers will face special hazards that such work entails. Regardless of your age or physical condition, avoid overexertion in the summer. Hot weather puts a strain on your heart. Being uncomfortable is not the major problem for letter carriers working in high temperatures and humidity. Letter carriers exposed to working in a hot environment face additional and generally avoidable hazards to their safety and health.

Be cautious when you are delivering on your routes. Don't let yourself be overcome by hot weather. Watch out for heat-related problems, such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. To reduce heat related problems, drink plenty of fluids and limit your time in the sun by finding a shaded area to take your break. Take frequent breaks if necessary.

Over 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. Letter carriers, therefore, should not depend on thirst to signal when and how much to drink. Instead, the carrier should drink 5 to 7 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish the necessary fluids in the body. There is no optimum temperature of drinking water, but most people tend not to drink warm or very cold fluids as readily as they will cool ones. Whatever the temperature of the water, it must be palatable and readily available to the worker.

I urge all letter carriers to be aware of the following symptoms: dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, or dry pale skin without sweating.

If you experience any of these symptoms, inform management and please seek medical attention immediately. Safety Captains get started on your summertime concerns. At your next safety committee meeting you should be discussing
what actions or plans are in place in the event the air conditioning system fails to operate during the upcoming summer heat. I urge you, do not wait until the AC system fails to start having these discussions. Very important don't forget to file Form 1767.

Have a safe and happy summer.

Outlook May / June 2013
21st Annual Food Drive, 2013
If you could use one word to describe this year's food drive effort, it would be phenomenal. A warm special thank you goes out to every Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 letter carrier who supported and contributed to this year's food drive cause. Whether you purchased a T-shirt, delivered a food drive postcard, made a monetary award, or handled a bag of non-perishable food items from a patron, you are part of the reason why this year's food drive was successful. As many of you know, the purpose of the food drive is to replenish the food supplied in our local food pantries, shelters and food banks. Because of the collective effort provided by each of you, we will accomplish that goal wholeheartedly. As our NALC President Fred Rolando emphasized that as successful as the food drive has been in the past, it simply must be better this year.

As millions of Americans are suffering in this country trying to make ends meet and put food on the table, our local food banks, pantries and shelters need our help more than ever this year. With all the devastation occurring and high unemployment, the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive comes at a most critical time. Last year we celebrated the drive’s 20th anniversary; we collected more than 70 million pounds of food. This year with the partnership of all rural carriers, we'll continue the tradition of doing what we can to help Americans in need.

Let's all remember letter carrier John Swander from Phoenix, AZ, Branch 576, who helped lead the way toward the creation of the NALC food drive. He died of complications associated with a stroke.

A special thank you goes out to my food drive committee members this year, Mike Kelly from Cooper Station and Karla Navas from Co-op City station. This year's food drive could not have been accomplished without their support.

The final results of our food drive for Branch 36 is 90,768 pounds.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL OUR DADS.

Outlook March / April 2013
Food Drive 2013

On Saturday May 11, 2013 Letter Carriers from Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 along with Letter Carriers across the nation including Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands, will once again deliver against hunger. May 11, 2013 will be the 21st anniversary for the NALC's Stamp Out Hunger national food drive. For two decades, our annual food drive has been critical in helping millions of American families. The letter carriers food drive is the nation's largest one day food collection in the nation. Each year the second Saturday in May is a day when all citizens have an opportunity, with the help of their Letter Carriers to donate food to needy families in their community.

Last year Letter Carriers proudly collected 70.7 million pounds of food. This was the ninth consecutive year the drive collected more than 70 million pounds of food. Since the drive began in 1993 we have collected more than 1.2 billion pounds of food. Assisting us are the food drive official sponsors, such as National Rural Letter Carriers Association, Campbell Soup Company, Valpak, U.S. Postal Service, United Way, AFL-CIO, Feeding America, Uncle Bobs Storage, AARP, GLS companies, Source direct Plastics, Publix and Valasis. Jeff Keane, son of famous cartoonist Bill Keane, creator of Family Circus, continues his father's tradition by providing the art work used to promote the food drive. This year we enter the drive with high unemployment, sky high food and gasoline prices, and budget cuts to federal nutrition programs. Some of our larger food banks are reporting declines in food inventories. The food drive helps replenish the food supplies in our local pantries.

Once again during the drive’s campaign letter carriers from Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 along with carriers across the nation will be allowed to wear T-shirts to promote and support the food drive. Letter carriers from Branch 36 will be allowed to wear their T-shirts the week of the drive. Contact your shop steward for T-shirt orders

With your support, we will make this year's food drive the best ever. We look forward to another breaking 21st year in 2013. For all inquiries contact your food drive coordinators David Velazquez, Mike Kelly and Karla Navas at (212) 239-3901.

Outlook January / February 2013
Working Conditions
Sometimes we find ourselves feeling like we'd rather not get involved in certain issues, but when it comes to our safety, and the safety of our co-workers, we need to make every effort to get involved to make sure safety concerns are identified and corrected. Safety is everybody's business. As safety captains and shop stewards we need to practice and preach safety to the letter carriers we represent. Article 14.1 in the JCAM (Joint Contact Administration Manual) clearly states "It is management's responsibility to provide safe working conditions in all present and future installations and to develop a safe work force."

This is not to say we allow management to dictate what is safe, but quite the contrary. Like other provisions of the contract, the union must police it. Workplace safety is a joint effort. Article 14.1 says, "The union will cooperate with and assist management to live up to this responsibility." If a letter carrier believes he/she is being required to work under unsafe conditions, such employee should notify the supervisor who will immediately investigate the condition and take corrective action if necessary. The carrier should also notify the shop steward who may discuss the unsafe condition with the supervisor. Though not required, reporting safety hazards should be done in writing to start a paper trail. Article 14 requires that management shall make available at each installation Form 1767, to be used by employees in reporting unsafe and unhealthful conditions. This form provides a paper trail of an unsafe condition.

When a letter carrier or the representative of a carrier believes an unsafe or unhealthful condition exists, he/she may do any of the following: a. File a report of the condition on form 1767 with the immediate supervisor and request an inspection of the alleged condition. b. If the employee desires anonymity, he can have the safety captain file form 1767, who will give the report to the immediate supervisor for necessary action. c. Report the alleged unsafe condition to a steward, who may then discuss the condition with the employee's supervisor. Once an unsafe or unhealthful condition is reported, the immediate supervisor must promptly (within the tour of duty): A. Investigate the alleged condition. B. Initiate immediate corrective action or make appropriate recommendations. C. Record actions or recommendations
on PS Form 1767. D. Forward the original PS Form 1767 and one copy to the next appropriate level of management. E. Give the employee a copy signed by the supervisor as a receipt. F. Immediately forward the third copy to the safety office.

In addition to completing a Form 1767, Article 14.2c states that the employee may file a grievance at Formal Step A of the grievance procedure within fourteen days of notifying the employee's supervisor if no corrective action is taken during the employee's tour. It should be noted that retaliation against an employee for reporting a safety and health hazard is unlawful, and OSHA has a whistleblower process, which you may utilize to protect yourself. Unreported safety issues are accidents waiting to happen. When we practice and preach safety, the injuries we help avoid may be our own.

Vince
My condolences go out to the family and dear friends of Vince Sombrotto. Many of us letter carriers find ourselves going back and forth to work day by day, year by year not wondering or ever contemplating what Vince Sombrotto was able to accomplish for the letter carriers. I'm not going to lie to you, I was one of those. That ended the day I came down to a general membership meeting at our union hall at Branch 36. As I sat there listening to our officers I gazed along the walls and noticed framed descriptions of an event that took place in 1970. There it was - the events that led up to a strike that Vince headed in 1970 which changed the working conditions and life of the letter carriers. When the meeting was over I went over to the wall and read each and every description of events that led up to the strike of 1970. Vince did not only challenge the U.S. Postal Service, he challenged Congress as well. He led a strike that shut down post offices across the country, defying a law barring federal employees from striking. He was one of our own, a letter carrier from Branch 36.

Suffering with the rest of the membership at the time. Needing two jobs to make ends meet to support his family. An interesting fact is that Vince was not a shop steward when he led the strike of 1970. The strike started with Branch 36 and lasted 8 days as it spread across the country. Our union was united and strong. The strike provided full collective bargaining rights for most postal workers. Within a year after the strike, Vince became President of Branch 36. In 1978 he became our National President and held that position until 2002. Here we are today. We still have our union and collective bargaining rights. So come on down to Branch 36 union hall (your union hall). The officers of Br. 36 invite you to come to our general membership meetings. Get involved, stay informed, ask questions, read the writings along the wall. Vince wouldn't want it any other way. Let's keep Vince's legacy alive and strong with unity.
Rest in Peace.

Outlook September / October 2012
Safe Driving
Dangerous environments. There are many in today's workplaces. They may be dangerous because of a hazardous atmosphere or because of moving materials or machinery which can injure you. But one of the most dangerous environments around is one which you encounter everyday - your vehicle. When you think about it, most of us know of someone who has been involved in an automobile incident.

It isn't necessarily the vehicle itself that is dangerous; it's what drivers do when they get behind the wheel that causes most of the incidents. Whether you drive on - the job or just to and from work, motor vehicle safety is an important part of your workplace safety. The Northeast Area has recognized a very dangerous trend involving USPS drivers. During the upcoming months with school in session, the possibility of pedestrians getting struck by motor vehicles increases. Some of these accidents might occur in crosswalks and will result in serious injuries to pedestrians.

Here are some tips for staying safe and alive while in that "dangerous environment", the motor vehicle. Make sure the vehicle is mechanically sound and well maintained. As a defensive driver, you should always be aware of the vehicles and people around your vehicle and make allowance for the lack of attention of others. Remember that you have total control of your vehicle and you can prevent this type of accident from occurring. Before driving away in your vehicle, you should be checking to make sure the dashboard is clear of materials; nothing is hanging from your mirrors, and all mirrors have been adjusted properly. Pay particular attention when stopped at crosswalks and when making turns at intersections. These are the locations where we have struck pedestrians.

All Letter Carriers should be following the USPS policy for operating a Postal vehicle. Seat belts should be worn at all times the vehicle is in motion. Only authorized passengers are permitted in Postal vehicles. All passengers must remain seated and wear a lap belt whenever the vehicle is in motion even for short trips. Drive at a safe speed, neither too fast nor too slow. Some road and weather conditions may call for speeds lower than the posted speed limit. Do not follow too closely. Leave a two second space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Give your undivided attention to your driving. No matter what they are, forget those distractions when you get behind the wheel. Your only task now is to drive in a safe and professional matter. Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving while impaired by prescription drugs and even hangovers has been the cause of many incidents. Cell Phones: talking or texting when driving any USPS vehicle is prohibited. If an emergency occurs requiring the usage of a cell phone, exercise good judgment. Before making a call, park the vehicle and turn the engine off. Hands free devices are not permitted in postal owned, leased or personal vehicles which are being utilized to conduct official postal business. Vehicle doors: all vehicle doors must remain closed at all times while the vehicle is in motion. Exception: when operating a vehicle on delivery routes and performing actual delivery functions of the assignment and traveling intervals of 500 feet (1/100) or less at speeds of no more than 15 miles per hour between delivery stops, passenger side may remain open. All doors are to be closed when traveling through intersections and when non-delivery functions are being performed. Vehicle doors must be secured when the vehicle is left unattended and out of the driver's immediate view. Usage of music earpieces is prohibited. We as letter Carriers become complacent so don't assume your vehicle is in perfect running condition. All Postal drivers should be performing an Expanded Vehicle Safety Checklist (Notice 76) prior to operating any US Postal vehicle.

Expanded Vehicle Safety Check List:
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. Inspect rear tires for uneven wear or under-inflation,
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.

Note: This checklist has been designed to take the driver in a logical sequence around a RHD vehicle with a minimum of lost motion. For LHD vehicles, move from the front to the right side rather than to the left side. For items 16 and 17, if no assistance is readily available, handle personally.

Report deficiencies, body damage, or inoperable items to your supervisor using Form 4565, Vehicle Repair Tag, so the condition can be corrected or another vehicle can be provided.

A motor vehicle can present a great threat to your safety. It is not like any other industrial hazard. Treat both your motor vehicle and yourself with the respect that you deserve. Drive safely and defensively at all times and remember that you as a Letter Carrier represent the Postal service when you get behind the wheel.

Outlook July / August 2012
EAP - Keep Cool
Don't get it twisted! This EAP stands for (Emergency Action Plan). Every station should have one.

You might be thinking about it or you might not be, the dreadful thought of evacuating your premises in the event of an emergency. Why wait till an emergency arises to begin to ponder what to do? You are putting your life as well as the life of your loved ones in jeopardy. Take a few moments and discuss an emergency evacuation plan with your family. The life you're saving will not be just your own.

A workplace emergency is an unforeseen situation that threatens employees, customers or the public; disrupts or shuts down operations; or causes physical or environmental damage. Emergencies may be natural or manmade and include the following: Floods, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Fires, Toxic gas releases, Chemical spills, Radiological Accidents, Explosions, Civil Disturbances, and workplace violence resulting in bodily harm and trauma.

What are the U.S. Postal Service responsibilities concerning an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency?

A Postal Service facility with more than 10 employees must maintain a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP). If there are 10 or fewer employees, a written plan is not required. Before an EAP is implemented, train designated employees to assist in the safe and orderly emergency evacuation of all employees.

Every U.S.P.S. facility is responsible for conducting an unannounced emergency evacuation drill once each quarter. To spell it out that would be four times a year. One quarterly drill must be a total evacuation. The other three will be only to the fire exits. Management is responsible for assigning responsibilities to personnel assigned to evacuation duties. Duties listed are squad monitors, searchers, exit guards, fire wardens and assistant wardens. Management is also responsible to train employees upon their initial assignment to the duties listed.

The first part of an emergency plan is to become familiar with your floor plan. In case of fire, you should know the location of and how to use all fire alarm stations and the location of all fire exits for your facility.

Follow the directions given by the assigned emergency evacuation team members and supervisors in your area. Evacuate your area immediately; do not go to your locker to retrieve personal items. Do not use elevators during an emergency. Elevator use during an emergency evacuation is prohibited.

Follow all fire evacuation procedures during fire drills as well as during an actual emergency. Your local office must provide a method or methods to get disabled or handicapped employees out safely. Do not engage in any disruptive or unnecessary talking that might prevent others from hearing and understanding instructions and direction. Move quickly but do not run, to the nearest exit. If you follow these simple emergency evacuation procedures the outcome will be positive.

Summer months might be winding down but the heat continues to rise. Don't let your guard down. During these crucial hot days letter carriers whether driving or delivering mail are working in environments where they're exposed to high temperatures, humidity and direct sun. This increases the risk of a heatrelated illness. As letter carriers we must be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with heat. By knowing the signs and symptoms, we can reduce the risk of heat-related health problems. Heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur when the body is unable to cool itself by perspiring.

Heat illnesses range from mild to severe and can be life threatening if not recognized and taken care of immediately. Signs and symptoms include weakness, usually heavy perspiration, excessive thirst, muscle aches or cramps, and confusion or anxiety. Other symptoms can include headaches, fainting, rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath. So, during the hot weather, drink plenty of water, dress appropriately and seek shelter from the sun when possible. Anyone who experiences symptoms of a heat-related illness should seek medical attention immediately.

Outlook May / June 2012
Summertime
Summer is fast approaching. Carriers let's get ready. Don't let your guard down when handling the summer heat.

Summertime in the city can be fun for vacationers but not for letter carriers. For the next few months, letter carriers will be required to work briefly or for sustained periods in hot weather conditions. Letter Carriers will face special hazards that such work entails. Regardless of your age or physical condition, avoid overexertion in the summer. Hot weather puts a strain on your heart even without exercise.

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

Be cautious when you are delivering your routes. Don't let yourself be overcome by hot weather. Watch out for heat-related problems, such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. To reduce heat-related problems drink plenty of fluids.

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. Letter carriers therefore, should not depend on thirst to signal when and how much to drink. Instead, the carrier should drink 5 to 7 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish the necessary fluids in the body. There is no optimum temperature for drinking water, but most people tend not to drink warm or very cold fluids as readily as they will cool ones. Whatever the temperature of the water, it must be palatable and readily available to the worker.

I urge all letter carriers to be aware of the following symptoms: dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, or dry pale skin without sweating.

If you experience any of these symptoms, inform management and please seek medical attention immediately. Safety Captains get started on your summertime concerns. At your next safety committee meeting you should be discussing what actions or plans are in place in the event the air-conditioning system fails to operate during the upcoming summer heat. I urge you, do not wait till the AC system fails to start having these discussions. Very important, don't forget to file Form 1767

Have a safe and happy summer.

Memorial Day, 2012
We wish to honor all those members of the military who gave their lives so that we may live in peace and justice. We are forever indebted to them.
Food Drive 2012
Once again the letter carriers of Branch 36 along with letter carriers across the nation step up to the plate and answer the call concerning the 20th Annual NALC Food Drive. A special thank you goes out to all that helped out. It's amazing even during these rough times with high unemployment, skyrocketing gas and food prices people still find it in their hearts to support and provide food to those who are less fortunate. The pantries in our neighborhoods are in desperate need to replenish their food supplies. Letter carriers are committed to ending hunger not only in their neighborhoods but also across America. The total number of food collected is not available as of this writing but I'm confident it will be a positive one. It gives me and my partner Mike Kelly great pleasure to be part of this great and important cause. We were amazed how supportive and enthusiastic you were when we went around visiting the stations. Unfortunately, every station we visited didn't get a chance to see the food drive video, but whether you saw the video or not you were very receptive and understood the importance of this cause. As letter carriers we should all be proud of the fact that the second Saturday in May has turned out to be the largest one day food drive in the nation.
Outlook March / April 2012
Food Drive 2012
Saturday May 12, Letter Carriers from Branch 36 along with Letter Carriers across the nation including Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands, will once again march against hunger. The drive, the largest one day food collection in the nation has been a success every year. May 12, 2012 will be the 20th anniversary for the NALC's Stamp Out Hunger national food drive. For two decades, our annual food drive has been critical in helping millions of American families. Each year the second Saturday in May is a day when all citizens have an opportunity, with the help of their Letter Carrier, to donate food to needy families in their community.

Last year Letter Carriers proudly collected 70.2 million pounds of food. This was the eighth consecutive year the drive collected more than 70 million pounds of food. Since the drive began in 1993, we have collected more than 1.1 billion pounds of food. Assisting us are the drive official sponsors, such as National Rural Letter Carriers Association, Campbell Soup Company, Valpak, U.S. Postal Service, United Way, AFL-CIO, Feeding America, Uncle Bob's Storage, and AARP.

This year we enter the drive with high unemployment, sky-high food and gasoline prices, and budget cuts to federal nutrition programs. Some of our larger food banks are reporting declines in food inventories. The food drive helps replenish the food supplies in our local pantries. Back again as the drive's official spokesperson is singer and "America's Got Talent" host Nick Cannon, and this year's special "Family Circus" artwork is dedicated to the memory of long-time supporter and famous "Family Circus" cartoonist Bil Keane who died in November. Once again during the drive's campaign, letter carriers from Branch 36, along with carriers across the nation, will be allowed to wear T-shirts to promote and support the food drive. Your shop steward will be taking orders for T-shirts.

With your support, we can make this year's food drive the best ever. For all inquiries contact your food drive coordinators David Velazquez and Mike Kelly at (212) 239-3901. A huge shout out to my partner and friend Orlando Gonzalez. Wish you the best and congratulations on your new position.

Safety Committee
As we enter into a new year and our National Officers are fiercely negotiating our contract, we as letter carriers of Branch 36 must continue our efforts to maintain a safe and healthy working environment. This can be easily accomplished with or without the cooperative effort from management. This is not to say we don't need management to maintain a safe and healthy environment. Art. 14.1 in the JCAM clearly states it is management's responsibility to provide a safe working environment but it is the union's responsibility to cooperate with and assist management in its efforts to fulfill this responsibility. The employer and the union insist on the observance of safe rules and safe procedures by employees and insist on correction of unsafe conditions. In a perfect world this can be accomplished effortlessly.

Perfect world and the USPS in the same sentence might seem impossible. There are other ways to accomplish this feat. One method is to establish a committee. Art. 14.4 in the JCAM requires the creation of local, joint safety committeesvat each installation with fifty or more employees, and encourages creation of committees at smaller facilities when requested by the union. In small facilities without committees, safety and health issues may be discussed in labormanagement meetings. Who are the members of the safety committee?

At the local level the safety committee shall consist of one representative from each of the unions at the installation; letter carriers, clerks, mail handlers, maintenance. There shall be equal representation on the committee between the unions and management. The safety philosophy of the committee is as follows: A: All injuries can be prevented. B: Management, which includes all levels through the initial level supervisor, has the responsibility of preventing injuries. C: It is possible to safeguard against all operating exposure that may result in injuries. D: All employees must be trained to work safely and to understand that it is to their advantage, as well as the Postal Service's, to work safely, and that they have a definite responsibility to do so in order to avoid the pain and suffering caused by accidents. E: It is good business from the standpoint of both efficiency and economy to prevent personal injuries on-the-job and off the job.

As a Branch 36 Letter Carrier serving on the safety and health committee, you must have a personal commitment to make accident prevention a part of your daily work. You can demonstrate your commitment through leadership and by setting an example by working safely and observing safe practices. Safety never just happens. If a workplace is safe, it is because somebody is working to make it safe. As a member of the safety and health committee, you are playing a major role in making your workplace safe for all employees. On the spot inspection of particular troublesome areas may be made by individual committee members when requested to the chair of the committee. Such request shall not be
unreasonably denied.

Responsibility of the committee members are as follows. Attend all scheduled meetings. Create and maintain an interest in safety and health and thereby help to prevent accidents. Review local safety and health rules and assist management with the enforcement of these rules. Review all letter carriers safety and health suggestions. Review all Forms 1767 (report of hazard, unsafe condition) and 1769 (Accident Report). Individual grievances will not be discussed during a local committee meeting. Article 14.7 in the JCAM states, the local safety and health committee must meet at least quarterly, but may meet more often if it wishes, on official paid time. The contract specifically identifies the creation of a Safety Committee. If your station does not have a Safety Committee, let's get involved and create one. For any further assistance you can contact me at 212-239-3901.

Summertime
Summer is finally here.
Summertime in the city can be fun for vacationers but not for letter carriers. For the next few months letter carriers will be required to work briefly or for sustained periods in hot weather conditions. Letter carriers will face special hazards that such work entails. Regardless of your age or physical condition, avoid overexertion in the summer. Hot weather puts a strain on your heart even without exercise.

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

Be cautious when you are delivering on your routes. Don't let yourself be overcome by hot weather. Watch out for heat-related problems, such as heatstroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. To reduce heat-related problems, drink plenty of fluids.

In the course of a day's work in the heat, a letter carrier may produce as much as two to three 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 less fluids than needed because of an insufficient thirst drive. Letter carriers therefore, should not depend on thirst alone to signal when and how much to drink. Instead, the carrier should drink five to seven ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish the necessary fluids in the body. There is no optimum temperature of drinking water, but most people tend not to drink warm or very cold fluids as readily as they will cool ones. Whatever the temperature of the water, it must be palatable and readily available to the worker.

I urge all letter carriers to be aware of the following symptoms: dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting or dry pale skin without sweating. If you experience any of these symptoms, inform management and please seek medical attention immediately.

Stress and Health
Life in a perfect world would exclude stress. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Both in the office and in the street, the responsibilities and tasks of a letter carrier are very demanding. In the office we are watched by our managers, a supervisor, and the wannabe 204bs. Let's not forget the king of all watchdogs on the work floor, DOIS.

Working conditions play a primary role in causing job stress. Stress sets off an alarm in the brain, which responds by preparing the body for defensive action. The response is preprogrammed biologically. Everyone responds in much
the same way, regardless of whether the stressful situation is at home or work. Short- lived or infrequent episodes of stress pose little risk. But when stressful situations go unresolved, the body is kept in a constant state of activation, which
increases the rate of wear and tear to our biological system. Stress plays an important role in several types of chronic health problems, such as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal disorders and psychological disorders.

Some employers assume that stressful working conditions are a necessary evil, that companies must turn up the pressure on workers and set aside health concerns to remain productive and profitable in today's economy. But research findings challenge this belief. Studies show that stressful working conditions are actually associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness and intention by workers to quit their jobs, all of which have a negative effect on the bottom line. Low morale, health and job complaints, and employee turnover often provide the first signs of job stress. But sometimes there are no clues, especially if employees are fearful of losing their jobs. Letter carriers should not make a hasty decision while under stress. You should seek assistance immediately. The U.S. Postal Service has an EAP (Employee Assistance Program). EAP is a free, voluntary and confidential program that offers work or life consultation to postal employees and their families. You can call 800-327-4968 (800-EAP-4YOU) anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You will always speak to an EAP representative when you call. For the hearing impaired with TTY equipment, call TTY at 877-492-7341. Remember your first visit to EAP is conducted on the clock.

Hydration

As a basic ingredient of life, water should be a concern for all of us. Everyone must be aware of his or her water intake because hydration affects the whole body, from the cells to the digestive system to the brain and everything in between. The body is made up of 60 percent water, and every system of the body depends on it. It flushes toxins out of the organs and provides a moist environment for body tissues. It lubricates body tissues and joints. It regulates body temperature and metabolism. It eliminates waste in the blood and the intestines. All the cells in our body require it.

Many of us make the mistake of not drinking enough water throughout the day. The average recommendation for women is to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. For men, the average is a minimum of eight glasses a day. Those are the average recommendations, but overall it depends on the person's size, their environment and how much they sweat.

Some people think if they drink tea or coffee, they are ingesting a good amount of water. You should not rely on caffeinated beverages as your main drinking source. Too much caffeine causes the kidneys to excrete more fluid.

The fluid you are taking in is being released too quickly. Also alcohol is a diuretic which can increase urination and in turn cause a dehydrating effect. If we drink too little water, we get dehydrated. There's a test you can try to see if you are dehydrated. Pinch the skin on top of your hand and then let go. The skin should sink immediately back to your hand. If it slowly lies down, you need to drink.

People don't always need water to hydrate, for example, fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water. Watermelon and tomatoes, for instance, are 90 percent water by weight. The human body wants balance. So sipping water throughout the day helps our body stay on an even keel. Drinking the right amount of water also helps us maintain a healthy weight. In our sugar-laden culture, many of us drink unhealthy beverages with meals. You should drink water with your meals because there is no reason to have extra calories while eating. Not only does drinking the right amount of water help with our health and weight, it also can affect our mood. Water is one of the basic nutrients. A hydrated being is a happier being. Ultimately, water is very important for every part of our lives.

P.S.: Safety Captains, just a reminder: March 30th is the end of the 1st Quarter - don't forget to conduct your Safety and Health committee meeting with management. If you don't have a safety and health committee you can discuss safety and health issues at the Labor-Management meeting.

Cold Weather Hazards

Technically, winter has officially arrived. For the next few months, letter carriers will be required to work briefly or for sustained periods in cold weather conditions. Letter Carriers will face special hazards that such work entails. Regardless of your age or physical condition, avoid overexertion in the winter. Cold weather puts a strain on your heart even without exercise.

A cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature. Cold air, water and snow all draw heat from the body. Working in cold weather puts a tremendous strain on the body, even for people in good shape. Take frequent breaks and don't overexert yourself. Make sure you dress properly for the conditions. Wear several layers of lightweight clothing. Air is trapped between the layers to help keep the body warm. Protect your hands, feet and ears as they are the most susceptible to frostbite. Wear a hat as a large percentage of the body's heat is lost through the top of the head. Letter Carriers should be able to identify symptoms of cold-related problems.

The two main health hazards of overexposure to cold weather are frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite occurs when body tissues freeze. Skin becomes hard and numb. Most often frostbite affects fingers, toes, nose, cheeks, and ears. If you suspect frostbite, you should seek medical attention immediately. Move the person to a warm dry area. Don't leave the person alone. Remove any wet or tight clothing that may cut off blood flow to the affected area. Do not rub the affected area, because rubbing causes damage to the skin and tissues. Don't pour warm water directly on the affected area because it will warm the tissues too quickly causing tissue damage.

Hypothermia occurs as a result of exposure to cold, which can send body temperatures down to a dangerously low level. Hypothermia can occur in above freezing temperature when it's windy or when a person is exhausted or wearing wet clothes. Untreated, hypothermia can lead to unconsciousness and death. Symptoms of hypothermia may include fatigue or drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering; cool blush skin; slurred speech; irrational or confused behavior.

If you suspect hypothermia you should call for emergency help, ambulance or call 911. Move the person to a warm dry place. Remove any wet clothing and replace with warm dry clothing or wrap the person in blankets. Have the person drink warm, sweet drinks if they are alert. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

The major risk factors for cold-related stresses:
1. Wearing inadequate or wet clothing increases the effects of cold on the body.
2. Taking certain drugs or medication such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and medications that inhibit the body's response to the cold or impair judgment.
3. Having a cold or certain diseases such as diabetes, heart, vascular, and thyroid problems, may make a person more susceptible to the winter elements.

There are other safety hazards involved with working in the cold. For example, the cold can affect the functions of hands and fingers so that a worker loses feeling and dexterity, making it difficult to handle letters and pushcarts, thereby increasing the chance of an accident. The cold can also affect a worker's mood. Letter carriers who are cold and uncomfortable may be less alert to hazards or may rush to get the job done so that they can get inside and get warm.

Attention letter carriers, remember to work safe and smart during the winter months.

 
.Evacuation
You might be thinking about it or you might not be, the dreadful thought of evacuating your premises in the event of an emergency. Why wait till an emergency arises to begin to ponder what to do. You are putting your life as well as the life of your loved-ones in jeopardy. Take a few moments to discuss an emergency evacuation plan with your family. The life you're saving will not just be your own

A workplace emergency is an unforeseen situation that threatens your employees, customers or the public, disrupts or shuts down your operations; or causes physical or environmental damage. Emergencies may be natural or manmade and include the following: Floods, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Fires, Toxic gas releases, Chemical spills, Radiological Accidents, Explosions, Civil Disturbances, and Workplace violence resulting in bodily harm and trauma.

What are the U.S. Postal Service responsibilities concerning an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency?

A Postal Service facility with more than 10 employees must maintain a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP). If there are 10 or fewer employees, a written plan is not required. Before an EAP is implemented, train designated employees to assist in the safe and orderly emergency evacuation of all employees.

Every USPS facility is responsible for conducting an unannounced emergency evacuation drill once each quarter. To spell it out, that would be four times a year. One quarterly drill must be a total evacuation. The other three will be only to the fire exits. Management is responsible for assigning responsibilities to personnel assigned to evacuation duties. Duties listed are squad monitors, searchers, exit guards, fire wardens and assistant wardens. Management is also responsible to train employees upon their initial assignment to the duties listed.

The first part of an emergency plan is to become familiar with your floor plan. In case of fire, you should know the location of and how to use all fire alarm stations and the location of all fire exits for your facility.

Follow the directions given by the assigned emergency evacuation team members and supervisors in your area. Evacuate your area immediately. Do not go to your locker to retrieve personal items. Do not use elevators during an emergency. Elevator use during an emergency evacuation is prohibited.

Follow all fire evacuation procedures during fire drills as well as during an actual emergency. Your local office must provide a method or methods to get disabled or handicapped employees out safely. Do not engage in any disruptive or unnecessary talking that might prevent others from hearing and understanding instructions and direction. Move quickly but do not run to the nearest exit. If you follow these simple emergency evacuation procedures, the outcome will be positive.

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