UPS drivers share the crazy temperatures they work in every day, showing readings on some trucks well over 100F (38C).
On Tuesday, Teamsters for a Democratic Union tweeted images of thermometers on UPS trucks that read between 116F (47C) and 121F (49C).
“UPS CEOs would never agree to work in 120 or 130 degree offices. Neither should drivers,” the group within the union representing UPS drivers wrote on the social media platform.
UPS driver Elliot Lewis asked: “Why does @UPS refuse to install fans in our trucks?”
“Drivers get heat stroke and die. UPS refuses to install A/C or fans while installing cameras on trucks,” he added.
Mr Lewis included a photograph of a “driver’s vehicle inspection report” in which the request to install a fan had been refused because it was a “company decision”.
The guide also included a screenshot of an agreement between the Teamsters Union and UPS that “the parties agree that a motorist requesting a fan shall submit such request through the local Safety and Health Commission for approval. Any disputes regarding fan installation will be referred directly to the Co-Chairs of the National Safety and Health Committee for resolution. This request is not unreasonably rejected.”
The family of a 24-year-old UPS driver who died in June after collapsing in Los Angeles while delivering packages believe the cause of death was heatstroke, according The guardian.
Later that month, a homeowner in Scottsdale, Arizona released video of a UPS driver’s doorbell collapsing in front of his door as he delivered a package in 110F (43C) heat.
The driver in the video has not been identified. He was later seen getting up and walking back to his truck.
UPS said in a statement at the time that the driver was OK, and a company spokesman added The independent on Wednesday that drivers are “trained to work outdoors and the effects of heat.”
“The health and safety of our employees is our highest priority,” UPS said. “Preparation, rest, hydration and maintaining good health practices are key to working outdoors. UPS invests more than $260 million annually to implement programs that focus on safety, including working in hot weather.”
Many US states have seen temperatures above 38 degrees Celsius this summer, especially in the south and west. Four deaths in the Pacific Northwest are being investigated for possible links to the heat after last week’s high temperatures in the region and more than 100 million Americans have faced multiple heat warnings this summer. The guardian famous.
Experts have repeatedly warned that the situation will worsen significantly if not dealt with properly, with heatwaves being longer and more intense.
The Teamsters tweeted a list of demands last month, saying UPS has not shared “any scientific evidence that air conditioning” in its trucks “would be ineffective.”
The union added that federal guidelines “clearly recommend that such cooling is in fact an effective means for employers to mitigate the risk of heat illness at work.”
The Teamsters said every truck should have fans. Currently, a request must be made and drivers must then “endure a process” before the installation can take place, according to the association.
UPS could also install ice machines, water, cold neck towels and adjust their uniforms to perform better in the heat. The Teamsters added that more drivers should be hired to free up time for current drivers to focus on rest and hydration.
Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien said in a statement last month that “by refusing to implement these safety measures, the company is literally sending drivers to die in the heat.”
On Wednesday, UPS said The independent that “our parcel delivery vehicles make frequent stops, which require the engine to be turned off and the doors to be opened and closed, about 130 times a day on average. We’ve studied heat mitigation with our vehicles and incorporated forced air systems with ventilation to create airflow around the driver and cargo areas. We optimize the roof of the vehicles to minimize heat in the cargo area, alongside insulating the cabin roof. We also offer fans to drivers upon request.”
The Teamsters union began campaigning for a better deal with the company on Monday. The current contract between UPS and the union expires next August. The drivers are hoping for better working conditions as well as an increase in wages.
UPS also noted in the email to The independent that they “have a program developed with input from occupational health and safety experts that focuses on educating workers about hydration along with nutrition and proper sleep prior to working in warmer temperatures.”
“We have morning meetings with drivers throughout the year, reminding them of forecast temperatures and encouraging them to be aware of their own health conditions. In the summer, in addition to providing water and ice to employees, we provide regular heat illness and injury prevention training to all business managers and drivers,” the spokesperson added.