OSHA and USPS agree on multi-million dollar safety settlement

oshaWASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the U.S. Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union have agreed to terms of a settlement that will improve safety in postal facilities across the country. The settlement follows negotiations stemming from inspections at 42 Postal Service sites in 2009 and 2010 that found violations of OSHA standards on electrical work practices. USPS contested the citations, and OSHA then sought enterprise-wide relief before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

“As a large employer, with a substantial number of affected employees throughout many different types of facilities, the U.S. Postal Service faced many challenges in improving their electrical safe-work program,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “In entering this agreement, OSHA recognizes the Postal Service’s commitment and dedication to worker safety.”

As part of the settlement, which covers all Postal Service facilities nationwide, including processing and distribution centers and post offices, USPS has revised its written policies and procedures on electrical work, prohibiting workers from working on electrically energized equipment except for a defined set of tasks that can only be performed while equipment is energized, such as troubleshooting and testing. To ensure compliance with these electrical safety policies, USPS will assign a trained electrical work plan coordinator at each facility. In addition, USPS will provide and require the use of electrically protective gloves and full body arc flash protection for energized work, including voltage testing.

“Employee safety has always been a top priority for the Postal Service,” said Jeffrey Williamson, USPS chief human resources officer and executive vice president. “We are happy to have resolved this issue amicably and in the best interests of the safety of our employees.”

USPS has also agreed to audit the implementation of the electrical safe-work program at all maintenance-capable facilities, and report the results in detail to OSHA quarterly during the two-year term of the agreement. In addition, OSHA will meet with the Postal Service on a regular basis to discuss the results of OSHA monitoring inspections and USPS audits, as well as any concerns or problems encountered. Also, USPS will retrain all employees performing electrical work to comply with OSHA requirements for electrical work. Supervisors and affected employees also will receive additional training on electrical safe-work practices.

Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, said, “The APWU is pleased to be a part of this landmark commitment to worker safety, which will ensure the protection of postal workers from electrical hazards.”

Under the settlement, the Postal Service has agreed to pay $100,000 at signing and a suspended payment of $3 million pending full abatement of the hazards. OSHA will monitor the Postal Service’s progress toward abatement and evaluate that progress against negotiated milestones.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.


  • N Man

    awesome! now we get to wait 1/2 an hour twiddling thumbs while the Et’s powerdown a machine change a belt then power it back up.. when it used to take less than 5 minutes. and could be done safely.

  • safety not

    that’s right n man if you want to work unsafe go to wal mart where for $8.75 an hour you can cook your own goose

  • KaRi ThePrimeSpot

    There are other unsafe conditions including mail trays and hampers that are SOOO heavy when there are newer, lighter trays/hampers to use. How about the PLACEMENT of mailboxes ie. One street here in 90803 has at least 8 houses where the carriers have to climb 17-21 stairs to get to the mail box… I can give you more, just ask (562)804-5625

  • KaRi ThePrimeSpot

    Wonder how hiring newbies at half wages will affect Worker’s Comp experience. Many USPSers take care of aches and pains caused by work via their own private health insurance. (ie I myself didn’t file W/C for tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, a bum knee) I took reglar sick leave and changed my ways, also switched from a 2 ton truck to a van to avoind the high step entering/exiting the vehicle. If the newbies do NOT have medical insurance…………. Anyway, if the USPS is going to survive, they need to listen to experienced workers on the “front line.”
    As far as NEW ideas, I’ve got plenty: reclaiming ie. 90809.com and all other zip code DOT coms from China and various individuals and use them for “Preferred Digital Customers”, implement use of ie. 90809.GOV …. They have already implemented my idea of “Same Day Express Mail” although my idea has been sitting in the (old) postmasters queue for the past, what 8 years?
    If YOU have the POWER to improve the PO, call me OR contact me via the “State of the USPS” facebook page! (562)804-5625 as I seek to CREATE jobs within the USPS that use (disabled) employee’s brains not their bodies!
    I even reserved NUSPS dot com (“N” for new) and the dot gov can easily be used… Change the logo. WHY? Because they changed the uniform (got rid of carrier’s stripes) so now we look like everyone else AND, with everyone retiring, etc. well where do you think I bought my used uniform 18 years ago because there is no “uniform return”? IN A THRIFT STORE!
    Talk about Security breach! It could be quite easy for ANYone to throw on a uniform and pretend they’re postal and do Who Knows What?
    – KaRi 90809