5,214 workers died on the job in the U.S. in 2008 "With every one of these fatalities, the lives of a worker's family members were shattered and forever changed. We can't forget that fact."
-Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor

Safety is a key component of all Postal Service operations, activities, and facilities. Nonetheless, safety issues do occur in the Postal Service as in other organizations. Recently, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors found electrical safety violations in several Postal Service Processing and Distribution Facilities (P&DCs).

Electrical Safety issues at Postal P&DCs identified by OSHA include:

•Electricity problems in facilities
•Failure to adequately lock out machines' power sources to prevent unexpected start-ups
•Inadequate training for employees exposed to electrical hazards
•Failure to provide electrical protective equipment to protect employees from arc-flash hazards and electrical current
•Failure to use appropriate safety signs, safety symbols or accident prevent tags to warn employees about electrical hazards

As a result of the findings, OSHA has announced that it will inspect the over 300 P&DCs nationwide.

But OSHA does not consider only electricity–related safety. Other areas of concern include:

•Employee workplace rights
•Chemical Hazard Communication
•How To Prepare For Workplace Emergencies
•Personal Protective Equipment
•Biological agents

There are also many instances of praise for the Postal Service from OSHA including:

A 2009 inspection for safety levels at the El Paso Postal Distribution Center that resulted in merit recognition in the Voluntary Protection Programs for its employee health and safety achievements.

Also in 2009, the Postal Service's Evergreen Detached Carrier Unit in Hillsboro, OR, received OSHA's highest safety recognition award.

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This topic is hosted by the OIG's Audit Engineering and Facilities team.

Comments (6)

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  • anon

    Thanks for the inquiry, Brian, Employees are required to immediately report safety hazards, unsafe working conditions or practices, to their supervisor for resolution. Additionally, employees are encouraged to report safety concerns by completing a PS Form 1767, Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition, or Practice. The purpose of PS Form 1767 is to provide a channel of communication between employees and management that ensures prompt analysis and corrective action is taken. Managers are instructed to resolve the situation if possible. They are required to complete a work order, attach it to the top copy of the PS Form 1767, and to provide follow up to see that the safety issue has been corrected. The manager is also to notify the employee of the results. The most important part of the entire process is the immediate reporting of safety concerns to a supervisor, followed by the supervisor correcting the situation.

    Dec 27, 2012
  • anon

    Bill, Thank you for the information. As I stated this may have been a disgruntled employee, however, he did say that he reported the safety issue to his supervisor. He then took things into his own hands and moved the packages that were blocking the exit. He then stated that this is what got him trouble and eventually lost his job. So with this being said, I appreciate the information and I will follow up with him and ensure that he did indeed file the appropriate paperwork. Thanks again, Brian

    Jan 11, 2013
  • anon

    I was approached by a gentleman that stated that he worked at a facility and the egress path was blocked by two pallets of mail. I am a fire prevention officer and informed him that I could go there and request that the pallets be moved, however, I had no jurisdiction in the building. My question is who has the authority to ensure that exits/egress and general public/worker safety is enforced at these facilities? I realize that this could just be a disgruntled employee, however, this is an issue that was presented to us and I would like to know where to turn if this happens again! Thanks for the info,

    Dec 20, 2012
  • anon

    There is a bad smell coming from our bathroom drain in the middle of floor in p.o. bathroom. All that is ever done with it is place a box over it in the path to walk in. Also there is water leak near air coditioner above an electrical outlet. Also there is water on concrete from this that the employees stand in to work, even thou its mopped up it stays wet for a long period of time. It has ben reported to the owner, and was not fixed, as they didn't see a problem.The carrier case light is plugged in to this outlet and it has shorted out in the past. Post master sees no problem with it. HE ALSO SEES NO PROBLEM WITH THE SEWER GAS OR SMELL, EVEN THOU CUSTOMERS AND WORKERS IS CONCERNED.

    Oct 10, 2010
  • anon

    Hello, truthbetold, We appreciate your comments on all of the OSHA related issues. Also, we have followed your suggestion that the second question needed to be made into two separate questions.

    Aug 13, 2010
  • anon

    There are curently less than 272 Processing Distribution Centers and Facilities. The USPS no longer is a participant in the VPP Corporate program. OHSA did not renew the USPS application which expired in April of this year. The second question,"Did you report your concern(s) and did management take appropriate action?" is misleading. A yes response would apply for the concern and action taken. A no response would also apply to both the concern and action taken. You did not give an option for answering the concern and action or inaction taken differently.

    Aug 11, 2010