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What kinds of jobs do delivery persons have?

Delivery or courier drivers, letter carriers, couriers, messengers, or door-to-door distributors are examples of jobs that involve delivering items by walking from place to place, riding bicycles or motorcycles, or driving automobiles, vans and light trucks. The item delivered may be anything - common examples are documents, packages, take-out food, merchandise, groceries, equipment, or appliances.


What do delivery persons do?

This profile refers to delivery persons in general. Delivery persons, couriers or messengers pick up and deliver documents, messages, packages and various other products and deliver it to a different location. Medical samples or hazardous materials may be in the packages that they deliver. The person may also have to collect payment for their delivery service or product delivered (e.g., pizza and other "fast foods", liquor, mobile canteens).

Delivery persons typically have to lift and carry items of different sizes, weights, and shapes such as letters, pizzas, office equipment and supplies, construction supplies, mattresses, or refrigerators.

Much of their work is done:

  • Outdoors so they are exposed to a wide range of weather conditions.
  • Day or night.
  • Deliveries may be taken to potentially hazardous areas like construction sites or residences in high crime rate areas.

What are some health and safety issues for delivery persons?

  • Pain or injury from physical overexertion or repetitive manual tasks.
  • Working alone.
  • Vehicle or bicycle accidents.
  • Slips, trips and falls.
  • Stress.
  • Shift work, late hours, or extended work days.
  • Workplace violence (e.g., bullying, verbal abuse, physical attacks, robbery).
  • If outdoors, exposure to extreme weather temperatures and UV radiation from sunlight.
  • Suspicious mail or packages.
  • Dog bites.
  • Insect stings (e.g., bees, hornets, mosquitoes).
  • Potential of exposure to improperly labelled hazardous chemicals or biological materials (e.g., medical specimens).

What are some preventive measures for delivery persons?

  • Learn about how to avoid musculoskeletal pain or injury from repetitive or physically awkward tasks.
  • Learn safe lifting techniques.
  • Follow a recommended shiftwork pattern and know about risks associated with shiftwork and extended workdays.
  • Keep all work areas clear of clutter and equipment. Items should be stored securely.
  • Keep equipment and vehicles in good mechanical condition and working order. Check your vehicle or bicycle before using it to ensure that it is in good operating condition.
  • Use correct personal protective equipment and clothing, including safety footwear. Personal protective clothing includes high-visibility (HV) clothing.
  • Carry a mobile phone or have another way to stay in contact with your workplace.
  • Use mechanical aids to carry heavy items, where possible.
  • Know how to identify suspicious mail or packages.

What are some good general safe work practices?

Follow safety procedures, where appropriate for the hazard, for:

Always:

  • Know how to report a hazard.
  • Follow company safety rules.

Where can I get more information?

General information is available in OSH Answers or through the CCOHS person-to-person Inquiries Service.

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Document last updated on July 23, 2014

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