TEXAS — A Collin County UPS worker’s death is under investigation after he fell ill while out on a delivery last week and died Sunday. It’s suspected that the triple-digit heat may have affected his health.
In a statement, UPS said, “We are saddened by the loss of our driver Christopher Begley and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We are cooperating with the authorities as they continue to investigate the cause of death. We train our people to recognize the symptoms of heat stress, and we respond immediately to any request for help.”
On Wednesday, Aug. 23, Begley told management he wasn’t feeling well, according to UPS. Help arrived to give him water and make sure he cooled off.
UPS said they asked Begley if he needed medical attention, but he kept refusing. He claimed he felt better and wanted to go home. He then requested some days off.
Four days later, Begley had been hospitalized and died.
The heat wave has been a problem for everyone in Texas, and even more so for those who work outside. With a demanding schedule that requires them to be on-the-go, delivery workers have had to drive in vehicles with no air conditioning. Many have complained about the harsh conditions they’re expected to work through.
USPS Dallas worker Eugene Gates, 66, is believed to have died from a heat-related illness in June. He fainted and died while out on delivery. His family is still waiting for the official cause of death after a full autopsy report.
Aware of the dangerous heat, UPS and the Teamsters union, which represents 340,000 UPS workers, negotiated a heat safety agreement in June. On Jan 1. 2024, all of the company’s small package delivery vehicles will have an air conditioning system installed. Also, delivery vehicles will have new heat shields and fans added.
When they can, UPS said they’ll send the vehicles out to the hottest parts of the U.S. first.