Letter Carriers for the United States Postal Service can best be described as FEDERAL ATHLETES.
Your job description describes physical activities that over time must lead to bodies breaking down. The key term there is “over time”. This is exactly why the Department of Labor allows for federal employees to get treatment for conditions that result from hard word done over a long period of time. These conditions are reported using the OWCP form CA-2, “Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation”.
The CA-2 is used for reporting injuries and illnesses that develop over 2 or more work shifts. 2 or more. I know letter carriers (and other federal employees from other agencies and within the postal service) who spend entire careers delivering the mail. 2 or more shifts? Try 20 or 30 years or more. The average American probably doesn’t understand what a USPS letter carrier is required to do in a typical work shift. Let’s take a look at some of it here.
A letter carrier is required to work an 8 hour shift, but if asked by the supervisor to work overtime, is required to work up to 4 more hours (for a total of 12). Letter carriers are required to carry a satchel around their back or over their shoulder that weighs up to 35 pounds. All carriers are required to load and deliver packages weighing up to 70 pounds. (Side note: go to a gym today and lift a 50 pound dumbbell and imagine doing that throughout your day, every day. Then add 20 pounds.) When delivering mail, carriers must bend down or stretch over obstacles to place the mail in a box while the 35 pound satchel is on their back or shoulder. And this is done in all weather conditions: extreme heat, pouring rain, freezing ice or snow, which creates a hazard of slips and falls, and carriers are constantly twisting and turning in the vehicle to deliver the mail.
Extreme physical stress is constantly placed on the letter carrier’s back, neck, shoulders, and knees by walking five to eight miles or more a day over all kinds of terrain and in all weather conditions. I talked to a carrier in Dallas, TX who said she walked 23 miles that day. That’s 3 miles short of a marathon.
In extremely hot places like Dallas, TX, carriers are required to do their jobs in 100+ degree temperatures causing heat exhaustion, which can dehydrate and break down muscles. In cold weather places like Boston, MA, carriers are required to do their jobs in frigid temperatures with snow and ice that cause carriers to slip and fall and hurt knees, ankles, backs, and shoulders in the process. I can remember an icy day in Denton, TX where the only vehicles on the roads were mail trucks. Rain, sleet, or snow, the mail gets delivered.
So, does anyone think you’re job is going to get easier tomorrow? Next week? Next month? NO. And too many letter carriers are making the decision to not go through the difficult and complicated OWCP process and just suffer with injuries and struggle through daily work activities. Let me tell you something: just “sucking it up” actually makes your job HARDER. Lift that 70 pound tray with back pain. Step up and down from your mail truck with knee pain. Put that satchel back over your painful shoulder. Limp your way through tomorrow’s 10-mile route.
Your injuries are making your jobs harder and the federal government has given you a way to make it better. FILL OUT YOUR CA-2 FORMS AND TURN THEM IN TO YOUR SUPERVISOR TODAY. This allows you to get your painful condition accepted by OWCP and get treatment while you continue doing your job. THIS MAKES YOUR JOB EASIER. DOL doesn’t want you to suffer with painful conditions. On the CA-10, “What a Federal Employee Should Do When Injured at Work,” DOL mandates that you report your conditions IMMEDIATELY and fill out your CA-2 form with your supervisor. So, do it. Don’t suffer through it.
The CA-2 form exists so that federal employees, such as the USPS letter carrier, can get help for painful conditions and continue to work. America needs its mail delivered, but it doesn’t need it’s letter carriers to break down in the process.
YOUR JOB IS NOT GETTING EASIER TOMORROW. SO GET HELP TODAY. Report your condition to your supervisor. Fill out your CA-2 form. Call the OWCP-trained doctors at Federal Injury Centers in Denton, Frisco, McKinney, and Dallas, TX, or contact the OWCP doctor in your area. If you can’t find one, contact us here and we’ll try to help guide you to a doctor who understands and is willing to help you with your OWCP CA-2 injury claim.