The dangers posed by dogs to postal employees and anyone who delivers packages have often been portrayed as humorous. However, as any mail carrier knows, dog bites and attacks are a very real concern.
The latest statistics from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for 2019 showed a steady decline over the previous two years. That hardly matters to the nearly 6,000 USPS employees bitten or attacked that year.
California has been far ahead of other states in the sheer number of attacks. In the rankings of all U.S. cities, San Diego came in tenth with 29 reported attacks in 2019. Los Angeles was second, with 74.
How technology and awareness can help prevent attacks
The USPS has implemented some technology to help protect its employees who are out and about every day on their routes. For example, their handheld scanners, which confirm deliveries, can also be used to show that a dog is present at a particular address. Their Informed Delivery feature can notify people when a mail carrier is en route to their address so they can secure their dogs.
If a USPS employee doesn’t feel safe delivering to an address or even a particular neighborhood because of one or more unsecured dogs, the people who live or work there may be required to go to a post office to retrieve their mail.
The Postal Service offers tips for both their employees and for the public to help prevent the chances of a dog bite or attack. Even dogs that seem friendly can react unpredictably when they see a person carrying a bag. They can feel protective if they see someone hand a letter or package directly to their person, so they go after them.
Workers’ compensation options
Postal employees who are injured while they’re working are eligible for workers’ compensation through the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), which administers the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). Other delivery employees who are injured on the job should seek workers’ comp through their employer.
If you’re having difficulty filing a workers’ comp claim or your claim has been denied, it may be helpful to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can help you get the benefits to which you’re entitled.