The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations totaling $210,000 in fines against the U.S. Postal Service. The citations were for five violations that were allegedly committed willfully at the processing center in Columbus, Ohio.
The violations were safety violations for electrical and equipment hazards that could and often do lead to construction accidents that could leave employees with significant injuries. Employee complaints called in to the toll-free OSHA hotline 800-321-6742 brought about the OSHA inspection in April of 2010 that uncovered the numerous violations. Department officials immediately cited the Postal Service after the conclusion of the investigation.
Among the violations committed by the U.S. Postal Service processing center were the failure to provide adequate electrical safety training to its employees and the failure to ensure that the employees followed work-safety practices while they were using or working on electrical equipment in order to prevent job-related injuries. The OSHA investigation also concluded that the Postal Service failed to provide the proper protective equipment to its processing center employees who worked on energized electrical equipment.
The specific practices were allegedly made intentionally, knowingly or voluntarily in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that sets standards for creating a safe and healthy workplace for employees. Employers, such as the Postal Service, that violate the standards are held responsible under the law.
The Postal Service will have 15 days to comply with the citations and pay the fines, request an informal conference with the proper OSHA area director or contest the fines with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Source: United States Department of Labor “US Labor Department’s OSHA fines Columbus, Ohio, US Postal Service processing center $210,000 for willful safety violations” Scott Allen 10/19/10