From NALC Branch #1100 in California
Well winter is here and it is getting dark early. Which means you could be expected to work in the dark. This causes issues every year. The rule to keep in mind is that if it is safe you are to deliver the mail. So what is safe? Safe depends on you and your route.
Arbitrator’s have ruled that darkness in and of itself is not unsafe. Darkness can contribute to an unsafe situation. For example you are on a walking route, it is not well lighted, you trip over a crack in the side walk and a few feet later you stumble over something else. You may want to declare that swing as unsafe and move to the next swing. As you deliver on the next swing the same rule applies. If it is well lighted then deliver the mail. If you stumble due to poor lighting then stop. Move to the next swing.
There are several things you can do to keep safe while delivering when it is dark. If you are on a walking route and it is not well lighted then you don’t cut lawns. You want to walk where it is safest. This is normally the driveway and sidewalk. If the area is not well lighted then you probably can not finger the mail while walking since you may not be able to see the addresses well enough. Additionally if it is not well lighted you cannot see where you are walking with your peripheral vision so you actually need to watch where you walk.
With FSS everyone is delivering in the dark and too many hours. Everyone needs to case in the dog warning cards. It becomes more difficult to tell where the barking dog is when it is dark. If you choose to bring back the mail let your manager know. At some point it is unsafe to be out late, it may be unsafe to be on someone’s porch at 8 or 9 pm. Remember with the exception of the month of December, Letter Carriers cannot be required to work in excess of 12 hours per day. Regardless of the month, Letter Carriers cannot be required to work in excess of 60 hours per week. You are the only one that can keep yourself safe. This article is not to supersede any past practices in your city nor any local agreements. Several of our cities have agreements regarding delivery cutoffs.
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