What Led to a Kansas City Postal Carrier’s Death?
The U.S. Postal Service is facing federal fines for workplace safety violations following the fatal collapse due to heat exhaustion of a postal carrier in Kansas City over the summer, according to the Kansas City Star. The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined that the particular branch did not have proper procedures in place, which contributed to the death of John Watzlawick, 57.
Watzlawick had finished the end of his route on July 24 and complained to supervisors that he felt sick, but he still needed to work two hours of overtime. His supervisor told him to continue working the two overtime hours. Shortly after, he collapsed delivering mail. He was rushed to a nearby hospital with a body temperate 10 degrees higher than normal—he died shortly thereafter from heat exhaustion.
“This tragedy underscores the need for employers to take proactive steps to keep workers safe in extreme heat,” says OSHA’s Charles Adkins. “If this employer had trained workers in recognizing the symptoms of heat stroke, and taken precautions to ensure workers had access to water, rest and shade, this unfortunate incident may have been avoided.”
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