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OSHA

OSHA proposes fines of $144,000 for USPS facility in Champaign, Ill.

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The U.S. Postal Service facility in Champaign has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for eight safety violations carrying proposed fines of $144,000. The citations are the result of a complaint inspection in June that found a lack of both energy control procedures and fall protection at the facility.

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Video: OSHA Fines USPS for repeated safety violations in Dothan AL

DOTHAN, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service on Main Street in Dothan for four safety violations carrying $84,000 in proposed penalties following the agency’s inspection begun in July in response to a complaint.

“The Postal Service continues to expose workers to hazards that put employees at risk of serious injury,” said Joseph Roesler, OSHA’s area director in Mobile. “The employer has an extensive OSHA history and needs to take immediate action to eliminate unsafe working conditions from the workplace.”

Read more: OSHA Cites U.S. Postal Service in Dothan.

OSHA opens investigation into death of Massachusetts postal worker who collapsed in the heat

oshaThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration is opening an investigation into the circumstances of the death of a postal worker who collapsed on the job in Medford Friday, a spokesmen for the Department of Labor said Monday.

James Baldasarre, 45, collapsed near the Hyatt Place Hotel on Riverside Avenue about 5:40 p.m. Friday and was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston where he later died, according to postal service and Medford Fire Department officials.

Temperatures peaked at 95 degrees on Friday with an average relative humidity of 62 percent, according to the National Weather Service.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified of the death by the Postal Service, and its Andover office is opening its own review of Baldasarre’s death, according to Department of Labor spokesman Ted Fitzgerald.

Read more: OSHA opens investigation into death of Medford postal worker who collapsed in the heat – Medford – Your Town – Boston.com.

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.

 

Video: Postal employee killed in workplace accident in Brooklyn Center MN

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. – An employee of the U.S. Post Office branch in Brooklyn Center is dead after being run over by a truck Tuesday morning.

Brooklyn Center Police were dispatched to the postal branch at 6845 Lee Avenue around 7:30 a.m. on reports of a workplace accident.

Witnesses say an employee was backing up a semi truck to the loading dock when it stuck another employee who was walking in to the building.

Read more: Postal employee killed in workplace accident in Brooklyn Center | kare11.com.

OSHA Cites Maine, Michigan USPS Facilities for Unsafe Working Conditions

APWU Web News Article 025-2013, March 8 , 2013

oshaThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a citation to the Postal Service for unsafe working conditions at its Scarborough ME facility and fined the agency $27,500 on Feb. 1.

The Postal Service failed to mark aisles in work areas where mechanical handling equipment such as forklifts and tow-motors routinely travel, in violation of OSHA Standard 29 CPR 1910.176(a), OSHA charged.  The Postal Service has appealed, and the APWU has requested “party status” to participate in the appeal process.

OSHA classified the violation as a “repeat” offense because “final orders” for the same unsafe practice were previously issued at two other workplaces – on April 11, 2010, in Littleton MA, and on Sept. 21, 2009, in Cleveland.  The final orders serve as evidence the Postal Service was aware of the hazard, OSHA said. The repeat citation in Scarborough charges that the USPS failed to correct the known hazard in all its facilities.

Michigan

OSHA also issued the USPS a repeat citation on Nov. 15, 2012, and fined the agency $25,000 for safety violations at its Romulus MI facility. Electric tow motors were modified without prior written approval by the manufacturer, OSHA said, exposing employees to the potential to be struck by, crushed or caught in the modified tow.

Modification of the equipment violates OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.178(a)(4), OSHA said. According to OSHA, the modified latches fail to provide a secure connection between the tow-motors and the container. Under these conditions containers weighing hundreds of pounds could become unlatched and roll uncontrollably on the workroom floor.

The Postal Service has appealed the citation and fine, and the APWU has requested party status to participate in the proceedings.

OSHA issued a prior final order for the same unsafe condition on Dec. 21, 2010, in Pittsburgh.

OSHA Issues Citations, Fines in Charlotte

oshaOSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has issued citations and fines of $16,500 against the USPS for safety violations at the Charlotte NC postal facility.

The citations, which were related to work on grinding machinery, were classified as “repeat” violations because the USPS was previously cited for the unsafe practice at a workplace in Raleigh NC. An employer may be penalized for repeated violations if it has been cited within the last five years for the same or similar hazard.

The Postal Service has 15 working days from receipt of the Jan. 24 citations to appeal OSHA’s ruling at an Informal Conference.

The APWU has notified OSHA that the union wishes to be present at the conference if the Postal Service requests one.

 

OSHA Cites USPS for Safety Violations in RI

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the USPS for safety violations at its Providence, RI operation including three violations concerning the organization’s failure to protect employees from multiple potential hazards from using powered industrial trucks. OSHA also admonished the USPS for two safety violations that were not specifically covered under OSHA regulations. The penalties proposed in the citations total $6,630.

According to OSHA’s informal settlement agreement, the USPS failed to meet OSHA standards when it did not ensure that warning and danger labels were legible on powered industrial trucks. Powered industrial trucks were also left unattended whereby the load engaging means were not fully loaded, controls were not neutralized, power was not shut off, and brakes were not set. Also, forklift operators did not have the load and load engaging means tilted back while traveling.

OSHA also discovered that the Automated Package Processing System (APPS) is currently configured in a way that employees could extend an arm or leg into the hazard zone without triggering a shutdown of the system. Additionally, OSHA observed that the various mail-handling carts used at the facility had defective components.

Since no specific OSHA standards applied to the hazards related to the APPS and mail-handling carts, no citation was issued. OSHA suggested the USPS install additional sensors to the pallet unloader subsystem and/or install an interlocked gate at the loading station to address the APPS safety hazard. OSHA stated that USPS should conduct inspections on all component parts of mail-handling carts when they arrive at the facility; conduct refresher training to mail handlers; and establish and implement a method to track and notify sending facilities of requirement to remove damaged carts from service.

The Postal Service intends to challenge OSHA’s decision regarding the APPS violation. The APWU national office encourages locals to share OSHA’s recommendations with sites in their regions that have an APPS machine.

OSHA blames USPS for heat-related death of Missouri letter carrier

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service Truman Station in Independence, Mo., with a willful violation for failing to protect employees working in excessive heat. OSHA initiated an inspection in July after a mail carrier developed heat-related illness symptoms, collapsed while working his route and was taken to the hospital where he died as a result of his exposure to excessive heat.

“This tragedy underscores the need for employers to take proactive steps to keep workers safe in extreme heat,” said Charles Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City. “If this employer had trained workers in recognizing the symptoms of heat stroke, and taken precautions to ensure workers had access to water, rest and shade, this unfortunate incident may have been avoided.”

The willful violation addresses the hazard of multiple employees who were required to work during periods when excessive heat advisories and warnings were issued by the National Weather Service. The employer did not have procedures in place to address worker concerns during times of excessive heat. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Information and resources for workers and employers on heat illness, including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency, are available in English and Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html. Materials include a training curriculum. OSHA also has a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites, which can be downloaded in English or Spanish at http://s.dol.gov/RI. The application displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level.

Penalties of $70,000 have been proposed. The Postal Service has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Kansas City, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), or the agency’s Kansas City office at 816-483-9531.

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.

OSHA cites Tucson, Ariz., postal facility for exposing workers to potential injuries from a powered industrial truck

TUCSON, Ariz. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Tucson for one willful safety violation for the improper operation of a powered industrial truck. The proposed penalty is $70,000.

OSHA’s investigation of the facility, located at 1501 S. Cherrybell Stravenue, was prompted by a complaint that an untrained, uncertified supervisor had operated a powered industrial truck during an evening shift. The truck, which is used to move large quantities of mail, requires training and certification to operate. When two of three certified truck operators did not report for their shift, a supervisor without training or certification operated the truck, exposing workers to potential injuries. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

“Training and certification for powered trucks is required to prevent injuries and save lives, and it should be a top safety priority for all USPS facilities,” said Zachary Barnett, director of OSHA’s Phoenix Area Office.

Violations of OSHA’s powered industrial truck standard are among the top five types of violations most commonly cited by OSHA in fiscal year 2012.

The U.S. Postal Service has 15 business days from receipt of its citation and penalty to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Phoenix office at 602-514-7250.