Repetitive strain injuries among U.S. Postal workers

Repetitive strain injuries among U.S. Postal workers

The surge in online shopping has brought thousands of more packages through the doors of the U.S. Postal Service, meaning – in some cases – more job security, but also a potential for an increase in repetitive strain injuries. Lifting, sorting, bending and reaching for packages that may weigh 50 pounds or more can take a toll on the human body.

Due to the physical demands of their job, postal workers may be overcome by exhaustion and fatigue, especially with an understaffed workplace. It’s not only postal clerks susceptible to lower back pain, musculoskeletal injuries, sprains and strains, but package deliverers and mail truck drivers, too.

Fifty-pound bags of dog food and furniture parts are common packages that flow through post offices, and they’re not easy to lift. And those overwhelming number of packages aren’t about to let up. Last year, package volume at the post office grew by 589 million pieces. That same year, 5.7 billion packages comprised about 28 percent of the postal service’s revenue.

Guidelines to prevent injuries

The result? More injuries at work. That’s why it’s important to do your utmost to avoid repetitive strain injuries. Here are some guidelines for any worker who lifts heavy objects in the workplace:

  • Bend your knees. By doing this, you will limit the strain on your back.
  • When lifting heavy objects, work with a team. Don’t go it alone or use a cart or a dolly to move it.
  • Wear proper footwear that has a good thick sole and consider adding insoles. A good shoe may help you avoid a slip-and-fall injury.
  • Daily and nightly stretching exercises will help, too. Doing so may strengthen your back, make your muscles more flexible and prevent injury.
  • Exercise on a regular basis. This can help you stay in good condition and prepare you for any additional physical on-the-job challenges.

Repetitive motion injuries are more common than you think, especially in the workplace. By being prepared and doing some physical preparation beforehand, you may be able to prevent serious injury.

Strategies to combat sexual harassment in the workplace

Strategies to combat sexual harassment in the workplace

It’s not your fault. If you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, always remember that it’s not your fault. Sexual harassment has gained a great deal of attention lately in the high-profile white-collar world, but this crisis is also prevalent among blue-collar workplaces such as in the hotel and food industries.

The restaurant industry in particular has been notorious for its widespread tolerance of sexual harassment, but this is changing. Still, some of the industry’s workers don’t know what is considered sexual harassment in the workplace or even how to report it.


Signs of sexual harassment

For starters, incidents of sexual harassment can be:

  • Sexually-charged comments
  • Inappropriate stares
  • Unwanted touching
  • Open hostility
  • Verbal abuse
  • Violence
  • Rape and assault

A number of sexual harassment incidents go unreported because victims fear retaliation. In the cases of some workers, their paycheck may be the only one being brought home for the family. They may fear losing their jobs, getting demoted or being scheduled fewer hours.

Strategies for dealing with sexual harassment

Here are some strategies that will help you if ever faced with sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • Confront the harasser if it's safe to do so and assertively tell them to stop his or her behavior.
  • Keep records of what happened. Include the time, location, description of incident, and names of witnesses.
  • Confide in someone. It’s likely that you are not the only victim in this workplace.
  • Follow your company’s guidelines for reporting harassment and seek outside help if your claim falls on deaf ears.

Yes, you will need courage to get through such trying times. There may be struggles. There may be tears, but you eventually will overcome being the victim of sexual harassment. Society is becoming more aware of this problem, and we know that there’s no room for sexual harassment in the workplace or anywhere else.