Post office asking residents to move boxes so carriers don’t climb steps

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz United States Postal Service carrier Jim Compeau delivers mail to a home in Alpena Monday. Some residents are being asked to move their mailboxes to where carriers can insert mail without climbing steps. The number one cause of injury for mailmen are slip and fall accidents on stairs.

ALPENA — One of the leading causes of mail carriers being injured is slipping or tripping on stairs while delivering mail. As a result steps are being taken that hopefully will reduce the number of accidents that take place.

United Postal Service Alpena Post Postmaster Rob Gross has sent out letters to residents asking they move mailboxes that are at the top of the stairs to the ground level. He said the mailboxes should be placed where mail carriers can put mail in them while standing on the ground. He said for most people it is just a matter of moving the box to a lower position on a railing, but some could have to mount them on posts near their steps.

“Our employees safe being is very important to us and slips, trips and falls are the number one reason for accidents within the United Postal Service,” Gross said. “We sincerely ask you to please move your mail receptacle so the carrier can access it from the ground without going up any steps.”

Gross said the post office will be granting exemptions to those who qualify for them. He said people who are disabled or those who are elderly and live alone are two examples of those who may qualify for an exemption. Gross said each request will be denied or granted on a case by case basis.

“We understand there are people in our community who will not be able to get their mail if they have to move their boxes and we will do everything we can to accommodate them,” Gross said. “We also know there are some who are elderly, who have other people living with them who can get the mail. Each situation will be considered depending on the circumstance.”

Gross said there likely are more changes coming in the spring for residents who live in the city who don’t have sidewalks in front of their homes. He said in areas without sidewalks carriers are required to get out of their vehicles and walk to the house to deliver the mail. He said that increases the chance of a fall or car accident. Gross said people in these areas will have to install a post and mailbox at the edge of the curb so the carrier can deliver the mail without getting out of the truck.

“These are in places where the carriers are not walking down the street, but where they have to get in and out of their vehicle,” Gross said. “This will not only prevent falls, but also car accidents from a truck being hit, or one rolling away if it isn’t in park properly. It happens every year and it is dangerous.”

Gross said those who may need assistance about choosing a locations for their mail receptacle can contact the post office at 354-2520 and they will help with the transition as much as possible. He said he would like to see the mailboxes moved by Nov.30 but said he understands there may be instances where that is not possible. Gross said there will be a point where the boxes will need to be moved, or there could be a disruption of service.

“We aren’t at that point yet, but at some point it will become mandatory,” Gross said. “All we are asking for is the cooperation of the public to help save our carriers from getting injured.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.