The pandemic has had a devastating impact on many American businesses, disrupting operations of every type and size. While the U.S. Postal Service has also been adversely affected, it continued to deliver mail and packages throughout the pandemic to every address in the nation, ensuring people receive medication and other important material every day.

But what about the safety of the 641,000 postal workers working out of 31,500 facilities across the United States?

In our recently-released audit, Employee Safety – Postal Service COVID-19 Response, we assessed the USPS response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak regarding the safety of its workers and facilities. The Postal Service created a COVID-19 Command Response Team at headquarters, adjusted operations, and procured personal protective equipment and supplies. These quick actions likely saved lives and certainly increased safety. Yet, despite these efforts, as of early November, several thousand postal employees have been infected by the coronavirus and some have died.

While we recognize the challenges the pandemic has presented, we identified three areas where the Postal Service can make improvements to better protect employees: face-covering policy, contact-tracing program, and employee health screenings. For example, we visited 10 facilities — including five mail processing and five retail and delivery facilities — and in four of these facilities, we observed employees not adhering to the local face covering policies.

If you visited a post office lately or are a Postal Service employee, what other safety measures would you suggest?

Comments (20)

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  • anon

    I think people need to learn about a virus and how it spreads. Unless you have the correct mask on, those cloth masks and other masks (other than the N95 mask) do not stop or prevent Covid (also backed by many physicians and Dr. Fauci). The virus are microscopic and can get through those masks. Also like any other virus, viruses mutate. So before crying about someone not wearing (an N95 mask), please make sure you are wearing the proper N95 mask and not a cloth mask, otherwise quit complaining about people not wearing a mask. Do some proper research through proper websites (like .gov, . Org). Quit being afraid of a virus you can get vaccinated for. If you’re still afraid of the virus after being vaccinated then wear a proper mask and stop worrying about others since you have been vaccinated.

    Jul 24, 2021
  • anon

    Does OSHA visit the post offices? have they seen the heavy large boxes the USPS is requiring them to deliver without proper equipment? Is this part of OIG's job? This is in regards to rural delivery.

    Jul 02, 2021
  • anon

    OMG>>>> I go to Acme, no masks, I go to Lowes No Masks, I go to BJ's no masks, I go to Ace. How about you get with the program...... If you still want to wear a mask for YOUR SAFETY DO SO. But YOU are the only one that is pushing the issue. Our lobby is 13 X 15 feet. and you make it ONE PERSON AND HAVE TO WEAR MASKS. This is so nuts and if you want YOUR PEOPLE to wear masks go for it. Stop forcing people to wear masks when we can walk through stores with 20, 60, 100 people inside and not have to. UNLESS it is a personal want. You control your people YOU DO NOT CONTROL others. You want masks then MAKE YOUR PEOPLE DO SO.. I am done with someone pushing this political hack garbage.

    Jun 21, 2021
  • anon

    The workers here (35754) aren’t wearing masks, either in the p.o. building or while delivering mail (even when knocking on our door and expecting us to open it, and refusing to step back more than a few inches from our door). There are plexiglass barriers at the office, but there are big open spaces between them. The workers aren’t socially-distancing from customers or each other, and they aren’t asking customers to wear masks. Please do something. Covid rates are still high, here, and things are probably going to get worse soon.

    Apr 08, 2021
  • anon

    Soquel post office workers do not mask up. I just went to the post office on soquel and the person who was working there was not wearing a mask. I asked him to put a mask on and he motioned for me to leave and said thank you, and I told him that I wanted to ship my packages here but did not feel comfortable getting service from him without a mask on. Again he loudly said thank you and motioned for me to leave... Immediately after leaving, I tried to call USPS but I was unable to connect to a representative. Not only is it unacceptable to not wear a mask at work as a public worker, but he was extremely rude! I tried to call that post office but the line was off the hook, I suspect because I told him I would call his supervisor. He does not care about the health of our community. I do not feel comfortable knowing that the people who handle our mail are so unsanitary. If he can’t wear a mask, he can’t be around people. I have an autoimmune disease and recently was forced to return to work; going to the post office is part of my job. I was unable to do my job today AND was put at risk of infection.

    Feb 05, 2021
  • anon

    I just witnessed and documented (not for the first time) the Bixby Knolls CA post office corral a large group of people into the small front counter area so they could close the doors at closing time and help who was left in line. Under normal circumstances I would consider this as a nice thing to do. However, with the number of COVID cases skyrocketing in SoCal I find this incredibly alarming and completely unacceptable. And nobody is doing a darn thing about it. SHAME ON YOU!!!!

    Dec 18, 2020
  • anon

    I have been in several local post offices recently and in only one were employees wearing masks. The worst was when I went to one shortly after they opened and the rural delivery drivers were still behind the counter sorting the mail for them to deliver. There were at least five men spring mail with no social distancing and not one was wearing a mask. The person at the counter was also unmasked. Perhaps this is the reason the USPS is reporting so many employees have become ill with Covid? They certainly blame Covid for a the ridiculous delays and mis-routed mail.

    Dec 15, 2020
  • anon

    It's sooo funny the blue smoke and mirrors Postal management uses our District nurse's voice mail is full you cannot even leave a message alerting him to a positive covid test! Our District safety head claims each unit is supposed to do a deep cleaning of the casing area of the employee after a positive test lmmfao!

    Dec 12, 2020
  • anon

    I would suggest either another dependable mail carrier that we can rely on to deliver our packages or look into the mail carriers background history

    Dec 10, 2020
  • anon

    Want to know what keeps postal employees safe? Getting rid of the Grumman vehicles and upgrading to the all electric Workhorse vehicles ASAP. One vehicle catches fire just about every week.

    Dec 09, 2020
  • anon

    You're giving recommendations as if the USPS at area level cares about safety, which they don't. Inspect what you expect.

    Dec 08, 2020
  • anon

    Again Celebration Florida the facility is poorly designed so that social distancing is not possible all while mask are either not worn or worn incorrectly

    Dec 08, 2020
  • anon

    Celebration Florida location, manager wears masks under her nose while other employees at counter don’t wear masks at all.

    Dec 08, 2020
  • anon

    Curtains should be put up between clerks at windows... some have, using shower curtains, but have been told this is not allowed.... Perhaps curtains separating customers are also warranted, or some other dividers used. Future doorways should ALL have doors that open without employees or customers having to touch doorknobs/handles Extra maintenance hours in all offices, including repeated cleaning of lobbies and work areas where employees are working... especially doorknobs and handles..... evaluation of air quality and circulation... ensuring fresh air is used in all offices not recycled air.... high quality air filtration used where this is not possible.

    Dec 08, 2020
  • anon

    Policies that are not enforced are useless. An explanation, please, of the policy that different arrangements will be made for those who feel they cannot wear masks - what does that mean?

    Dec 07, 2020
  • anon

    Good point. Of course, management will say that all policies are being adhered to. We know that the reports are being falsified. For clerks that "can't" wear a mask - they should be reasonably accommodated by putting them to work with each other &/or where there is little to no chance of being closer than 6' from the masked employees.

    Dec 08, 2020
  • anon

    I am very grateful for the USPS work. They work long hours and late ones if they are working a rural route. They need the continued support of the government. At times the conditions which are endured by employees are like a runner in a race has a cannon ball tied to his/her leg to slow him/her down. Having a government run agency is the best way to deliver the necessary service. It should never be nationalized.

    Dec 07, 2020
  • anon

    A very effective health safety measure the USPS could implement for the customer, would be the elimination of the point of sale credit card reader/data collector. Infections are transmitted by having to press buttons, answer questions on LCD screens, and scribbling signatures using the same contaminated electronic pens.

    Dec 07, 2020
  • anon

    Just depends on the office! Are management has lied to OHNA and done whatever they can to bully people into coming back to work. Office of similar size, 50 miles away. The management team has followed proper protocol and care about the safety of their employees!! I

    Dec 07, 2020
  • anon

    True. Social media is chock full of proof of this.

    Dec 08, 2020