United Parcel Service drivers are sharing over 120-degree temperature readings from inside their delivery trucks, sparking discussion about driver safety and heat protection during record high temperatures on the East Coast and the Central United States.
According to an article from NBC News, the majority of the company’s warehouses and delivery trucks still lack air conditioning, putting workers at risk for heat-related injuries. On June 25, one California-based UPS driver died from suspected heat stroke at just 24 years old, reigniting pressure from workers’ unions for amended heat safety measures.
In a picture obtained from NBC News, one driver shared a temperature reading of 154 degrees in the cargo area of a UPS delivery truck while delivering in Florida. According to Mayo Clinic, heatstroke may occur when a person’s core body temperature reaches 104 degrees or higher. High temperatures in the cargo area also run the risk of destroying heat-sensitive medications or other fragile packages.
“UPS was delivering temperature-sensitive chemo drugs for my dog. They were ruined by heat the first two deliveries,” Twitter user Jim Shields (@jimcshields) wrote. “The 3rd was only a success because the wonderful driver put the box in her personal cooler.”
On Twitter, other delivery drivers share their experiences with the summer heat waves.
“Part of my job at one of their competitors is loading and unloading trucks so I 100% believe this,” Twitter user Matt Murszewski (@MattMurszewski) wrote. “It probably doesn’t get this hot because I don’t live in Florida, but it is absolutely awful.”
“Cargo areas in trucks that aren’t refrigerated are always like that in summer. The bigger problem is the cab area where drivers spend most of their time – no AC,” another user commented. “They’ve been getting temps there in the 120s. Someone’s gonna pass out behind the wheel. OSHA needs to be involved.”
This is not the first time the company has been called out for forcing delivery drivers to work in inhumane environments. Its decision to install cameras into all delivery trucks after a year of record earnings instead of improving heat safety regulations for workers was widely criticized.
The company previously stated that air-conditioning delivery vehicles would be “ineffective” due to “frequent stops,” according to a July 18 email to the Daily Dot from a UPS spokesperson.
The Daily Dot reached out to UPS via press contact form.
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*First Published: Aug 4, 2022, 2:44 pm CDT
Rebekah Harding is a freelance reporter for the Daily Dot. She has digital and print bylines in Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, SheKnows, and more.