As a delivery driver, you may think that the greatest work-related hazard you face relates to motor vehicle accidents on your route. While this is a significant concern, you may face an even greater danger of heat-related illnesses as summer approaches and the weather warms up.
Some delivery services, including the United States Postal Service, a government agency, and the United Parcel Service, a private company, do not air condition their delivery trucks. According to NBC News, temperatures in the trucks can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit in hot summer weather. This is comparable to what you might find inside a sauna.
How can the heat affect your body?
Working in conditions of high heat can cause you to become dehydrated. You may be able to counteract this by drinking fluids, but the condition can become so severe that you cannot keep water down and start vomiting. Dehydration and low blood pressure due to the heat can cause you to faint. You may experience cramping of your leg muscles.
In the most serious scenarios, your vital organs start shutting down, including the brain, liver and kidneys. High humidity can worsen your condition because it affects the ability of your body to cool itself through the evaporation of sweat.
What makes delivery driving particularly dangerous in the heat?
It would be bad enough if all you were doing in the heat was driving. However, you must exert yourself by lifting packages, some of them quite heavy, and carrying them to their destinations. In addition, your employers may expect you to work long shifts, sometimes 12 hours at a stretch, before you get a chance to rest and recuperate.