Objective

Our objective was to determine whether the Postal Service adhered to safety policies and procedures related to accidents in the Great Lakes Area.

The Postal Service’s accident frequency rate measures the estimated annual accident frequency per 100 employees. During fiscal years (FY) 2016 and 2017, the Great Lakes Area had the highest average accident frequency rate of all seven USPS areas. Their average accident frequency rate of 17.9 exceeded both the organization’s goal of 15 and the national average of 15.7.

The Postal Service categorizes accidents by serious and general. A serious accident results in death, inpatient hospitalization, property damage exceeding $100,000, amputation, or loss of vision; whereas, a general accident is all other accidents that do not meet the serious accident criteria.

We visited 14 facilities in the Great Lakes Area, and reviewed all 26,051 accidents, including all 95 serious accidents for FYs 2016 and 2017.

We also reviewed employee participation in the Counseling At Risk Employees (CARE) program, which was established to engage employees in accident prevention using accident statistics, root cause analyses, and action plans.

What the OIG Found

The Great Lakes Area did not consistently adhere to safety compliance and reporting requirements related to accidents. Specifically:

  • Thirty-five percent (33 of 95) of all serious accident investigative reports were not completed within the 15-day requirement, incomplete, or not completed at all.
  • Sixty-nine percent (11,618 of 16,913) of all eligible employees were not identified to participate in the mandatory CARE program.
  • Thirty-eight percent (10,021 of 26,051) of total accidents did not have an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report, created in the Employee Health and Safety system within 24 hours.

Additionally, of the fourteen facilities we visited:

  • Twenty-nine percent (four of 14) did not post OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses as required. Facility management took corrective action by displaying the form in a visible location on the workroom floor.
  • Fourteen percent (two of 14) did not retain OSHA Forms 300, Log of Work‑Related Injuries and Illnesses as required.

These issues occurred because the current serious accident review reporting process does not include oversight from the area regarding timeliness compliance. In addition, the Postal Service Headquarters Safety and OSHA Compliance Office is not ensuring the CARE Tracking Tool system is updated to reflect eligible CARE program participants. Lastly, facility managers are not taking advantage of available OSHA recordkeeping training.

As a result, the Great Lakes Area is not fully meeting serious accident investigative reporting requirements, which may lead to information not being available or visible for identifying accident root causes; existing safety measures may not be adequately assessed for effectiveness; eligible employees are not participating in the CARE program; and noncompliance of recordkeeping requirements could lead to OSHA citations and penalties.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management incorporate an area oversight mechanism in the review process to promote transparency in the timeliness of report completion and include additional comprehensive data in the Human Resources Safety Dashboard related to serious accident reporting timeliness and causality of accidents.

We also recommended management ensure eligible employees are included in the CARE program by reconciling employee data, and assess available OSHA safety and health training regarding safety recordkeeping practices to provide applicable refresher training to facility managers in the Great Lakes Area.

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Comments (2)

  • anon

    I found this post is very interesting. Thank you very much for sharing this information with us.

    Jan 29, 2019
  • anon

    The postal safety records are all skewed, because PSE Mail Processors and CCA's are terminated when injured, if there is a minor accident or if certified training is requested to work on the Small Bundle Parcel Sorter. Suncoast District, particularly, Ybor L&DC, does not follow Policy and Procedures for safety prevention and provides no formal training for PSE's on SBPS machines or with any equipment. Please consider reviewing termination records and correlate with the training records, then interview the people terminated after an accident and consider looking at Union grievances filed and money awarded. Ybor Supervisors are convicted felons who work in sensitive areas who have rap sheets with over 20 convictions skewing the data, as this personality is used to lying to the courts. Also, check Workman's Compensation claims denied due to termination. Approximately, 1 in 4 people remain employed after an injury. and the numbers are less if you are a new employee. Workman's Compensation claims will not be covered for new employees, since the USPS terminates people after an injury. The USPS terminates new PSE Mail Processors if a request for the Bargaining Contract to be followed with breaks or rotations, when working the SBPS. The Tampa, Ybor L&DC does not follow the Policy and Procedures for PSE employees, as no training on the SBPS machine is offered and then they make you work out of your jurisdiction. If the new employee becomes injured or questions the need for certified training when working on the SBPS or speaks up for working out of your jurisdiction, such as a heavier labor job, as a.mail handler, or not getting breaks or having proper rotations on the machines, the new employee is terminated for "poor performance". Rotational and break problems are repetitive problems at Ybor L&DC. Safety is not a concern as management will just terminate the employee if you speak up and/or request a Union representative. Termination is the USPS answer to skewing the safety and accident statistics. The USPS has no regard for the welfare and safety of the new employee, as proven by the repetitive delayed breaks for the "Relief" position that the Union is aware of on the SBPS machine. Also, St. Pete Beach terminates the new carriers with a minor accident in violation of the Policy and Procedures, as the new employee is punished with termination rather than provided training. The new employee is not given fair opportunities, as described in the Policy and Procedures. It is clearly written that termination after a minor accident, such as the small side mirror getting broken by a tree branch, on an unmanned route, is not mandated. The new employee, CCA is terminated to alter the safety and accident averages. The USPS management needs repeat background checks to help eliminate the employees that do not follow the Oath, when they took their position nor obey the laws of the State and the US Constitution. The citizens of the USA deserve their sensitive and private mail to be processed and managed by law abiding citizens and not lying, convicted felons who claim they are indigent in a court of law and have a history of changing their plea to guilty after lying to the court of their innocence and refusing drug testing. If managers lie under oath outside of their job and get away with it, they will bring the same type of behavior to the USPS. This is why the safety statistics are skewed and turnover is high. Safety is not a priority of the Ybor L&DC. It is much better at TIA, on Bessie Coleman.

    Sep 23, 2018