USPS Worker's Death During Record-Breaking Heat Wave Prompts OSHA Investigation

 Workers at the Woodland Hills Post Office load their delivery Trucks. The trucks' lack of air conditioning may have contributed to Peggy Frank's Death.   Courtesy: The Orange County Register

Workers at the Woodland Hills Post Office load their delivery Trucks. The trucks' lack of air conditioning may have contributed to Peggy Frank's Death.  Courtesy: The Orange County Register

On July 6, 63-year-old USPS carrier Peggy Frank was found dead inside her postal vehicle in Woodland Hills, CA. Temperatures that day reached a blistering 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius), higher than the previous July 6 temperature record by over 10 degrees. Federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is currently conducting an investigation into the cause of death.

USPS's fleet of delivery trucks consists mostly of older right-hand-drive delivery which lack air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, and airbags. A recent email from USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum stated that the Postal Service is conducting research and testing for a new fleet of delivery vehicles, but the email failed to mention whether the new fleet would have the safety and comfort features sorely lacking in the current fleet. “Our goal is to obtain vehicles that will help us provide reliable and efficient delivery service for customers while meeting the needs of our employees to best do their jobs safely,” Frum said.

When another Postal Service worker died from excessive heat exposure in 2012, the corresponding OSHA investigation found that the Postal Service “did not have procedures in place to address worker concerns during times of excessive heat.”

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