But it is not yet known whether the extreme heat was a factor in Frank’s death. While her autopsy had been completed, the cause of death was deferred pending additional tests, Winter said. Those tests are expected to take between four and six weeks.
OSHA became aware of Frank’s death after the agency was contacted by emergency service personnel, the Department of Labor spokesman said.
OSHA would open an investigation in many situations involving a work-related fatality and when the nature of the fatality is unclear, according to the agency’s website. If a fatality is clearly due to natural causes, the OSHA area office director can forego an investigation.
Employers are obligated to protect employees from any hazardous condition, including potential heat stress, according to the Department of Labor.
“Every year, thousands of workers become sick from occupational heat exposure, and some are fatally injured,” OSHA states on its website. “These illnesses and fatalities are preventable.”
A U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman said earlier this week that carriers deliver mail in “all kinds of weather, including high temperatures.”
“The Postal Service strives to ensure that they have the tools and training to do so safely,” spokeswoman Evelina Ramirez said.
Carriers are reminded daily to stay hydrated throughout their route, wear appropriate clothing, such as hats, and get into the shade whenever and as much as possible, Ramirez said.
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