The United Parcel Service (UPS) has a distinct presence in our homes, businesses, and roadways. The brown and gold trucks are iconic, and the service they offer is invaluable. But at what cost?
According to an NBC News investigation, UPS exposes its employees to excessive heat. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined UPS more than $13,000 for violating workplace safety laws.
The NBC investigation revealed that over 100 UPS employees were hospitalized from 2015 to 2018 due to heat-related injuries. That number is more than any other company except the United States Postal Service (USPS). Despite reports of employee injuries, UPS has continued to operate its trucks and warehouses without air conditioning. The cargo areas can reportedly reach temperatures of 150 degrees, which is certainly hot enough to cause heat-related illnesses.
The OSHA citation stated that the temperatures observed in UPS warehouses and delivery trucks were hot enough to cause:
- Heat cramps
- Heat exhaustion
UPS Contests Citation and Claims
UPS is contesting claims that they do not take employee safety seriously. The company reportedly said that the injuries reported (more than 100) represent only a fraction of their workforce. Instead of being comforting, that statement instead begs the question of how many injuries it takes to become a problem.
UPS employees maintain a neutral position about the citation. Overall, employees are well trained and are able to manage their health. However, most agree that more could be done to prevent heat-related illness and injury.