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United Parcel Services (UPS) jobs involve sorting, loading and delivering packages. These jobs are labor-intensive, sometimes putting workers at the risk of sustaining injury if not properly trained. To create a safe working environment, UPS provides training to its employees, intended to teach them methods and tools required to work safely.
Employee-Managed Safety Process
UPS has a program called Comprehensive Health and Safety Process (CHSP) aimed at minimizing the rate of injury at work. CHSP which was launched in 1996, comprises 3,700 committees stationed at the company's facilities around the world. These committees are made of non-management employees, supported by the company's management. The major tasks of the committees are to conduct facility and equipment audits and perform work practices and behavior analysis, conduct training, and recommend work process and equipment changes. According to Workforce Management, the committee teaches employees safety methods such as bending the knees when picking up a parcel or backing up a delivery track. The safety committees are also empowered to monitor workers, ensuring proper safety procedures are being followed. UPS has since reduced the lost workdays due to injuries by over 60 percent.
Equipment and Facilities
The company's engineers have made design improvement to facilities, equipment and vehicles to make the job of moving 16 million parcels a day less laborious and to prevent injury. According to the company, changes include widening the door on the package car and ergonomic design of hand trucks and handheld computers. The drivers and handlers had an input in the changes that are intended to create a safe work environment. The company is also using the latest automated technology, aimed at reducing the need for employee handling. Equipment to help with loading and unloading is used to make the job less strenuous.
Safety in Transit
UPS trains its drivers on the methods of safety driving. Tractor-trailer drivers are given 80 hours of classroom and on-the-road training before using the equipment. Delivery drivers also undergo an intensive training program which includes 20 hours of behind-the-wheel and classroom training. Drivers with an impressive record are rewarded through the Circle of Honor and Safe Driving Hall of Fame programs.
While CHSP has reduced the rate of injuries at UPS, the company faces criticism from its employees. In April 2011, about 1,200 members of the Teamsters launched a protest campaign demanding better working conditions and asking the company to stop blaming workers for injuries occurred while working. Employees claimed they were pressured to increase productivity while asking them to reduce injury. The union asserts that pressure to increase productivity is what leads to injury. In 2009, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company's Palatine facility in Virginia for safety violations.
Gilbert Manda has written financial news since 2000. He holds a professional diploma from the London School of Journalism, a Bachelor of Science in global business and public policy from the University of Maryland and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University London.