The United Parcel Service, or UPS, is the world’s largest delivery service. While the company usually makes headlines for its competitive wages and union talks, it is in the media now for a different reason. For the first time in many years, UPS has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Following an NBC News investigation, OSHA cited UPS more than $13,000 in penalties for exposing UPS drivers to “excessive heat.” The investigation, which was concluded in July, found that over 100 UPS drivers had been hospitalized with heat-related injuries from 2015 through 2018. This number is more than what has been reported by any other company other than the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Anyone who has ever worked for UPS, or known someone who did, has likely heard the employee complaints about the heat. UPS does not air-condition their warehouses or delivery trucks. It is reported that temperatures can reach up to 150 degrees in these areas. Combined with long working hours and hauling heavy loads, this heat can cause serious injuries. OSHA notes that exposure to these high temperatures can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and death.
UPS has replied that they plan to contest the citation. They state that they have reviewed the allegations, and dispute the fact that their working conditions have caused injury. UPS further states that their employees are well trained to manage their health and wellbeing.