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Safety first

Best practices: Preventing heat-related illnesses

Bakersfield, CA, Letter Carrier Joe Lavoie
Bakersfield, CA, Letter Carrier Joe Lavoie follows the Postal Service’s guidelines on staying safe during hot weather.

Joe Lavoie takes heat safety seriously.

The longtime letter carrier delivers mail and packages in Bakersfield, CA, where summertime temperatures are often in the 100s.

“It does get hot here,” Lavoie says.

To protect himself, he follows the guidelines that USPS provides employees who work in hot weather.

Here are the tips:

• Hydrate before, during and after work. Drink at least 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes.

• Dress appropriately for the weather. On warm days, wear light-colored, loose-fitting and breathable clothing to keep your body temperature down.

• Use the shade to stay cool. When possible, use shaded areas to stay out of direct sunlight.

The Postal Service also encourages employees to learn to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

These signs include hot, dry skin or profuse sweating; headaches; confusion or dizziness; nausea; muscle cramps; weakness or fatigue; and rashes.

Employees must immediately notify their supervisor and call 911 if they experience signs of heat-related illnesses.

Lavoie appreciates the Postal Service’s efforts to educate employees.

“Many heat-related illnesses are preventable when you recognize the symptoms and know what to do,” he says.

“Best practices,” a series on employees who demonstrate on-the-job excellence, appears regularly in Link.

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