Postal Worker Succumbs to Searing Heat in SoCal

Woodland Hills, CA – As high temperatures continue to hit Southern California, rising to over 110 degrees in some parts of the San Fernando Valley, a 63-year-old postal worker was found dead while seated in her vehicle in Woodland Hills, after delivering mail in sweltering heat.

Authorities suspect heat exhaustion caused the death of Peggy Frank of North Hills, a 28-year-veteran of the US Postal Service.

Family members say Frank had just returned to the job after recovering from a broken ankle. Her son said his mother had previous health issues, suffering a heat stroke last May.

Meanwhile, the temperature at UCLA soared to 111 degrees, the hottest ever recorded there, surpassing the previous record of 109 degrees, set Sept. 20, 1939, the National Weather Service reported. Records at UCLA date back to 1933.

According to the Service, in addition to UCLA, other locations that set all-time records in Southern California include:

  • Hollywood Burbank Airport, 114 degrees.
  • Van Nuys Airport, 117 degrees.
  • Ramona, 117 degrees.
  • Santa Ana, 114 degrees.
  • Riverside, 118 degrees (tying record from 1925).

Cal/OSHA is prompting all employers with outdoor workers to review their heat illness prevention plan and protect their employees ahead of excessive heat in parts of central and southern California.

California’s heat illness prevention regulation requires employers with outdoor workers to take the following four steps to prevent heat illness:

  • Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures;
  • Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention;
  • Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so; and
  • Provide shade when workers request it and when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes – they should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.

Cal/OSHA urges workers experiencing possible overheating to take a preventative cool-down rest in the shade until symptoms are gone. Workers who have existing health problems or medical conditions that reduce tolerance to heat, such as diabetes, need to be extra vigilant.

Some high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also increase a worker’s risk for heat illness.

In addition to the other requirements outlined in California’s heat illness prevention regulation, it is crucial that supervisors are effectively trained on emergency procedures in case a worker does get sick.

This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.