USPS bars NIOSH from returning to the Denver P & DC?

Editorial by Loyd Reeder

Postal employees in Denver requested NIOSH to investigate the flat mail sorting machines in Denver and NIOSH initiated an investigation in April, 2009. NIOSH is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a federal agency which is part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Department of Health and Human Services. It is widely considered to be the very best occupational health expertise in the country.

Denver FSM 100 flat sorting machine workers have recently had an extremely high rate of injuries. The machines are poorly designed and ergonomically unsafe. There has been severe understaffing of the machines causing stress and overwork. Employees are pushed to work too fast. Machines are set to overload mail containers, causing excessive strain on workers. Repetitive motion injuries are prevalent due to doing the same tasks thousands of times each day. Workers were not supplied sharp cutting knives daily, causing excessive hand and wrist strain. Injured workers are harassed. There is a culture of intimidation. Workers have been required to work involuntary overtime. The flats sorting unit has less than 8% of the building’s workers but the USPS reported that these flats machine workers had nearly half (47%) of all Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) injuries in the two-thousand-employee facility.

125 Denver flats workers asked NIOSH to come to the facility to study the situation and suggest changes. Two NIOSH professionals came in early April to evaluate the situation. They interviewed dozens of employees and made video tapes of workers working at the various tasks on the flats sorting machines. The US Postal Service brought in over a dozen of its own safety, health, maintenance, specialists and managers from the local, area, and national levels for the NIOSH investigation. At the end of the visit, the NIOSH investigators gave some preliminary conclusions, said they may return for a second visit, and would issue a final report in one to two years.

In the summer, NIOSH contacted a lead representative of the workers who had originally asked NIOSH to come to the facility. The NIOSH investigators wanted to return to the Denver facility and bring with them an industrial psychologist who wanted to do a job satisfaction survey of the workers. The worker representative gave permission for this project. NIOSH also contacted the local union representative for the mail handler craft who also gave permission for this visit. NIOSH sought permission for the survey from the local safety officer of the USPS in Denver. There has been a long wait for a reply from the USPS management.

In September NIOSH informed the workers that the USPS Western Area Safety Manager Karen Keuter, is “opting not to participate in the survey that we had suggested.” So much for all of the USPS claims that it wants to hear the “voice of the employee”. The USPS spends millions of dollars for its own employee surveys but refuses to let an independent federal agency do its own survey. What is the Postal Service trying to hide?

11 thoughts on “USPS bars NIOSH from returning to the Denver P & DC?

  1. The above reference about a DBCS workers who bid off to the FSM 100 are of course clerks. The clerk jobs on the FSM 100’s are comparatively easy. It is the mail handler jobs on these machines that has NIOSH so concerned. It is perhaps unfortunate that what were originally clerk bids went to the mail handlers, but they certainly got the worse jobs on these machines.

  2. How are the 100s staffed in different plants? In ours, we utilize a staff of 4 in a rotation of 30 minutes at each station. Feeders 1 and 3 are also responsible of the tubs and destackers at each side of the machine. Ours are modified for the automated replacement and removal of tubs. The fourth member of the rotation is in the back of the machine to sort the tubs during the run.

  3. this year these uneducated nimrods are going to lose 12 billion dollars-how do you spell L O S E R !

    and they will have the balls to give themselves bonus money.

    how is that obamaunist hope and change working out for you working stiffs.

  4. corrupt, criminal, mismanaging postal bureaucrats with only a high school educations have been getting away with this nazi style of pushing the mail through a dsyfuntional system since automation came in 1985.

    burass and other union clowns have given them cover and you lip service (notice it was a employee who called osha)to ply their nazi doxie- at the expense of your health.

    now that the mao-bama is going to run healthcare, this govt bureaucratic terminal cancer will spread to the operating room.

    be careful what you wish for-nothing in this life is free.

    shut this PO concentration camp down!

  5. Just a bunch of cry babies trying to cause trouble and get out of work. Some people are never happy unless they are causing trouble. Maybe the grill at Burger King would be easier, Se hablo espanol

  6. I have been a FSM100 ET for 7 years now and our injury rate on the 4 machines we have is very low. Most of the AFSM operators came from the DBCS’s and love the 100’s.

  7. Oh no. You mean that those bosses that make $9 to $10 per hour more than the line workers are ignoring an apparent safety issue that cause injuries to their workers? What about those bosses above the 1st line supervisors? You know the ones that make $24 – $25.00 per hour than us? Doesn’t that mean you Fred? We seen how you protect that supervisor that assualted an employee with a witness present and you let him back into the building within two days before the investigation interview was even completed and before any report even got written. Oh my how things are now coming around in public about those in USPS management.

  8. The PO is all about safety,safety, safety but won’t allow independent federal agency to do a survey. What a crock.

  9. Sounds just like the USPS to keep the “outsiders” out. They don’t want anyone to see what really happens behind the doors of the PO. They know that they would get busted for all kinds of wrong doings. That’s managements way to keep those bonuses coming. As long as the outside world doesn’t know anything they can continue to make the big bucks without doing anything to earn it. Just ride the craft employees until they fall apart.

    It’s time for change, and when it happens there will be a lot of people that won’t know what to do.

  10. What are they trying to hide? How about the truth. If you injured yourself the service will show you the door.

Comments are closed.