Keys to safety: Preparation, care and collaboration

At UPS, we’re taking steps to ensure a safe workplace for our employees
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Byline by Cormac Gilligan, UPS Global Head – Health & Safety

Look and listen. Those have been two of the most important words for me since joining UPS to lead our global health and safety program – a behind-the-scenes role that gives me a view into the many ways we prioritize the physical safety, health and wellness of our 534,000 people around the world.

While I’ll never be able to put on the kind of miles our drivers do every day, I’ve seen firsthand how much UPSers at all levels care. And what a great foundation to have.

Walk into any UPS facility before drivers hit the road or pilots take off, and you’ll hear our people talking about their most important stop on any day – when they return home. I’ve heard about weddings, graduations and birthday parties. And I’ve seen countless family pictures. I’ve listened to UPSers talk about distracted drivers, close calls, and yes, even heat. All of these remind UPSers to stay safe – and they remind our entire safety team of our mission.

Consider this: In the U.S. alone, we invest more than $260 million a year on safety training. Our operations employees receive five million hours of safety training per year.

We certainly aren’t perfect, but we continue to evolve our safety programs, leveraging the latest technologies and striving to ensure all UPSers go home safe and healthy at the end of the day.

We’ve received calls and news that make our hearts hurt for all involved. But, even these incidents inspire us to push forward with vigor.

The summer of 2022 will be memorable.

Many companies with front-line employees have faced tough challenges this summer – with a heatwave affecting most of the U.S. near the top of the list. At UPS, we’re taking steps to ensure a safe workplace for our employees.

We have cooler uniforms with performance fabric. We continue to install fans and test different venting and insulation systems in our vehicles. We also provide water, fruit and electrolyte beverages. And we have a heat stress management program developed with input from experts in the field of occupational health and safety.

The program focuses on education and awareness, including hydration, nutrition and getting proper rest. It includes regular communications and touchpoints – simple things like sharing weather and conditions in the morning, and sending regular reminders on heat stress to drivers via their handheld delivery device throughout the day.

When it comes to safety, teaching and training are always on.

We have more than 440 safety professionals who teach, train, coach and counsel UPSers across the U.S. We also have employee-led safety committees, part of a collaboration between UPS’s hourly employees and management we call our Comprehensive Health & Safety Process (CHSP). These hourly employees conduct audits, recommend process changes and set an example for working safely in more than 3,200 UPS facilities across the country.

For us, we’re focused on continuous improvement.

Take our driver training. New drivers told us they wanted more experiential training. So we opened Integrad, our driver training program that features technology-rich training facilities, virtual reality driving experiences, traditional classroom instruction and a replica city. It’s unbelievable.

UPS now has 11 Integrad locations with another opening in New Jersey in 2023. We’ve graduated more than 100,000 drivers from the program since 2007.

Collectively, it makes a difference.

When I joined UPS nearly a year ago, I knew I was joining a place serious about the health and safety of its people. As I traveled the country, I realized the depths of this company’s commitment to its people. It’s not just about the dollars invested or the hours of training. It’s about people who truly care, and who treat health and safety as the shared responsibility it needs to be.

I’m glad to be a part of it, and I’m always looking and listening as we chart the path ahead for a safer and healthier UPS family.