As I write this article we have once again made it thru PEAK mailing season and our first snow storm of the season has begun.  I want to thank all of our hard working members for stepping up to the challenge once again and making this a successful month, regardless of management’s failure to staff properly.  Also, what better time than now to take a minute to remind folks of some winter safety precautions one can take while at work.  Every winter there are numerous postal at fault accidents right here in our own backyard. Some of these accidents are avoidable and some aren’t.   For some Postal employees driving in bad weather is just part of the job.  With the push by USPS management to get more work done with fewer employees we some times find our selves sacrificing safety to get the job done.  And what happens if we get in an accident while performing our jobs?  You are almost guaranteed to get disciplined or even fired for working unsafe!

As such, I would like to remind employees that they can not be forced into situations that pose a safety risk for themselves our others.  Wear proper footwear to ensure you have better traction on slippery sidewalks and in parking lots.  You must adjust your driving habits to match the current weather conditions.   If you driving down the road and conditions get so bad that your safety and others is in jeopardy (snow, ice, visibility), find a safe place to pull over and stop the vehicle.  Immediately call your supervisor and inform them of the weather conditions and that you have pulled over and are waiting for conditions to improve to proceed with your assigned duties.  Even if management gives you a direct order to continue with the unsafe act, you may refuse and restate the safety concern and that you will continue your duties once the conditions improve.  It is your right to work in a safe  environment.

Another safety issue that pops up each year is snow accumulation in the parking lots at postal owned facilities.  As you have all seen the snow piles up quickly.  As it does, the piles of snow slowly encroach into the lanes of traffic.  This results in less clearance and greatly increases the chance of an accident.  If snow piles up in the parking lot and restricts the flow of traffic, report this to a station manager/supervisor or fill out a PS Form 1767.  The postal service has maintenance employees and/or contracts with local companies to deal with the clearing of snow at all Postal owned facilities.  I have personally seen several of these written contracts and it is clear that there isn’t to be any snow stored on postal property. It is the duty of the contractor to transport this snow off the property to a location secured by them.   Also, each of these contracts is supposed to salt/sand each time they clear the parking lot of snow and are required to do so as requested by postal management within 2 hours of a call (icy conditions).  If the parking lots and sidewalks are icy report it to a supervisor immediately so a bargaining unit employee and/or contractor is notified to spread some sand or salt.

So this winter do not let the winter weather get the best of you.  Use all of the avenues at your disposal to ensure you do not put yourself or others  in an unsafe situation.  As management always tells us, safety starts with you.

Wishing you an yours a happy new year,

Dave Cook
Vice President