It might not surprise you that dog bites are among the top accidents involving postal workers. After all, dog bites get a lot of media attention and even have a week dedicated to their prevention.

But that’s just one type of accident. Others include accidents involving motor vehicles, falls, and repetitive motion injuries. These risks are why the U.S. Postal Service focuses so much attention on reducing accidents in the workplace. It sets an accident frequency rate goal of 15 per year per 100 employees.

We recently audited USPS facilities in the Great Lakes Area because they reported the highest average accident frequency rate of all seven Postal Service areas the past two years, at 17.9 per 100 employees. Our objective was to determine if the Postal Service adhered to safety policies and procedures on accidents. We found room for improvement.

We visited 14 facilities in the Great Lakes Area, and reviewed all 26,051 accidents, including all 95 serious accidents for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. A serious accident is one that results in death, hospitalization, property damage exceeding $100,000, amputation, or loss of vision.

Our review found the Great Lakes management did not consistently adhere to safety compliance and accident reporting requirements. We noted:

  • About one-third of serious accident investigative reports were not completed within the 15-day requirement.
  • Sixty-nine percent of all eligible employees were not identified to participate in the mandatory CARE program, or the Counseling at Risk Employees program, which was established to engage employees in accident prevention using accident statistics, root cause analyses, and action plans.
  • More than a third of total accidents did not have the required Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Form filled out within 24 hours.

We recommended the Postal Service add an oversight mechanism to its review process to encourage timeliness of report completion. We also recommended management reconcile employee data to be sure eligible employees are included in the CARE program. USPS should also provide refresher training to area facility managers using available OSHA safety and health training on safety recordkeeping practices.

If you work at a postal facility, what safety issues have you witnessed or experienced?

Comments (4)

  • anon

    These methods need changing and updating. Accountability needs to be extended beyond the worker and line level managerial staff, and into middle and upper management. I recommend reading Dr. Todd Conklin’s book “Better Questions” to change and challenge the “blame and punish” attitude. Because, quite frankly, lack of accidents doesn’t automatically mean safety is happening.

    Aug 13, 2019
  • anon

    At my office Collegeville Pa carriers continually work off the clock besides being a violation of federal law It is a safety issue if one would get hurt or hurt someone while not being on the clock.

    Sep 25, 2018
  • anon

    My issue is with “ repetitive motion” injuries. I’ve been a letter Carrier for over 25 years in Auburn Al. I suffer from chronic pain in my neck, wrists, shoulder, and back pain. I currently see a pain doctor on a regular basis. I’ve went thru a neck surgery and shoulder surgery, both of which were failures. The postal service, in my opinion, could care less of my injuries. I’ve never been offered any kind of preventative measures. I started a claim , CA 2 form, a few years back. I was so bombarded with paperwork and having to give specific details of my injuries, I dropped the case. And that’s exactly what they want and try to get you to do. I’m not a doctor. I can’t give details of what disc in my neck is causing all my pain from lifting my neck up and down and from side to side about a 1000 times a day. This is very discouraging!!

    Sep 24, 2018
  • anon

    Rural carriers, specifically, are constantly pushed to work faster and harder no matter what it takes to deliver and get back. Means exceeding speed limits in certain areas, multiple back-tracking, Uturns, 3 pt turns for missed or misplaced parcels/mail in vehicles, backing up etc. Mgmt tells you to just do it but they will deny they said it and will not back you if there is an accident. ARCs and RCAs especially, who deliver Amazon on Sundays and holidays are not given proper tools to do their jobs. The Amazon printouts are being read while carriers are driving and they many times are not even available or simply give wrong directions. Carriers then use their own mobile phones to get directions... not only using their own data plans but also looking down at GPS constantly. Pressured to just hit the street and deliver and get back quickly. Carriers required to constantly respond to Mgmt texting and/or calling them multiple times while delivering mail to find out “when are you going to make it back” creating serious stress to carriers, especially new hires. Also using the MDD to text employees for random questions etc.

    Sep 24, 2018

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