Postal workers afraid to work, say they aren’t provided protection during COVID-19

Investigations

 AUSTIN (KXAN) — US Postal Service workers say they lack supplies and can’t protect themselves during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“There is no precautions taken to separate the public from the worker inside the post office,” says a tipster to KXAN News. “The grocery stores are providing clear shields for its clerks but not the US Post Office.”

KXAN has heard from several postal employees worried about their safety and health. They say the Postal Service has been slow to provide workers with protective gear. 

“They want us to disinfect our vehicles every day, but they don’t give us no supplies to disinfect our vehicle. They want us to buy hand sanitizer. Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of the company?” wrote in one frustrated USPS worker to KXAN.

The Postal Service says millions of masks, gloves and cleaning and sanitizing products are available and distributed to more than 30,000 locations every day. 

KXAN talked to one employee who says last week her post office provided masks and gloves.

“As we continue to perform our vital service for America’s people and businesses, the safety and wellness of our employees remains of primary importance to the Postal Service,” says Becky Hernandez, Communications Specialist with USPS.

The Postal Services says employees are encouraged to follow the 6 feet social distancing guidelines. 

“We have implemented measures at retail facilities and mail processing facilities to ensure appropriate social distancing, including through signage, floor tape, and “cough/sneeze” barriers,” says Hernandez. “We have changed delivery procedures to eliminate the requirement that customers sign our Mobile Delivery Devices for delivery.  For increased safety, employees will politely ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the screen door/door so that they may leave the item in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the customer door.”

Other safety measures include cleaning policies to be consistent with CDC guidance. Herndanez also says they’ve updated leave policies to allow employees to stay home whenever they feel sick. 

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