Newbies Views

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by Mooch, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. Mooch

    Mooch New Member

    I have been working for UPS in the UK for almost a year as Loader/Pre Sorter.

    I have extensive prior experience working int he UK parcel industry, doing various roles from Same Day driver, Multidropping and Depot Management.

    I started my own business and during the lean time of year decided to look for a part time position in order to supplement our lifestyle.

    UPS has always seemed appealing, and at first glance is a meritocracy, where you can advance through hard work, and be part of a global company with good prospects.

    The reality is somewhat different.

    Yes the work is hard, very hard to begin with, but you soon get used to it. I relish the graft, and have cancelled my gym membership as a result of working here, you move many more tons in a four our shift than you would ever do in a gym.

    The rate of staff turnover in the preload is evidence enough of how hard the work is, bearing in mind the wages are not too dreadful, and neither are the hours, these guys must be leaving for some reason, almost certainly in most cases the alien sensation of sweating.

    The issues that I have pertain to the blatant disregard for Health and Safety, lack of Risk Assessments and dangerous working practices.

    First of all, whilst the company pays amply lip-service to the idea of Health and Safety, in reality it's application in the working environment found at UPS is all but, if not completely impossible. It's all well and good having a daily staff briefing with a "Safety Tip for Today" other than the fact that unloading 1000-1250 parcels of myriad dimensions and weights from a trailer in an hour effectively precludes the implementation of manual handling guidelines. Customers are simply not managed by UPS, so they get away with underestimating parcel weights because at certain times of the day, the priority is getting parcels unloaded and sorted, and this leads to instances where you may be lifting parcels that weigh 40kg+ and are marked as 10kg.

    Sometimes there are extremely heavy small parcels sat on top of walls of freight that come crashing down as soon as the previous wall is disturbed, not only ruining other consignment but potentially landing on your napper. A 30kg box of steel in the face is not an unrealistic prospect.

    Its pretty hard to approach each box, make an assessment of it's weight, decide whether you are capable of lifting it, check to see the contents won't shift within, lift with your legs, make sure you path is clear and so on and on and on, when you are expected to be moving a box every few seconds, all the time you have college student 'supervisors' walking up and down screaming "10 minutes", despite you having only been in the trailer for half an hour! The fact that the 'supervisor' is a 7 stone girl who wouldn't have a snowballs chance in hell of lifting 3/4 of the boxes is neither here nor there.

    Speaking of Supervisors, is there really any need to have so many of them ? on some nights there seems to be a 1:2 ratio of Team Leaders and Supervisors to workers, maybe if they are that keen to hit their targets then they should stop standing round in groups giggling, and actually get on a wagon and help?

    There is also an inherent culture of denial where injuries are concerned. Everyone doing this job is going to get hurt sooner or later, it's the nature of the work, but offering team rewards based on no injuries being reported in a month is merely incentivising people to keep injuries to themselves rather than reporting the injury and upsetting 'the team' by losing them their bacon sandwiches, or whatever the pay off for successfully sidestepping the many personal injury landmines that exist throughout the company.

    Every single morning staff are handballing pallets with protruding nails, parcels of excessive weights, parcels with dangerous contents, the guidelines say to get help if you need it? From who? When you are working alone and you have to move a massive heavy item that is preventing you from unloading any more of the vehicle, there is no - one around to help, maybe you see 7 Stone Supervisorygirl but she isnt going to be able to help you move it, so instead you struggle and do it yourself, because everyone else is either grafting in their own hell of parcels or they are wearing a T shirt with their name and rank on and are in the office on the internet and tittering in a large group.

    Throughout the building there are ladders, leading to gantrys and walkways. I am assuming this is a generic UPS setup, if so then can the broken safety guards at the top of each ladder, be seen the world over, sooner or later or already, someone carrying water and parcel tape and a sort plan between their teeth is going to come down one of those 12ft ladders and face a rapid deceleration, cranium first, into the catwalk beneath.:sick:

    I have read a lot of reviews of people discussing their working conditions at UPS, some of it sour grapes, but a large amount of it now rings very true with me. There is an appearance of being motivated entirely by money and the welfare of it's staff being very much second place (except for the drivers of course who are pampered as no other delivery driver has ever been:happy-very:
     
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  2. sortaisle

    sortaisle Livin the cardboard dream

    Welcome to BC! Holy smokes that's a long first post. Your experience at UPS is like a lot of others. Your perspective is even keeled and I'm always interested in seeing how UPS works in other parts of the world. Thanks!
     
  3. Nimnim

    Nimnim The Nim

    I just gotta say I never get tired of the British use of language. I even read it in my head with an accent.

    ​Welcome to BC.
     
  4. 8Keys

    8Keys Member

    As a 12 year hub worker in the U.S., your viewpoints seem like a very accurate portrayal of my UPS experience. I think the ladders in my building are generally safe and have either gates or chains in good repair, but otherwise everything you say sounds like you could be working right next to me. It is far too easy for the college age supervisors and their college age labor to just go go go and forget about safety or quality. That is the easy reaction to the pressure that is being put on us. It's a lot harder to come in every day and give an honest hard day of work and still not hit some magic production number because you are trying to do everything by the book. But all of those little things that people neglect have their consequences. That 30kg box that hits you in the head should not have been at the top of the wall. That is a safety hazard both to the loader and the unloader, and both have to work harder for no particular reason. It also is likely to crush boxes, even before the wall falls (and a good wall would have locked in shelves also). These are things that are trained as proper methods, but then those methods are not reinforced on a regular basis by belt supervisors. All of the time I see young new employees who are trying so hard to work fast but they do stupid stuff that could get themselves hurt, cause the company to pay a huge fine, etc. Along the same lines, if you need help lifting a 50kg box and it is awkward or straining to attempt by yourself, by all means get someone to help you. The rule is there for a reason. There are a ton of people around here who have back issues that will probably never really go away. The sickening thing is a lot of them are only in their 20s and already serious back problems.
     
  5. you aint even know it

    you aint even know it Well-Known Troll Troll

    Good god mine, nobody has time to read all of that.
     
  6. Mooch

    Mooch New Member

    Due respect Sir but 153 posts since June would suggest you have ample time.
     
  7. quamba 638

    quamba 638 Member

    Zing!
     
  8. I read it
     
  9. Random_Facts

    Random_Facts Member

    Great post, very informational. Welcome to the brown cafe as well. "7 Stone Supervisorygirl" That made me chuckle.
     
  10. Box Ox

    Box Ox Camacho for President!

    Please continue posting as reading your English words and expressions in an English accent makes lurking much more enjoyable. And I do agree with you regarding the trailer unloading. Most of the biggest monsters I've encountered have been loaded at the middle to back of the trailer for whatever reason. Can't just roll 'em down an extendo. Will typically have my scanner lift anything over 90-95 pounds with me as the bodily wear and tear wouldn't be worth playing tough guy. Especially since I plan on sticking around for a while. A center manager once told me that my center "hadn't had an injury in X" days when I approached with a pretty good wound post-shift. And I've resolved to be safe ever since, even if it means sacrificing a little speed so long as I still make very good time loading and unloading. I realize my supervisors want to make the best numbers they can but they've have never challenged me whenever I've pointed out that something is clearly unsafe. Hard to argue with. You're the only one that both truly cares about your own safety and can do something about it.