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Sure footing

Madison, WI, Letter Carrier Tom Cappaert

Tom Cappaert knows firsthand the importance of wintertime safety.

The Madison, WI, letter carrier was delivering mail on a snowy day a few years ago when he slipped and fell, injuring his elbow. Although he wasn’t seriously hurt, he learned a valuable lesson.

“When you’re on a decline, you have to try to lower your center of gravity by bending your knees and taking very short steps. Check each time you step to make sure you have good footing,” he says.

USPS wants all employees to take precautions during the winter.

To avoid accidents and possible injuries, Cappaert offers his colleagues the following advice:

• Be alert. “There are days when you can’t see the ice,” he says. “Decks made of composite wood are very, very slippery this time of year, even if you’re wearing different sorts of ice cleats on your shoes. So watch out.”

• Pay attention. Only scan mail and packages at the point of delivery — not while walking. “You have to pay attention to where every footstep lands, so you should wait until you are in front of the door to scan,” he says.

• Drive carefully. “Curbside mailboxes are very difficult this time of year because your vehicle might slide past them. Also, make sure you have three points of contact when exiting because the steps on the vehicle can get slippery if there’s snow on them.”

Cappaert also recommends taking extra care while walking on steps.

“Always use the handrail,” he says. “Pay attention to where your foot is landing on the steps. If your foot slips, you’re going down.”

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