UPS is improving heat safety for employees

Investing to help keep our employees safe when it gets hot
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By Cormac Gilligan, UPS Global Head – Health and Safety. Cormac has over 25 years of global safety experience and extensive international and cross-cultural program development. He has a bachelor’s in occupational safety and health from South Bank University in London, UK and a national certificate in human physiology from the Carlow Institute of Technology in Ireland.

Our drivers and package handlers are like world-class athletes. We increased our investment in safety training to more than $409 million in 2023 to help prepare UPSers to work safely and have a network of hundreds of health and safety professionals hard at work around the world. This represents a $66 million increase from our total investments in 2022. 

Being prepared to work in the heat is critical. Coming to work well rested and staying hydrated are some of the most important ways to keep safe in hot weather. We also know that these are only part of the safety solution. The right training, the right gear and the right equipment are also key to helping UPSers stay safe.

Over the last 18 months we've been working with top experts in heat safety to study various working conditions and further improve our training and protocols to help our employees work safely—especially on hot days.

Here are five ways we’re making this summer even safer for all UPSers:

  • We’ve introduced Recharge, a new health and safety program developed in partnership with experts in athletic hydration and heat-safety from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut. We’ve also partnered with MISSION®, a major activewear company that specializes in cooling fabrics. These scientists have decades of experience studying the impact of heat on the human body, and we’ve incorporated their expertise into our annual heat awareness training, taking heat-safety science from the sports world and bringing it to UPS.

  • We’re equipping our delivery drivers with new cooling sleeves and hats – developed in partnership with MISSION® – bringing athletic innovations off the playing field and court and into our operations. Studies show that cooling key parts of the body can help significantly reduce the risk of overheating, and MISSION®’s state-of-the-art technology helps its cooling fabrics stay up to 30 degrees cooler than body temperature. The gear was featured on NBC’s Today Show during a segment on summer must-haves.

    Watch as UPS drivers from San Antonio try the new cooling gear.

 

  • We’ve completed installation of over 200,000 fans across our package cars.
  • We’ve rapidly installed nearly 14,000 new fans in our facilities, with plans to install 18,000 new fans across 1,500 U.S. facilities.
  • Following guidance from our heat experts, we’re increasing access to ice, cool water and electrolytes beverages in our facilities to ensure all UPSers have what they need to stay hydrated.

 

We’re challenging ourselves to continue exploring solutions that can help keep our employees safe—especially on hot days. Together, we’re recharging our commitment to the health and safety of our people and helping everyone work safely year-round. 

UPS and the Teamsters reached an agreement about vehicle heat safety. Learn more here.

Check out this CBS News Texas video about UPSers preparing to work safely in hot weather.