Texas resident Donald Smith claims that after only a few hours of training, he suffered personal injuries when a rack of mail crushed him while unloading at the post office. He has now filed suit against the post office for failure to provide a safe working environment.

The suit states that Smith was attempting to help unload the racks of mail sitting in a mail truck. His supervisor lined up the first rack to be unloaded and sent down the unloading ramp, and then Smith began to back the ramp down.

Smith was pulling the ramp while walking backward and lost control of the rack, which knocked him from the ramp to the ground. It then fell on top of him, causing a fracture to his spinal column. 

Smith filed a negligence suit on November 25 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas naming the United States and Edwards Transportation LLC, doing business as Mesa Mail Service, as defendants.

Edwards Transportation contracts with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail from the central processing facility to local post offices. On September 15, 2007, the company called Smith to begin training.

Smith said that he was taught how the mail was loaded onto large, wheeled racks, which he believes weighed approximately 400 pounds, and placed into the trucks. Smith was not allowed to load the trucks from the central processing unit due to still being in training, but he rode with the postal truck to the local post office to aid with unloading.

The Edwards Transportation truck was fitted with an inoperable Tommy Lift, but the local post office had a similar ramp that was raised to the truck’s level in order to unload. 

Smith claims that he has since learned that the ramp should have had a chair or similar mechanism used for closing the ramp during operation to prevent falling. He also claims that he observed no warnings or instructions on the ramp.

The suit alleges negligence on the part of the post office for failure to provide contractors and employees with a safe work environment.

Smith alleges negligence and liability on the part of Edwards Transportation for failure to provide a safe workplace, adequately establish and enforce safety rules and regulations, and eliminate methods and operations that were unsafe.

Smith also believes the defendant was negligent for failure to provide warning signs about the operation of a forklift without proper training, secure dangerous equipment, remove keys from an unattended forklift, train employees in the forklift’s basic operation, and provide proper safety equipment.

Smith seeks damages for past and future medical expenses, physical pain, suffering, and mental anguish, lost earning capacity, disfigurement, and physical impairment. He seeks damages of approximately $7,000.

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