Fact Sheet

Handling Mail and Incoming Packages and Deliveries

Mail and packages are delivered on at least a daily basis and sometimes several times a day. If the public entity is a large organization with offices covering many floors of a building, there may be a mail room, or a specific area in which mail is sorted before being delivered to the various floors.

Nature of the Hazard

The threat of terrorism has cast a heightened level of attention to how mail is handled and delivered. Suspicious packages are clearly a hazard, but more often, the genuine hazard is the potential for injuries caused by the careless handling of heavy or awkward packages.

Stacking incoming boxes and packages can be a hazard as well. Sacks of mail and mail carts can pose a tripping or falling hazard to workers, particularly if the mailroom is too small for the size of the operations.

Ensure that all employees and delivery people from the Postal Service, and other package delivery vendors are clearly identified and that vehicles are parked in the appropriate location for deliveries.

Mail Protocol

The receptionist and/or mail room staff should be briefed on the types of hazards posed by suspicious packages or letters. In particular, there should be a set of protocols put into place to deal with any letters or packages that appear suspicious. The most important protocol is to notify authorities immediately. Do not attempt to open or move the package. Depending on the location of the mailroom and the package, evacuating the building may be a prudent measure.

General Suspicious Mail Indicators

Be suspicious of any letter or package that:

Recommendations

Resources

Mail Center Security Guidelines (Table of Contents), Publication 166, USPS

Security Issues Checklist

Security of the Mail, Best Practices for Mail Center Security: Incoming and Outgoing Operations

Security of the Mail, Suspicious Mail Poster, USPS