PROCEDURES FOR SAFE MAIL HANDLING
- Be on the lookout for suspicious envelopes or packages.
- Do not open suspicious mail.
- Cover cuts and abrasions with bandages.
- Open mail with a letter opener or another method that minimizes skin contact
with the mail and is least likely to disturb contents.
- Open mail with a minimum amount of movement.
- Face the package or mail away from you, before opening it.
- Do not blow into envelopes.
- Keep hands away from nose and mouth while opening mail.
- Turn off fans, portable heaters, and other equipment that may create air
currents while opening mail.
- Wash hands after handling mail with soap and water.
During mail handling, if an employee chooses to wear gloves for protection,
vinyl or nitrile gloves are recommended. Avoid gloves that are lined with powder.
If you receive a suspicious package/letter or the mail appears to
contain a suspicious powder:
- Put the letter or package down on a stable surface and do not open or handle
it further. (Do not shake or disturb its contents.)
- If possible, isolate the package. (Place in a plastic bag and seal.)
- Alert others nearby. (Keep others away.)
- Do not try to clean up the substance.
- Leave the area and close the door gently.
- Wash hands and exposed skin with soap and water. (not waterless antibacterial
- Contact Public Safety at 215-596-7000. Public Safety will
respond and will contact local, state, or federal authorities, as appropriate.
- Limit movements within the building to prevent spread of substance. (Responders
will consider if the ventilation system should be shut off.)
Characteristics of suspicious packages and letters
- Discoloration, oily stains, or an unusual odor.
- Crystals, powder, or powder-like residue on the surface.
- Suspicious or threatening language on the outside of package or letter.
- Postmark that does not match return address or no return address.
- Restrictive endorsements such as "Personal" or "Confidential".
- Distorted handwriting, block-printed or poorly typed addresses.
- Excessive tape or string.
- Rigid, uneven, irregular, or lopsided package.
- Package with soft spots, bulges, or excessive weight.
- Handwritten, block-printed or poorly typed addresses.
- Excessive postage.
- Title but no name or incorrect title.
- Misspelled addressee's name, title, or location.
- Misspelled common words.
- Addressee unknown or no longer with organization.
- Protruding wires or aluminum foil.
- Ticking sound.
- Unexpected mail from a foreign country.