The increase in the delivery of correspondence carried out by post, the overload and physical wear and tear of postmen

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JÚNIOR, Benjamim Marcelino da Silva[1]

JÚNIOR, Benjamim Marcelino da Silva. The increase in the delivery of correspondence carried out by post, the overload and physical wear and tear of postmen. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 03, Ed. 10, Vol. 06, p. 74-89 October 2018. ISSN:2448-0959, Access link:


The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how exhausting and unhealthy it has become for the distribution agents of Brazilian Post and Telegraph Company (ECT), to deliver correspondence in the new delivery model that the company created. It seeks to draw attention to the wear and tear of human material, ergometry and all the problems caused by the exhausting activities carried out by workers who suffer from the increase in activities and distances traveled by them, the weather of the profession, the lack of hiring. In addition, there are psychological problems, which many develop due to robberies and the pressure they suffer to “give productivity”, that is, to be able to deliver all orders in a short period of time. Such factors contribute considerably to the increase in the high level of absenteeism in the Post Office’s work sector, which has resulted in more service charges for others, since when an employee is absent from work, others are called to do his part. This practice is called “folding” within the company, which must be carried out before the delivery of correspondence by each postman and is usually divided into a group of up to eight employees. There are cases in which the fold is only divided into four, which overloads the employee, as the distance traveled is much greater than usual, given that, in the fold, the postman makes his district (neighborhood), and part of the district (neighborhood) of another. On average, with the load considered normal, a postman delivers letters from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm a day, walking on average for 4 hours or more without resting.

Keywords: delivery, human material, wear and tear, absenteeism.


In Brazil, ECT is the main representative in the field of letter and parcel delivery activities. It operates in the postal segment, holding exclusivity over the services of receiving, transporting and delivering letters, postcards and grouped correspondence, in addition to receiving, transmitting and delivering telegrams, as provided for in Law 6,538/78 17. also, activities in the sectors of transport and delivery of parcels, periodicals and direct marketing pieces; in the provision of logistics services for international shipments of objects; acts as a banking correspondent, offering financial and convenience services, such as obtaining a CPF[2], purchasing and receiving products, paying retirees and Social Security pensioners and philately services.

ECT is highly regarded and respected in Brazil and worldwide. In recent years, it has adopted a certain work policy, in order to reduce costs and increase the company’s income, which is leaving many distribution agents, popularly known as postmen, in an unhealthy working situation. In this new delivery modality, one day the postman makes one side of the district, called side A, and leaves the letters from the other district, called side B, stopped, so that they accumulate with those of the following day, so that he himself makes the delivery. . In short, there will always be accumulated letters in high numbers to be delivered, which becomes an exhausting and dangerous routine for the health of workers, as human material ends up weakening, getting sick and moving away from the work sector. As everyone knows, the popular postman is that professional who arrives in the neighborhood every day with a bag full of correspondence, as varied as possible. Generally, the weight that each bag has when it is full depends a lot on the load contained in it, but most of the times it is above 10 kilos.

According to the company’s distribution manual (MANDIS), the distribution agent cannot carry more than 10 kilos in the bag for men, or more than 8 kilos for women, which does not happen in practice. It is common, in order not to suffer reprisals, for the employee to carry more than 15 kilos on his shoulders, and there is still the so-called “D.A” which is a letter container, which the employee leaves in a certain commercial establishment, and which he takes (to refill his bag ) with the rest of the letters destined for that neighborhood.

The service is quite exhausting, exhausting and tiring, since more than 10 km are covered daily; that is, each postman, which associated with time, ends up causing various problems with the spine, shoulder, knees, feet, etc. Anyway, the activity itself causes numerous ergometric health problems.

Due to this, the number of absenteeism in this company is increasing and, with the current cost containment plan, added to the lack of competition to hire new employees, and to an administration generally carried out by people linked to political parties and with no idea of ​​the whatever it is or what it is like to deliver a single letter, has increased the risk of dismissal for many employees. With the new measures adopted by the company, such as the reduction in the number of postmen and districts (the normal thing was to have one postman for each district), what was left was the accumulation of two districts for each postman, which was already tiring; but still bearable, it became exhausting and unbearable.

While the letters accumulate and pile up under the tables of the workers, who are unable to deliver them, the population suffers from the mess that the delivery has become. There are cases, for example, in which, for not knowing the district which he was obliged to make, the employee ends up not being able to make the delivery, and the customer ends up without his correspondence, even paying interest on the slips not delivered on time.


According to SINTECT-SP (union linked to the aforementioned company), in an article published on 11/11/2012, according to the MTB, a survey indicates that the work environment of postmen in the region is precarious and sensitive to the occurrence of occupational diseases. Workers travel long distances carrying large volumes of weight. According to the entity, on average, each postman walks approximately 15 km per day with a weight on his shoulders that exceeds 12 kg, in violation of the tender notice, which provides for a route of up to 7 km per day.

If we analyze, from the time of the news to the present day, five years have passed and, instead of the company improving the work situation of the employees, it did just the opposite, increasing the amount of load and distance traveled by each one, taking them to the extreme limit of physical fatigue.

According to a text by Natalia Montovan, a postal worker, a member of the female activist group Pão e Rosas, in an article written for the newspaper: (Diário Esquerda, 1/04/2015):

Nos Correios, é possível verificar a ocorrência de acidentes e doenças em todas as atividades, mas a situação dos carteiros é emblemática. A falta permanente de funcionários, devido a não abertura de concurso público para suprir todas as necessidades da empresa, leva a um aumento deste problema. Os Centros de Distribuição ficam sobrecarregados, afetando ainda mais a saúde dos trabalhadores.

The company is far from being able to solve the absenteeism issue; the bad working conditions; the lack of preparation of many supervisors and managers, and even of many positions of responsibility, which in their majority are political indications for representatives of ECT, who barely know the base of the company that are postmen, attendants, otts[3].

On the same page, she points out that:

Vários estudos relatam a alta de problemas de saúde entre carteiros, principalmente as lesões por esforço repetitivo (LER) e os distúrbios osteomusculares relacionados ao trabalho (DORT). As maiores queixas são de dores na coluna vertebral, torções de tornozelo, joelhos, pescoço e braços. A causa dessa incidência é pelas enormes distâncias percorridas, coluna pelo desgaste que sofre com o peso da bolsa, ombro e pulsos pela repetição exaustiva na triagem de cartas e na cervical pela posição que ficam para ordenar as cartas.

Due to these reasons, several workers end up seeking medical assistance, as there are numerous cases of removal (and even retirement) related to problems caused by the poor quality in the way of elaborating the services attributed to postmen. When the employee uses a bicycle, he ends up carrying more than 15 kilos of mail and parcels in the boxes he has, and, many times, he will have to pedal long distances to reach his place of work, up hills, downhill. There are several kilometers cycled, apart from the round trip distance; which results in greater wear on the knees, causing sequelae in these employees, and making them increasingly absent from the work sector, contributing to the high absenteeism rates that the company has.

With the change in the way of delivering correspondence, prepared by the new administration of the company, aiming to reduce costs and employees, the delivery starts to be made in an alternate way, that is: the worker in one day will deliver correspondence on one side, stipulated for side A , and the next day it will deliver mail on the B side. A single employee will deliver the mail that was previously made by two postmen at different locations. The consequence of this is the increase in the distance traveled, excessive load and overweight carried, which will cause greater physical wear, greater risk of ergometric, and, therefore, an increase in the rate of dissatisfaction and stress caused by such work condition.


According to the company’s internal newsletter (1 Hour), ECT has been facing the biggest crisis in its history, according to the company’s own data. Faced with this, the new management of the Post Office has been taking measures to try to alleviate the deficit that the company currently has, with a restructuring proposal to save the company’s coffers, which is on the verge of financial collapse. The problem is that, in this entire restructuring process, the new board, like the previous ones, seems more interested in serving the interests of some political parties.

As a result, workers, once again, are condemned to pay the bill for the crisis that shakes the company’s financial situation, caused by poorly prepared management, by administrators appointed by politicians and without any knowledge of the company’s routine and how it works. , which is the current case, once again, and due to embezzlement, as in the case of the Correios pension fund, called Postals, which has been deducted in installments from the employees’ monthly payment. As if that weren’t enough, the growing number of robberies, kidnappings and even beatings of postmen, whether motorized, pedestrian or cyclist, increases in Brazil, even causing psychological problems in employees who have to work every day, knowing that they are going to go out and they will certainly be mugged, beaten, or worse, which can result in serious health problems like panic disorder, or androphobia (fear of people).

Due to the amount of weight that they carry every day and to travel great distances, many employees end up developing several musculoskeletal problems, which are frequent causes of absence, and all this associated with the weather of the profession, becomes a time bomb. Thus, the number of employees who have been absent due to some of the aforementioned problems is very high. According to Mario Mecenas Pagani, Master in Physical Education and Nicaulis Costa Coserva, Master in Art Education, in an article published by the magazine: (ECS: ” studies carried out by Battié (1990); Manniche and Asmussen (1993) highlight the importance of Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Work (WRMD), stress and back problems in various professional activities”.

Are considered as causes of a greater number of problems, activities where the physical effort in dynamics is constant, causing the lack of professionals to work, resulting in reduced productivity of the company and reducing the profit margin. There are constant reports of workers on leave with problems with the spine, shoulder, knees, related to the type of work they perform. Ironically, in 2014 ECT modified the employees’ health plan (Correios Saúde), with a speech that it would be modernizing the agreement, created a subsidiary to manage the plan (Postal Saúde) and make it “cheaper”.

Na verdade, houve uma privatização disfarçada, que gerou revolta dos trabalhadores, provocando uma greve de 43 dias em vários locais do país, mas que não conseguiu reverter o ataque. Diferente do discurso, a realidade é que o convênio piorou muito, houve uma diminuição expressiva dos locais de atendimento. Num país onde a saúde pública é extremamente sucateada e insuficiente, o convênio acaba sendo a única saída, e no caso de uma categoria cuja saúde é tão afetada, faz muita diferença na qualidade de vida. (MANTOVAM, N,2015).

In general, all CDDs follow the same organizational pattern, from their opening to their closing, several standards elaborated and stipulated by the company must be followed, but in many cases they are not practiced or respected as they should be. A truck with a lift ramp is not used, and there are others where there is not even a hydraulic car, forcing employees to unload materials manually, exposing themselves to ergonomic risks and accidents.

According to interviews carried out with different postmen, from different places and regions, the company often goes against what stipulates and determines its own internal regulations and the law, and in its tender notices, with regard to weight and travelled distance. What happens inside the Home Distribution Centers (CDDs), according to some postmen interviewed, who requested that their names and place of work not be revealed, is that many CDDs do the opposite of what the company’s own internal regulations determine. For example, the weight of the bag for women is 8 kilos and for men 10 kilos, however employees carry more than 13 kilos in their bags, walk great distances, are taken to the extreme limit of work stress. There are still cases where many employees suffer violence in the streets such as cursing or are robbed and even kidnapped, often harassed by the customers themselves, for delivering commercial invoices in arrears, etc. With regard to robberies, employees even file the incident report, but they do not always have their CAT (work accident report) issued.


Absenteeism causes not only direct costs to the company, but also indirect costs represented by decreased productivity, increased production costs, reduced product quality, decreased work efficiency and administrative problems.

For Dr. Mara Luiza de Almeida Moriya and others, on Absenteeism-illness, […] ”the age-absenteeism relationship is a matter of whether absence is avoidable or not. In general, older employees have lower rates of avoidable absences than younger ones, older employees generally have lower rates of non-avoidable absences, likely due to poor health associated with aging and the longer recovery period than older employees older workers need when they have an accident. Note: Frequency rates [of absenteeism] are higher in young employees, with little time of service, among whom the rate of duration [of leave] is low; among older workers, with longer years of service, the opposite is true. Wilson, 1961, apud Nogueira (1980, p.18).

Figure 1. Absenteeism and its causes.

Causas do Absenteísmo <ul><li>doença efetivamente comprovada; </li></ul><ul><li>doença não comprovada; </li></ul><ul><li>r...

Source:(Human Resources Indicators Graduate in Strategic HR Management HR Management Kenneth Corrêa).

Cálculo do Índice de Absenteísmo <ul><li>Total de homem/horas perdidas X 100 </li></ul><ul><li>Total de homem/horas traba...

Source:(Human Resources Indicators Graduate in Strategic HR Management HR Management Kenneth Corrêa).

The type of service performed by postmen, by itself, affects many employees, who end up developing different pathological conditions with regard to the spine, bones, cartilage, muscles, etc. These are just a few inconveniences among others that distribution agents can face, apart from the scorching sun, heavy rain, wind, cold, flooded streets and all the bad weather that these professionals endure.

For Chiavenato (2000), there are several causes of absenteeism, which deserve to be identified and studied, including from the perspective of the impact on organizational productivity.

At the Post Office, the insufficient number of employees to carry out postman and other work, associated with poor service conditions, delayed salary, lack of recognition and incentive; more and more demands on the part of management, end up causing a high rate of dissatisfaction within the CDDs. According to reports from several employees from different locations, the company was once a good place to work and even want to pursue a career; nowadays, many say that they only remain in it because they do not have any other type of professional qualification. Fontes (1980) understands that absenteeism is a form of protest used by the employee to show that he is not satisfied with the working conditions. Argyris (1975), among others, points out that in some cases, absenteeism manifests itself through resentment towards the company, or even the immediate boss, in a deliberate way. Soares e Silva (2004) “among one of the most serious and usual consequences of absenteeism for organizations, there is a drop in productivity and, consequently, a drop in profits”. According to ECT, 2016 the absenteeism rate has been growing since 2011 until May 2016, when it was last measured.

In order to try to minimize the high rates of absenteeism and the consequent removal from the work sector suffered by postmen, the company adopts for a period of time the hiring of temporary labor (MOT), people who do not have a public examination, but who perform the same function as the distribution agents. This was one more way to try to alleviate the workload that thousands of postmen face daily, having an excess of service and, consequently, more physical wear, more stress and more absences. On the other hand, this outsourced labor also suffers the same bad weather as those with an aggravating public tender, because they have no bond, they have no rights to complain.

In some states, unions managed to bar, before the law, the hiring of this type of temporary employee, and this measure resulted in even more work increase that each postman performs. As the number of employees on leave is large and the negative situation that the current administration claims is only going to get worse, some specific actions are being taken below.

ECT is developing, together with Postal Saúde, the operator contracted by the company to manage and take care of the employees’ health plans, a program of assistance and assistance to employees who suffer or go through ergometry problems or who need rehabilitation. They are the so-called Labor Kinesiotherapy Center, in some Brazilian states, such as São Paulo, Bahia, etc. However, the employee who needs it is not always able to use the service, and these centers end up being for a few and not for everyone, as the distance and lack of free transport end up causing many of the employees in need of this assistance to be prevented from using them. it.

Kinesiotherapy is a treatment technique that is based on knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics, using various resources and techniques. In addition to providing physical conditioning, it improves strength, muscle and bone mass, mobility and flexibility. It also reduces occupational diseases, promotes postural reeducation, helps to control stress and maintain self-esteem.

The first studies on the use of therapeutic exercises date back to ancient Greece and Rome, but it was from World War I that there was a marked increase in the use of this resource for the rehabilitation of patients. This is due to the large number of incapacitated people during and after the fighting. Its main purpose is the maintenance or development of free movement for its function, and its main effects are the improvement of strength, resistance to fatigue, motor coordination, mobility and flexibility.

Licht (1965) defined therapeutic exercise as “movement of the body or body parts to relieve symptoms or improve function”. The purpose of the Labor Kinesiotherapy Program (PCL) is to encourage disease prevention practices, work conditioning and treatment of injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Labor kinesiotherapy seeks to develop in participants the concepts of self-care, health preservation and body awareness, promoting a better quality of life and the adoption of healthy habits, including at work.

The professionals who will work in the program are doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and physical educators – they may be from the Post Office or a provider hired by Postal Saúde, depending on the unit.

The PCL is available to all Post Office employees working at the implantation unit and, to participate, the employee will need to undergo a medical evaluation that must be scheduled with the help of the person responsible for the PCL (from the Post Office) in each unit. (Beneficiary Central, Postal Health, 01/16/2017).

It is intended, with these kinesiotherapy centers, to give a better living condition to the employees, alleviating the problems and inconveniences caused by the service and, as a consequence, reducing the number of certificates given to these professionals. It is stipulated that, with this and other measures adopted by the Absenteeism Management that the company has, the number of absences and leaves that end up impacting the economy of the Post Office and generating more work and overload for the companions, which causes a malaise at work and, later, more absences.


It could be seen that many leaves of absence of employees could be avoided and can be mitigated, as long as the company adopts measures that aim to reduce the impacts caused by transporting weight above what is permitted by law, which is 8 kilos for women and 10 for men, and to travel great distances, also above what the law allows, that is, 8 kilometers per day. It is also up to the company to raise awareness and train managers and supervisors of distribution centers to comply with this order, as many, for fear of losing their functions – which are most often due to indications and not through internal recruitment – act in accordance with their principles and of what they think is correct, when many times it is not.

The new method of delivering parcels puts a heavy burden on human material, which, due to service overload, gets sick and ends up moving away from the work sector and putting even more burden on other colleagues, as if it were a snowball that only tends to grow and get worse and worse.

Before the company implemented the new parcel delivery methodology, the work was carried out as follows: In a Distribution Center (CDD), in a given city, the neighborhoods are divided into 30 districts, that is, thirty different parcel delivery locations , where each postman spends an average of 4 to 5 hours walking uninterruptedly to handle the daily deliveries, not counting the waiting time for driving and the time spent on the journey between the CDD and the place of delivery, often done by bus and It can take more than 30 minutes between travel and waiting, both for the round trip and for the return trip. There are also deliveries of special objects, which postmen call registered and which must be signed by the recipient at the time of delivery, which takes an average of 3 to 5 minutes per person. If we consider that each delivery person takes at least 25 or more of these objects per day and we multiply it by the minimum waiting time of the postman for the customer, we will have (3x25min=75), the result will be an extra hour in the delivery of only these qualified objects. It is clear from these data how much a delivery man has to run to perform his arduous daily task, apart from the internal service that each one performs when arriving back from the streets, taking notes and disposing of qualified objects.

This was the way deliveries were made and, even with so many tasks and setbacks, the couriers performed their tasks in a satisfactory way for the company, and for the customer who received their correspondence without delay.

With the new methodology, the number of postmen was reduced, some were relocated, others retired and the districts were restructured and each delivery person, who had a district, gained a part of the other that was left without a postman. Thus, the volume of correspondence and qualified objects increased considerably. In the company’s view, this form of delivery works, but since its implementation to the present day, a large number of couriers complain of excessive service, physical and mental fatigue. On the other hand, there was an increase in the number of complaints at post offices due to lack of delivery or delay in correspondence, causing customer dissatisfaction.

According to Auguste Georgi (1847), job dissatisfaction as one of the fundamental forms of worker suffering is related to the content of the task. Such dissatisfaction may be due to feelings of unworthiness for the obligation to perform an uninteresting and meaningless task, of uselessness for not knowing what work represents in the set of activities in the company, of disqualification, both in terms of salary issues and related to the valorization of the work, in aspects such as responsibility, risk or necessary knowledge. Also according to Dejours, work-related stress can be understood as a set of psychological disturbances or psychological suffering, associated with work experiences, triggering the so-called occupational stress.


It is evident in this research, through studies, reports of employees, and all material used, that the category of employees of the company studied is affected by the most different problems, often caused by poor working conditions or by erroneous methodologies in its execution. . These are musculoskeletal disorders such as injuries, slumped shoulder syndrome, tendinitis, tenosynovitis, etc., in addition to psychological problems.

The new methodology of alternating mail delivery, created to reduce the number of districts and postmen, based on the cost reduction policy that it has been employing, to minimize the economic hole in the Post Office coffers, does not seem to be working. On the contrary, due to the overload, the number of absences and dissatisfaction with the company increased, which causes immense discomfort among superiors and employees.

Many CDD managers seem to be unaware or completely ignore the fact that diseases resulting from overwork, health risks and incorrectly applied ergometry are, little by little, causing even irreversible damage to workers.

It is necessary to post the Regulatory Norm (NR 17), which deals with Ergonomics and also the (NR 15) that deals with Unhealthy Activities and Operations.

There is a great lack of information on the subject from the company’s employees, especially the parcel delivery people who, among other tasks, also load and unload the cargo truck. In general, there is no type of training on the ergometric risks and what they can cause to the worker’s health. For all these reasons, the absenteeism rate tends to grow more and more, since there is a lack of policy and prevention action.

As for the company’s actions to reduce absenteeism, it should be noted that a solution is still far from this problem. It’s no use implementing a rehabilitation system, setting up labor kinesiotherapy clinics, when it doesn’t cover everyone, as they only exist in the capitals. The distant neighborhoods and the periphery will be at the mercy, not being able to travel to the treatment places, since the outsourced transport service that served the employees was withdrawn and each employee, if he needs to go to the central headquarters, has to pay from his pocket, even if it is reimbursed later.


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Websites:<acesso em: 07/2017.><acesso em 10/2017>.<acesso em:08/2017>.<acesso em: 07/2017>.<acesso em: 07/2017.>


2. Registry of Individuals in Brazil.

3. Sorting and Transshipment operator.

[1] Technologist in Logistics (FACULDADE DE CIENCIAS E LETRAS DON DOMENICO); M.B.A Business Management (UNIP); M.B.A Logística & Supply Chain (UNIP); Pedagogue (FACULDADE DE CIENCIAS E LETRAS DON DOMENICO); Clinical and Institutional Psychopedagogue (FALC).

Sent: February, 2018

Approved: October, 2018

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