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Many UPS drivers are falling sick and calling for safety measures as temperature soars

Many UPS drivers are falling sick and calling for safety measures as temperature soars

Many UPS drivers are falling sick and calling for safety measures as temperature soars. Workers exposed to the outdoors are increasingly suffering from the heat. This is as heat waves sweep the nation and areas like Texas and Oklahoma see record-breaking summer temperatures.


More than a dozen UPS employees and union leaders claim the heat is to blame. This is for a higher-than-normal number of sick days and hospitalizations. As a result, they’re putting pressure on the corporation to take further safety precautions.

Jeff Schenfeld, a union steward in Dallas and a 25-year UPS veteran, observed that “left and right folks are falling out.” It’s different this time around. ” Many more folks are in attendance.”

Despite being the largest package delivery company in the world, UPS ubiquitous brown vans and facilities lack air conditioning. The firm added cameras to its delivery vehicles after a record year. However, it did not improve its heat safety standards. This compounded long-standing issues about the corporation’s objectives, according to the union.


In North America, the largest collective bargaining agreement covers over 350,000 UPS employees. This agreement ends on December 31, 2019. The employees’ union, heat protection will be a crucial topic in the impending discussions. This is according to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Union general president Sean M. O’Brien remarked that “UPS has not been proactive at all on the matter of heat, and that’s going to have to change.”

Many UPS drivers are falling sick and calling for safety measures as temperature soars

According to the Teamsters, given the conditions, UPS should take urgent measures to ensure the safety of its drivers. This is in a letter to the public last week. Some ways to make it easier are to give out neck towels, keep water and ice on hand at all times. Also, by wearing more breathable clothes and hire more drivers.

“The corporation is basically sending drivers out to perish in the heat.” This is according to O’Brien, by refusing to apply these safety measures.

As part of the “cool solutions” program designed with regulators, UPS says it provides frequent heat sickness and injury prevention training for its employees, as well as water and ice, to keep them cool while on the job.

During these sessions, employees and management discuss safety concerns. Also, the firm says it responds quickly when problems are brought to their notice.

A spokeswoman for the company said, “The health and safety of our personnel is our first priority.” In other words, “We don’t want our people to work until they’re putting their health and safety at risk.”

During the summer, UPS workers are at risk of heat sickness. This can result in locked muscles, renal failure, and even death. Some of the company’s most recognizable vehicles lack front-mounted fans and none have air conditioning. There are also dangerously hot warehouse floors and dock areas where the company’s loaders are working.

Company policy is that it does not air condition its fleet of package trucks. This is because frequent pauses and the large vehicles’ dimensions render air conditioning “ineffective.” Large warehouses with unlocked loading dock doors are no exception.

Heat Hazards

Experts in workplace safety say it’s difficult to estimate how many of the company’s employees are hurt each year because of the heat. The actual number of deaths and hospitalizations is far lower. This is despite the fact that workplace safety officials keep tabs on heat-related deaths and injuries. While it may take weeks for some people suffering from heat illness to fully heal and return to work, this was not the case for Moczygemba. He was discharged from the hospital after just a few hours of treatment.

According to some UPS employees, going in and out of the back of trucks to fetch items often seems like a sauna. Workers in Arizona and Florida with heat index readings of 126 and temperatures exceeding 150 degrees. This is were confirmed by federal inspectors from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


This year, UPS has taken measures to reduce the temperature in its vans. According to the corporation, it has built ventilation systems to boost airflow. Its also adjusted the roofs for heat reduction and insulation and provided drivers with fans if they so choose.

A UPS package delivery driver in Tampa, Hector Medina, says that “even without the sun hammering down,” this work is extremely taxing. Heat exhaustion might leave you “brain dead” when you get home, according to the author.

Medina claims that despite the fact that it has been hotter this summer, the company’s workload has not changed as a result of the extreme heat.

Health and safety advocate

Juley Fulcher, a worker health and safety advocate, said that UPS workers’ quest for stronger safety safeguards from the firm is indicative of what workers around the country. This is particularly those in the delivery industry, confront when temperatures rise.

However, UPS is special, according to her. This is because of its scale and the “very comprehensive protocols” it has in place for its employees.

She added that as a result of their structure, “they’re in a unique position to actually do something about this.”

Since many of UPS’ primary rivals have significantly fewer unionized employees, UPS’ thousands of unionized workers have a greater opportunity to speak out about worker safety concerns there. As news of UPS drivers passing out from exhaustion has appeared year after year, tensions between the company and the union have risen.

The local Teamsters union in New York City staged a protest on Thursday. That is,  after learning that four UPS employees in Long Island and Manhattan had visited emergency rooms. This is in the space of two days, according to union officials. At that point, Vincent Perrone, the head of the local union, declared that he was suspending all union representatives from the company’s weekly safety meetings.

He stated in an open letter that the committee might be reinvigorated. That is, if and when the company takes the safety of its employees seriously.

Deaths from the heat wave

In early July, a crew of UPS workers sent thermometers to several dozen vehicles 1,500 miles. This is away from Oklahoma, which had been battered by several weeks of record-breaking temperatures of 100 degrees or more. They recorded 12 temperature readings ranging from 110 to 127 degrees on a 103-degree day.

An anonymous package-car driver claimed, “There are living creatures in the back of my package vehicle, and I have no idea whether or not all of those lizards are alive by the time they arrive at somebody’s house.”

A total of 600 more people lost their lives in Oregon and Washington last summer. This is as a result of the extreme heat. To put it bluntly, my patients and many others will suffer significant health repercussions as climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events like heat waves. When it comes to weather-related mortality, heat is the leading cause, according to the National Weather Service.

My coworkers and I have looked at the number of people who have died as a result of heat-related causes in the contiguous United States in two recent studies. More than 13,000 to 20,000 adults died as a result of excessive heat exposure between 2008 and 2017, most of them owing to heart disease.

Read: Visa’s attempt to remove itself from child porn lawsuit was blocked by federal judge

More than 20,000 fatalities in North America are thought to be caused by hot weather each year, according to research that focused on average temperatures rather than high temperatures.

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