Working in the heat is a problem for many workers. The sun is beating down, and exertion only puts more strain on your body. Combined with humidity and the inability to sweat to cool down, many people suffer from heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses in the summer months.
The workers who have been reporting more than their fair share of issues are UPS workers. Sixteen employees from UPS reached out to NBC news to discuss their illnesses and the hazards that they face on the job.
In July, NBC reported on over 100 workers for UPS who ended up hospitalized for heat-related illnesses between 2015 and 2018. The only other company who had more people fall ill was the U.S. Postal Service.
What’s shocking about UPS is that the majority of its vehicles and warehouses do not have air conditioning. Cargo areas, it’s been founds, can reach temperatures of up to 150 degrees. Workers in Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Louisiana, Georgia and Arizona have argued that UPS isn’t following its heat protocols. Managers continue pushing their employees despite seeing them fall ill. They allegedly discouraging them from reporting their illnesses. When they do insist on seeking help, they’re taken to urgent cares, many of which do not have the IVs that would provide them with much-needed hydration.
UPS does have measures in place to make sure their employees stay hydrated, report heat illnesses and take breaks. While many managers do listen and help those who are ill, some do not. Tragically, heat-related illnesses can lead to serious injuries and deaths when not treated rapidly.
If you’re on the job and feel ill from the heat, you don’t need to wait for a supervisor to give you permission to call for help. Call 911 and get the attention you need to recover.