Hazard evaluation and technical assistance Report: HETA-2000-0014-2792, United States Postal Service, Dayton, Ohio.
On October 12, 1999, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) from the Senior Safety Specialist (Cincinnati District) of the United States Postal Service (USPS). The request stated that truck drivers who load and unload bulk mail from delivery trucks in Dayton, Ohio, were experiencing back, chest, shoulder, and neck injuries from pushing, pulling, and maneuvering the containers of mail. A NIOSH ergonomist evaluated mail delivery tasks on December 16, 1999, and January 27, 2000. The push forces needed to load trucks with mail containers at the main mail facility in Dayton, Ohio, and unloaded at six remote mail facilities in the Dayton area ranged from less than 10 pounds to over 100 pounds. The push forces were generally higher at the remote locations than at the main dock. Medical records summaries provided by the Post Office indicated that during the first 9 months of 1999, 7 of 42 drivers sustained injuries that required assignment to light duty work until they recovered sufficiently to resume their normal work activities. The results of the NIOSH investigation indicate that the manual maneuvering of loaded mail carts, particularly at the remote mail facilities in the Dayton area, requires forces that are beyond the capability of most workers. Adherence to Post Office guidelines regarding the proper handling and loading of mail containers would be helpful in reducing the risk of injury to the drivers who unload the trucks, but a mechanical aid is likely necessary to reduce the risk of injury to sufficient levels. Additional recommendations aimed at reducing the risk of injury to the truck drivers who load and unload the mail containers are included in this report.