USPS driver cooks steak on dash, fires up state rep to address extreme heat inside postal vehicles

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A state representative in Arizona is asking the United States Postal Service to cool off dangerously hot delivery vans after one of her constituents, a USPS driver, sent her photos of a steak that was cooked on the van’s dash.

Pictures below reveal the effects the summer desert heat had inside the carrier’s van where temperatures rose high enough to cook the raw steak and bring it to an internal temperature of 142 degrees in roughly two hours. USPS vans, like many vehicles in the thriving P&D industry, do not have air conditioning.

Shawnna Bolick, a state representative for District 20 in Maricopa County, said she received the photos from a postal carrier in her district who said temperatures in his van regularly reach 128 degrees or more. Other postal workers have also complained, according to Bolick who wrote a letter last week to various federal and union officials asking them to remedy the life-threatening heat inside postal vehicles.

“I have not received a response from any of the unions or anyone with USPS or OSHA as of yet,” Bolick told Hard Working Trucks today.

Bolick’s appearances on local media outlets along with her Facebook posts has garnered plenty of attention.

“I talk to my postal lady all the time,” a Facebook user wrote to Bolick. “She drives around with no a/c in this heat, and her manager wont even let her install a portable swamp cooler in her car. This is inhumane and thank you for doing this.”

“Thank you! This is WHY I didn’t take a job with them three years ago,” another wrote.

“Still a choice to work for the USPS, and [they] pay well,” another wrote.

Last summer in Los Angeles, 63-year-old USPS carrier Peggy Frank was found dead in her van while en route to deliver the mail. Frank’s co-workers and family complained to local media that she had died of heat stroke. In response, USPS issued the following statement:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the employee’s family at this difficult time. The unfortunate incident involving this employee remains under investigation.  This includes the underlying cause(s) of the employee’s death.

Our carriers deliver the mail throughout the year during varying temperatures and climatic conditions. This includes during the summer months when the temperatures rise throughout the country.  The safety of our employees is a top priority and the Postal Service has implemented a national Heat Illness Prevention Program (HIPP) for all employees.  In connection with the HIPP, the Postal Service provides mandatory heat-related and other safety training and instruction to all employees and assures they have the resources needed to do their jobs safely. Carriers are reminded to ensure they’re hydrated, wear appropriate clothing, including hats, get in the shade whenever possible, and to take sufficient amounts of water and ice with them out on their routes.

The L.A. County coroner later reported that Frank had died of heat exposure. USPS was fined $150,000 by OSHA as a result of her death.