The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited a U.S. Postal Service processing center in Dayton for various willful and serious safety violations. As a result of the citations, the facility faces a total of $225,000 in fines and must correct the safety violations. At this time, there have not been any specific reports of serious injuries, deaths, or workers’ compensation claims, but there have reportedly been safety-related complaints from a number of employees.
The terms “willful violation” and “serious violation” have specific meanings in the context of this particular investigation. According to OSHA, a “willful” violation is committed with the employer’s intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for legal requirements or plain indifference to the safety and health of employees. On the other hand, a “serious violation” is one in which death or serious physical harm can result from a danger that the employer knew about or should have known about.
In this particular case, OSHA cited the facility for three willful violations and six serious violations. According to OSHA officials, the inspections uncovering the safety violations began in April of this year and were brought on by employee complaints of unsafe working conditions.
Specific safety violations noted by inspectors included the failure to provide adequate safety training for electrical equipment, failure to provide proper protective and safety equipment to employees, failure to ensure that workers follow safety-related work practices, and the failure to address emergency shut-off procedures or train workers on those procedures.
In addition to the citations issued to this specific facility, OSHA and the U.S. Department of Labor have also filed a complaint against the U.S. Postal Service as a whole for failing to address various safety issues surrounding their electrical equipment.