On an average day, 51 U.S. Postal Service mail carriers will experience a fall while working.
The Postal Service reports that last year, 18,684 carriers experienced a fall at work. With deliveries every day, including all seasons and weather conditions, carriers continue to experience falls in urban, suburban and rural settings.
Most falls are preventable.
To ensure mail carriers’ safety, we are asking all residents and business owners to identify and correct hazards on their properties. Walk the path your carrier takes along your property to identify hazards. This might be an entrance that you do not commonly use, so you may not be aware that a hazard is present. Cracks in steps and porches, loose railings, uneven sidewalk joints, and loose bricks or blocks in the walkway can be caused by deterioration over time.
Consider making repairs as quickly as possible. If you are not able to make the repair, block off the area or add paint to an uneven surface to bring attention to it.
Leaves, rain and ice cause slick surfaces that also pose a fall hazard. Keep leaves off the walking paths, use sand in paint for traction on porches, and clear ice and snow from the path your carrier takes.
If a carrier feels unsafe, mail service could be interrupted, and when that happens, mail must be picked up at the Post Office. Service will not be restored until the necessary corrections have been made.
Here are four simple tips to prevent slips, trips and falls by mail carriers and others on private property year round:
Inspect the path:
Walk the path your carrier takes along your property to identify hazards. This may be an entrance that you use less often. You may not realize that there is a hazard present. Replace doormats that roll up along the edges, and use rubber-backed mats to prevent them from sliding. Ensure there is adequate lighting along the walking path for early or later deliveries.
Cracks in steps and porches, loose railing, uneven sidewalk joints and loose bricks or blocks in the walkway can be caused by deterioration over time. Water is a main culprit. Check drainage slopes and look for pooling areas, as this will also prevent slippery ice spots in the winter. Make repairs as quickly as possible. If you are not able to make the repair, block off the area or add paint to an uneven surface to bring attention to it.
Control slippery surfaces:
Leaves, rain and ice can all pose serious fall hazards. Keep leaves off walking paths, use sand in paint for traction on porches, and clear the ice and snow from the path your carrier takes.
Postal customers with access to postal notification features, such as Informed Delivery for letter mail and package tracking, are urged to use these features to determine if mail is expected that day, and to ensure a path has been adequately cleared for the carrier to make a safe delivery. Expecting a package delivery on a Sunday? Postal officials urge residents and business owners to clear delivery paths of hazards throughout the weekend.
With your help, we can keep our carriers, your neighbors and your property safe. Thank you for protecting your property and our mail carriers as we continue to bring packages and correspondence to your door each day.
The writer is the postmaster of the Sidney Post Office.