When you consider the most dangerous careers, a job as a postal worker seems pretty low on the list, right?
However, postal workers and delivery drivers are highly susceptible to serious work-related injuries caused by car accidents, slip and falls, repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) and other occupational diseases.
And now, after a tragic case involving a Georgia postal worker getting shot and killed on the job in early August 2021, it seems that violence and assault must be added to the list of dangers postal workers face on the job.
Postal worker shot and killed in Banks County
Around 9:30 a.m. on August 7, 2021, deputies responded to a 911 call about an intentional shooting. Asa “Junior” Wood was found with a gunshot wound in the 200 block of Hebron Road in Commerce, Georgia. The 59-year-old postal worker later died from the injury.
After taking statements from witnesses, the police were able to develop a person of interest in the shooting as well as a vehicle description. While on patrol, deputies located the vehicle and tried to perform a traffic stop.
The driver fled, and deputies in pursuit performed a PIT maneuver (pursuit intervention technique) in an attempt to stop the chase, thus disabling the suspect’s car.
However, the suspect wasn’t ready to give up yet. He climbed out of the vehicle armed with a rifle and began shooting at the police officers. They returned fire and hit the suspect successfully. The suspect was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Neither deputy was injured during the attack.
According to standard procedure for officer-involved shootings, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was called in to make sure everything happened appropriately. The deputies were placed on administrative leave until the investigation was completed.
The GBI later identified the suspect as Larry Steven Grogan, a 49-year-old resident of Danielsville, Georgia. A possible motive for the shooting has not yet been released to the public.
Common causes and types of injuries for postal workers
While the case of this shooting was unusual and is still pending investigation, it’s not uncommon for postal workers and delivery drivers to be injured on the job. From the post office headquarters to their vehicles, they are prone to the following injuries:
- Back and neck injuries
- Slip and falls
- Car accidents
- Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs)
- Occupational diseases
- Dog bites and animal attacks
These injuries can occur at any time, whether they’re loading or unloading packages, lifting heavy boxes, slipping on wet or icy pavement, or if while delivering mail. They can even be involved in car accidents when other vehicles don’t see them pulled over on the side of the road.
If you’re a postal worker who was injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation for federal employees
Since postal workers are federal employees, the dynamic changes for obtaining workers’ compensation benefits when they become injured on the job.
Federal government employees in Georgia do not draw workers’ compensation from the statewide program like most other workers do. Instead, they are eligible for benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act. FECA, for short, provides benefits for those who are injured on the job as a federal employee and covers workplace injuries as well as occupational illness and diseases that arise due to someone’s employment.
Typically, you will receive benefits from your federal agency during the first 45 days you are off from work. After that, you will begin receiving benefits under FECA. You may also receive additional benefits, including federal workers’ comp settlements if you suffer a permanent partial or permanent total disability.
If a federal employee is killed on the job, as was the case with Mr. Woods, then their surviving spouse, children and other family members may be eligible for FECA death benefits, which would help cover the cost of funeral and burial expenses, medical bills and other costs.