What’s different at the Post Office after Peggy Frank’s death a year ago in extreme heat?
WOODLAND HILLS >> One year after veteran mail carrier Peggy Frank died of overheating in her mail truck, U.S. Postal Service employees say noticeable changes have been made at the Woodland Hills Post Office to better protect workers from extreme heat.
Frank, 63, was found dead in her non-air conditioned mail truck on July 6, 2018, on an afternoon that temperatures in this suburban Los Angeles neighborhood had soared to 117 degrees. The Postal Service is challenging citations along with nearly $150,000 in penalties proposed by workplace safety investigators in the wake of Frank’s death.
Several current and former employees at the Post Office spoke to the Los Angeles Daily News on the condition of anonymity because of the Postal Service’s strict policy forbidding employees from speaking to reporters, which can result in formal warnings and other punishment.
“After her death, they started giving ‘stand-ups’ constantly on how to recognize heat illness, heat stroke, what to do if they think you have it and they started telling a little bit more about how to hydrate,” one interviewee said. “A complaint I always had was that they didn’t tell you how to properly hydrate … that you should be drinking all night, all morning before you go outside. Then, they started changing that.”
The stand-up or safety talks, which are generally given by supervisors in the morning, are now given on a near-daily basis at the Post Office whereas they were delivered more sporadically before, according to employees.