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There are more than dogs to fear if you are a postal worker

If you are a U.S. postal worker in Ohio, you risk your safety whenever you are out on your mail-delivery rounds. Did you know that your job is one of the most hazardous occupations in the country? Each of the various locations in which you deliver pieces of mail poses unique hazards that require safety precautions.

When you walk up to a home and slide a piece of mail through the slot on the door, you probably consider the possibility of having a not-so-friendly dog on the other side. Yours would not be the first index finger severed by a dog. However, canines are not the only hazards of your job. 

Bites and stings

According to the rules of the United States Postal Service, you can refuse to deliver mail to an address where an animal threatens your safety. However, keeping the following in mind may prevent bites:

  • Do not lose sight of the possibility of insects or even wasps in outside mailboxes. Insect repellent could help one avoid bites and stings.
  • Remember that most dogs protect their owners, and handing the dog owner a piece of mail might seem threatening. Instead, placing the mail in the box will be safer.
  • Although pepper spray might deter a dog that attacks you, preventing an attack is better. Back away and avoid eye contact with a threatening dog.

Driving hazards

Regardless of whether you use your personal vehicle or a USPS vehicle to deliver mail, the following precautions can keep you out of the hospital:

  • Check your vehicle at the start of each shift to ensure its safety and avoid breakdowns.
  • Be vigilant while you drive, and look out for pedestrians. Be mindful of child pedestrians when you work in residential areas.
  • Always keep a safe following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Use particular caution when you pull away after stopping at mailboxes.
  • Avoid handling pieces of mail while you are driving.
  • Never spend extended periods, such as rest breaks, inside your parked vehicle on summer days. Heatstroke remains a significant hazard.

Slip-and-fall hazards

Falls caused by slips and trips are leading causes of occupational injuries in all industries. However, the following steps could prevent such accidents:

  • Avoid taking shortcuts, and do not rush.
  • Avoid distractions while you walk.
  • Observe the environment, and watch your step.
  • Wear proper shoes, and be particularly careful in inclement weather.
  • Always use handrails when they are available.

Lifting hazards

Your job will often have you lifting and carrying large or heavy objects. Take note of safe lifting techniques to avoid musculoskeletal injuries:

  • Make sure you have one foot behind the object and one foot beside it before starting the lift.
  • Use your leg muscles instead of your back muscles by keeping a straight back and bending your knees when you lift the object.
  • Always make a point of holding your elbows and the item close to your body when you carry large or heavy objects.
  • If the object slips, do not try to prevent it from falling. Instead, let it fall to avoid injuring yourself.
  • Never hesitate to ask for help with lifting an object that is too heavy for you to handle by yourself.

How will you cope with the financial consequences of a work-related injury?

Having to deal with mounting medical bills, along with lost wages, can cause anxiety and lead to additional health problems. The Ohio workers' compensation insurance system is a no-fault program, and even if your injuries resulted from your own error, you remain entitled to compensation. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can navigate your benefits claim while you recover and prepare to return to work. Your medical expenses and a percentage of your lost wages will likely form a part of your compensation.

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