OSHA Fines USPS $217,000 for Safety Violations in Denver

Findings Occur Just Days After Citations Issued in Providence

APWU Web News

Five days after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued citations and fines of more than a half-million dollars to the Postal Service for safety hazards in Providence, RI, the agency charged the USPS in Denver with similar violations. The Postal Service willfully exposed workers to serious and potentially fatal hazards, including shock and electrocution, at the Denver BMC, OSHA said. The agency issued additional fines of $217,000.

The safety violations [PDF] in Denver mirror the hazards found at the Providence facility, and support APWU claims regarding the Postal Service’s failure to adhere to OSHA electrical safety standards.

In four “willful” violations, inspectors found postal employees working on equipment they were not familiar with and properly trained to maintain; on machinery with exposed, live parts that were not de-energized; in areas with potential electrical hazards; and without protective equipment for the eyes and face, exposing them to injury from electric arcs, flashes, or flying objects. These violations accounted for $210,000 in fines.

The remaining $7,000 fine was associated with a serious safety violation in which safety signs, symbols, or accident prevention tags were not used to warn employees about potential electrical hazards.

OSHA inspections of the facility were conducted between Nov. 2, 2009, and April 22, 2010, after the APWU Denver BMC Local filed a complaint. The local acted in response to a request from Industrial Relations Director Greg Bell, who urged local presidents to file complaints with OSHA regarding the Postal Service’s failure to comply with electrical safety regulations.

The APWU expects more safety violations to be issued by OSHA in the coming weeks. Check www.apwu.org for updated information

2 thoughts on “OSHA Fines USPS $217,000 for Safety Violations in Denver

  1. OSHA requires that only “Qualified Persons” work on energized equipment. By OSHA definition, this is someone who has been trained and demonstrated skill and knowledge about electrical safety. Giving “safety talks” is not going to cut it like it does with the other OSHA general safety awareness. It takes someone with a good understanding of electrical systems and OSHA / NFPA codes and regulations to properly train workers and also let the safety and facility management know about what they have to do in terms of documentation, labeling (arc flash & shock) and PPE to be in compliance with OSHA. Unqualified persons must also be trained in electrical safety, but they can have the general awareness training.

    All this being said, the real concern here should be for the USPS to protect workers from injuries and at the end of the day if there is an accident and proper steps were not taken, OSHA fines will be the least of the worries, especially if 3rd party litigation gets involved.

    Our company provides electrical safety consulting including training, qualified person programs and arc flash analysis and labeling, all of which the RI & Denver branches were fined for.

    Now for some irony: Our company ( American Trainco / Martin Technical ) was one of the biggest, if not the biggest customer of the Denver BMC and we have sent literally tens of millions of envelopes through the Denver BMC advertsing electrical safety training and compliance.

    Give me a call or send me an e-mail if I can help you sort throught any of this.
    Jim Schuster

  2. Do they make you sign the same safety talks sheets that we have been given over and over and over for the past 10 years or so? I always ask why do we keep getting the same shit over and over again didn’t I already sign one of these already for this same subject? And I get the same answer (probably) They want us to sign them so that if we get hurt they can go back and check if we were given a safety talk on this subject… and if they have our signatures they can burn our ass when they write us up for the accident.. SO MAKE SURE YOU READ WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING, BECAUSE IF YOUR LIKE MOST PAY LOCATIONS YOU DON’T EVEN GET A SAFETY MEETING!!! THEY JUST THROW THE PAPERS AT YOU TO SIGN AND MOST PEOPLE JUST SIGN WITHOUT READING!! COVER YOUR ASS……. NOT THEIRS……

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