The USPS has recently rolled out new panic button capabilities for its 230,000 postal workers who work in the field making deliveries. The need for such capabilities was elevated in 2014 after a brutal attack of a postal worker in broad daylight in Washington, DC. Postal workers face danger in the field every day, with over 400 attacks per year and additional 5700 incidents with dog bites.
In response to the situation, the postal service has dug deep into their pockets to fund a device which incorporates GPS and panic alarm functionality, as part of a plan to also introduce real-time delivery notifications with a total investment of in excess of $200m.
This is an encouraging story because it clearly shows the employer of one of the largest mobile workforces in the country taking decisive action to improve a seemingly worsening situation (9% increase over the past 5 years) of attacks on their workers.
We could not agree more on the spirit of the postal services’ approach, utilizing available technology to address a a recognized problem. The confidence and sense of safety that workers who utilize mobile worker safety solutions was summed up well in this piece by Jeff Williamson, Chief of Human Resources for USPS.
In addition the idea of segregating the risks faced by mail carriers to be both human threats and animal threats, shows some thought into the diversity of workplace hazards. In this case these hazards are arguably social and environmental, with the ability of workers to stay connected being core to the safety strategy developed by USPS.
Other professions face similar hazards while in the field – social work, home healthcare, real estate and others – with similar needs to be connected quickly and efficiently to emergency services.
Postal workers face threats OUTSIDE THE DOOR, while these other professions encounter potentially dangerous situations on the Inside of the door.
So we applaud the steps taken by the postal service, because they share some of the thought, strategy and ethos we in GuardianMPS uphold.
Worker Attacks are not an acceptable part of the job.
Worker protection is the responsibility of the employer/workplace provider.
Ensuring mobile workers are protected while carrying out their duties must be a prime concern for their employers.
In delivering assistance to a dispersed workforce, technology can help.
Those workers who benefit from panic alarm and location systems have a heightened sense of security. Workers like Nilo Parin, attacked by a dog while delivering mail in Virginia and interviewed in the CBS piece.
Well done USPS. We recognize many of the key benefits of your newly launched employee monitoring system, because we know what we are looking at and what GuardianMPS customers are looking for.
We may not be able to tell our customers when their mail arrives, but that same sense of security and support your workers now have is shared by all the customers we offer service to.
Full text and video of the CBS article here.