Video: OWCP does about face on postal widow’s death benefits after TV news coverage

More proof that if you have a problem with the USPS or other government agencies, your best bet is to go straight to your local news media. In this case, the widow of a California postal worker got the US Postal Service to abandon its insane “don’t call 911” policy after it contributed to the death of her husband. And now, she’s finally gotten the OWCP to pay her the death benefits she’s entitled to- all thanks to a couple of minutes of damning video on the local TV station:

The federal Office of Workers’ Compensation approved an East Bay widow’s claim for death benefits one day after an NBC Bay Area investigation revealed her year-long battle for benefits following the death of her husband, Sam.

The government had twice denied Larnie Macasieb’s petitions, but in a stunning reversal last week, the office approved her claim.

“Winning this is something that I know Sam has something to do with,” Macasieb said of her late husband. “He knows because I always dream of him. He was very happy and he hugs me and he tells me ‘I love you’ and I tell him ‘I love you too.’”

Macasieb’s husband died following a traumatic head injury he suffered during his shift at the Postal Processing and Distribution Center in West Oakland in August 2014.

Source: Government Reverses Decision After NBC Bay Area Report | NBC Bay AreaLarnie-Still

Video: Widow of California Postal Worker Denied Death Benefits

An East Bay widow whose husband died after he sustained a serious injury at work is fighting for tens of thousands of dollars in benefits she believes the government owes her.

Twice Larnie Macasieb filed claims with the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs after her husband Sam died.

The government says there is not enough evidence to prove what happened. Records show postal service personnel blocked law enforcement from the facility, rendering them unable to conduct an investigation.

Source: Widow of Postal Worker Denied Death Benefits | NBC Bay Area

It took USPS eight months to change national 911 policy after employee’s death

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USPS ELM instructions on handling medical emergencies, retrieved June 28, 2015

Yesterday we learned that the widow of Oakland CA postal worker Samuel Macasieb, who died on the job after co-workers followed USPS policy and didn’t immediately call 911, has had to take legal action against the US Postal Service in order to claim the benefits she is entitled to. The lawyer arguing on behalf of Ms. Macasieb says that “Following the incident, according to the court documents, the government denied federal benefits to Samuel’s widow, claiming it was not work-related”. While most readers were already familiar with the Macasieb case from the extensive coverage it received last year, some weren’t. A number of those readers expressed disbelief that such a 911 policy had ever existed at a postal facility.

Not only did the local policy exist- the national policy that authorized it was still in effect up until just last month, ten months after Mr. Macasieb’s death. Even today, more than a month after the policy was supposedly changed, the online version of the DMM still instructs employees to “Notify security or other designee, who calls 911” in the event of a medical emergency. Continue reading

USPS denies benefits to widow of postal worker who died after delayed 911 call

Samuel Macasieb

Workers’ Compensation attorney, George P. Surmaitis, with A Professional Law Corporation, recently attended a hearing for a U.S. postal worker’s widow in a highly controversial case regarding the death of postal worker Samuel Macasieb, who died inside the west Oakland processing and distribution center, one of the largest and busiest postal service facilities in California. According to the court documents, it is alleged that Macasieb suffered apparent head trauma that left him incapacitated; however, due to USPS policy, no one called 911 immediately. In the event of a medical emergency, a USPS employee is required to first find a supervisor, who then must contact postal police and ask them to call 911.

“Only the postal police are able to initiate the 911 procedure, and employees were not allowed to call 911 and policy wouldn’t allow police or medical professionals into the facility,” said Surmaitis, who is co-counsel with Cory A. Birnberg of Birnberg & Associates, representing the widow of Samuel Macasieb.

Following the incident, according to the court documents, the government denied federal benefits to Samuel’s widow, claiming it was not work-related, which Surmaitis is trying to rectify. Samuel worked for the USPS for 28 years, working the graveyard shift operating a letter-sorting machine. The recent hearing took place before a Hearing Representative of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) of the U.S. Department of Labor (Case No. 132315562).

“This type of hearing is informal, but the stakes are high for the family of Mr. Macasieb,” said Surmaitis. “The hearing office has allowed us a window of time to submit additional evidence and we hope that upon receipt of that evidence that we will be able to obtain a favorable outcome for Samuel’s widow.”

Video: USPS Oakland plant finally changes 911 policy that may have cost employee’s life

The United States Postal Service (USPS) changed an outdated emergency policy in January following an NBC Bay Area investigation that exposed critical delays in a life and death situation at a mail processing facility in Oakland.

The policy, dating back to the 1970s, advised postal service employees not to call 911 first when they witnessed a medical emergency and instead instructed them to call the onsite postal police unit. The policy stated “Only the postal police are to initiate the 911 procedure.”

The USPS adopted a new 911 policy in the Oakland facility at the beginning of the year. The first line now states “In an emergency, anyone should immediately call 911.”

Read more: USPS Changes Outdated 911 Policy | NBC Bay Area.

Video: Congresswoman in Talks with USPS Over “Don’t Call 911” Policy

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee has spoken with leaders “at the highest level” of the USPS about a policy that instructs employees to first call security when they witness a medical emergency—not 911.

An NBC Bay Area investigation exposed last month that the policy led to delays that may have cost the life of Sam Macasieb, a 28-year-veteran employee at the postal processing and distribution center in West Oakland. Congresswoman Lee represents California’s 13th district, where the facility is located.

Read more: Congresswoman in Talks with USPS Over 911 Policy | NBC Bay Area.

Video: Union Questions USPS Over “Don’t Call 911” Policy

After an NBC Bay Area investigation uncovered a policy that prevents most postal service employees from dialing 911 in an emergency, the union representing those employees has gotten involved.

The American Postal Workers union sent a letter to top postal service officials in Washington, DC, asking them to explain the rationale behind the policy that instruct employees “not to call 911 when a co-worker is in obvious need of medical care.”

In August, veteran postal service employee Sam Macasieb died at a postal processing center in West Oakland. His coworkers found him on the ground, bleeding from the mouth in urgent need of medical care. But instead of calling 911—they followed the protocol, which was to notify supervisors so they could call the on-site postal police officers and wait for them to notify 911.

It took up to 53 minutes between the time witnesses said they first saw Macasieb to the time the postal police called 911.

via Union Questions USPS Over Controversial Emergency Policy | NBC Bay Area.

APWU Demands Info on Emergency Procedures

From the American Postal Workers Union:

Samuel Macasieb died after postal workers followed USPS procedure, and didn’t call 911 as he lay dying.

Director of Industrial Relations Tony D. McKinnon Sr. has asked the Postal Service to explain its protocols for providing emergency medical assistance after learning that a Bay Area postal employee lay dying for as much as 50 minutes before 911 was called. The incident, which occurred in August, came to light in November, when the local NBC television affiliate aired a detailed expose of situation.

“No one saw how Macasieb, 59, was injured but coworkers later said they found him lying on his back, barely conscious, with blood coming from his mouth and ears,” the station reported. “Apparent head trauma left him incapacitated. According to an internal postal service report, employees didn’t call 911 right away. They proceeded to contact several supervisors and managers who then alerted the onsite postal police department, who finally contacted 911. Details in the report show that up to 53 minutes elapsed from the time Macasieb was found to when emergency medical personnel were contacted.

“According to the USPS, this chain of events wasn’t a mistake. It was a policy,” the television report noted. “Employees are routinely instructed not to call 911, but to alert a supervisor first.”

The Postal Service’s written policy says, “Only the Postal Police are to initiate the 911 procedure.”

Samuel Macasieb later died, but the APWU was not notified of the death.

APWU Demands Info on Emergency Procedures | APWU.