OSHA partnership helps reduce ergonomic injuries at USPS

June 11, 2007 by
Filed under: APWU, ergonomics, NPMHU, osha, usps 

 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Press Release:

WASHINGTON — U.S. Postal Service employees are experiencing fewer ergonomic injuries as a result of a 2003 partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NMHU) and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The organizations have released Examples of Good Ergonomics Practices at the U.S. Postal Service which outlines the achievements of the partnership and the steps taken to help prevent ergonomic-related injuries in the workplace.

“By bringing management, unions and employees together to cooperatively identify potential hazards and ergonomic health risks, the Postal Service, through this partnership, is transforming its workplace safety and health ergonomic program into a model for both the public and private sector,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. “Through identification and resolution of ergonomic risks, the Postal Service has saved $1.8 million in workers’ compensation costs and has had a 38 percent reduction in the musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) recordable rate.”

The document illustrates several examples that could have resulted in an ergonomic-related injury and the proactive measures taken to correct the situation before a workplace injury occurred. Several of the protective measures cost less than $100 to implement.

Once the Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process (ERRP) is initiated, an ergonomist uses the 10-step process to identify jobs with high rates of MSDs. Those jobs are then broken down into tasks and steps. The ergonomic risk is then linked to the steps before identifying an implementation plan, obtaining feedback, and determining the cost to implement the solution.

The ERRP is successful because it is a systematic process with clearly defined goals. Using ERRP improves mail flow and leads to improved morale, a better trained workforce, and assigns individual responsibility for job improvements.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure the safety and health of America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Related link: United States Postal Service/American Postal Workers Union AFL-CIO/National Postal Mail Handlers Union  Partnership Agreement




No Comments on OSHA partnership helps reduce ergonomic injuries at USPS

  1. Anonymous on Mon, 11th Jun 2007 3:14 pm
  2. Other benefits of the process include:

    Better morale and evidence that the Postal Service cares about its employees ????

  3. Smitty on Mon, 11th Jun 2007 8:34 pm
  4. ERRP has great potential to provide benefits for not only postal workers but everyone who suffers these types of injuries in the workplace. BUT, after the studies, and after the ramp up procedures have been completed, it will come down to the practical application in the field. Which Local(micro)Manage(d)ment will not be allowed to implement adequately to provide any serious return on the investment of time, money or effort. It will almost inevitably fall by the wayside just as VPP has locally.
    The ball will be dropped by the clowns in charge who with every other motion attempt to further erode public confidence/trust, working towards the selling off of the profitable parts, leaving the public with the difficult parts to pay for.

  5. Loyd Reeder on Tue, 12th Jun 2007 5:11 am
  6. It definitely needs to be emphasized that these are reported injuries, NOT ACTUAL injuries. Quoting the Denver Area OSHA director in OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS Magazine: “During an inspection at the Denver GMF, Glover’s office (Denver area OSHA) found that ALL of more than 100 workers interviewed had CTD (Cumulative Trauma Disorder)-related pain, even when the case rate for the facility was artificially low. Workers told OSHA they did not report pain or injuries for fear of losing their jobs or being harassed, Glover said.” OSHA did site the Denver GMF for gross underreporting of injuries.

    Secondly, NIOSH did a 3 year investigation here in Denver in regards to ERRP dealing with the ergonomic hazards of the DBCS, a major injury producer for clerks. As one of the top industrial engineers in the country, NIOSH’s Dan Habes, said in the 9-25-06 FEDERAL TIMES: “They have training programs [on the safe ways to use the machine], but how can you work safely on something that is inherently flawed? No one will admit it, but they are stuck with it because they have thousands of them,” I, like NIOSH, believe that ERRP is basically a good idea and has dealt well with some of the ergonomic hazards in the Denver plant. However, as I have said before, management will NEVER agree with NIOSH about slowing down the pace of work on the DBCS, so any joint labor-management agreement such as ERRP is doomed from the start in dealing with the DB’s.

  7. Loyd Reeder on Tue, 12th Jun 2007 11:22 am
  8. I see the need to make an additional comment. I hear all too frequently the line, “Since OSHA has signed off on ERRP, this gives ERRP unquestioned legitimacy.” As I have stated before, one of the first things George Bush did when he entered the White House in 2001 was repeal OSHA’s ergonomic standard, therefore leaving OSHA with not much of a legal leg to stand on as far as ergonomic enforcement power, therefore forcing OSHA to sign off on ERRP. However, the fact remains, that prior to Bush’s repeal, the DBs were cited a number of times by OSHA as an ergonomic hazard.

  9. Anonymous on Tue, 12th Jun 2007 11:19 pm
  10. YO LOOO GIVE US ABRAKE IF YOU SPENT AS MUCH ENERGY TRING TRO HELP PEOPLE AS YOU DO COMPLAIING MABY SOMETHING WOULD GET DONE. GIVE US A BRAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Concerned1 on Sun, 17th Jun 2007 4:10 am
  12. What about all of the dust that is generated from these machines?

    Check out the site:

    NWIAL.com, “Airborne Paper Fiber-Nuisance Dust or Killer?”

  13. Michael on Wed, 20th Jun 2007 4:42 am
  14. Does Burrus and Haggerty look really happy. $100,000 plus all expenses paid and retired to boot. Bye Burrus have a nice life. Haggerty you are next.

  15. observer of change on Thu, 21st Jun 2007 8:47 pm
  16. ERRP has been a success in the cincinnati BMC thus far. I have noticed several changes made by the ERRP Team that have been beneficial to so many of us in craft. The team takes the time to listen to what we need to reduce injuries and they give us results. I was one of the skeptics when this was first introduced but a little more than a year latter I must admit I have been proven wrong and am happy to say that. Thank you Cincinnati BMC for showing us you care. ERRP is a good thing.

  17. once a POS on Tue, 3rd Jul 2007 8:38 am
  18. Well at least you have an ERRP. We had it for awhile and then they took it away…just like all the stuff that makes us happy.

  19. Shamar Hill on Fri, 16th Jan 2009 12:09 pm
  20. THREE BUNDLES. One of most unsound, unsafe, disorganized and time wasting work practice enforced on letter carriers (especially city carriers) I’ve ever seen.

    Carrying three bundles of mail three and four times a week, in all kinds of weather, conditions and bodily stress for six to eight hours a day – six days a week all year long.

    What is OSHA doing about this?