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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service with three alleged willful and six alleged serious violations at its Dayton, Ohio, processing center. The Postal Service faces a total of $225,000 in fines for electrical and equipment hazards following an OSHA inspection conducted in response to employee complaints.
OSHA's inspection, which began in April 2010, found that the Postal Service failed to provide adequate electrical safety training, ensure that workers followed safety-related work practices while working on electrical equipment, provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment while working on energized electrical equipment, address machine lockout procedures and hazards, and provide proper lockout/tagout training.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
"These sizable fines reflect the severity and ongoing nature of these hazards," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "The Postal Service ignored long-established safety standards and knowingly put its workers in harm's way."
The U.S. Postal Service has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's area office in Cincinnati, Ohio; telephone 715-832-1147. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
The U.S. Department of Labor has filed an enterprise-wide complaint against the U.S. Postal Service for electrical work safety violations. The complaint asks the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to order the USPS to correct electrical violations at all its facilities nationwide. This complaint marks the first time OSHA has sought enterprise-wide relief as a remedy.