Thursday, November 7, 2013

Workman's Comp at the Post Office

I work at the post office sorting and then delivering mail and packages. I do a lot of heavy lifting , a lot of collecting mail around the station and carrying it back to my mail case to sort then sorting and loading heavy parcels.

I have a history of a hip/back injury from a fall 5 years ago and it flared up again 2 weeks ago as I was lifting a heavy 3 feet wide tray of mail out of the bottom of a large canvas gurney used for rolling the mail and parcels around to where we need them to be.

I lifted the tray out and turned with the weight in my hands and my hip started screaming with pain. I had an Express mail with me that had to be delivered my noon and it was 11:30 already. It had to be delivered by noon or I would be disciplined.

I was hoping if I kept moving it would ease up which it sometimes will but it did not. I got the Express delivered on time and went back to the beginning of my route to begin delivery. It took me longer than usual to deliver my route due to the pain I was in but I kept at it to get it finished.
When I got back to the station I put away my empty equipment and mail trays and went to tell the boss I had hurt my self again. I saw both of my supervisors as I returned so I had no idea they were going anywhere but they had both gone to do another duty by the time I went to find them. We are supposed to report injuries immediately but I was afraid to.

When I filled out the paperwork the next morning first thing I stated that the reason I had not reported the problem immediately which is required is that neither supervisor was there and I was in pain I did not want to wait for them to return.
My supervisor got very angry and threatened me with an investigative interview for not reporting  it immediately. I was questioned about the circumstances around the specifics of what happened and if I saw my supers when I returned and why did I not speak immediately.
There is such a atmosphere of hostility about work injuries at the post office that it made me reluctant to say anything at all. People who are injured on the job and report it are treated like thieves and liars at the post office. I have had two doctors who told me at my appointments with them that they were going to refuse further service to the post office workman's comp office after my treatment was finished. They told me they were having everything they wrote questioned by the usps comp office and they were  sorry but they could not continue to treat me. They did not stop doing Workman's Comp claims for other companies - only for the post office. It is very hard to find doctors who are willing to even work with the post office workman's comp office because everything they say is questioned...twice!  So, I was quite a bit intimidated about reporting the recurrence of the problem. People in the post office work for years with injuries because they afraid and not willing to got through the hassling they will get when an injury is reported for treatment.

I told my super that I did not report it at once because I was hoping it would ease off because they get mad at us if we report injuries. He stopped questioning at that point.

There is a pervasive attitude of anger and distrust toward people who report injuries at the post office. You are treated with hostility. you can see their face change right in front of your eyes. I am sure some people have lied ( although I don't know how they can get a doctor to verify that they have an actual injury) and gotten benefits from work when they were not injured but my tests (mri) have proven I am not lying. I am still treated like the red headed step child at work. I was told post office comp in Nashville was hemming and hawing about accepting my case. It still remains up in the air.

It causes so much stress on top of the injury to go through the process of being treated that with mistrust. I have worked with a torn rotator cuff, a labral tear and acute tendinitis in my right shoulder for 10 years without complaining. And now a bone spur has developed because of it. That is the post office comp office's fault for intimidating people about seeking treatment for work related injuries. I do not blame to woman who runs the comp office. I blame post office management higher up. I know where the attitude comes from.S**t  flows downhill and the post office is pervasive with it.

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