After D.C. Explosion, USPS Issues Safety Talk On Handling Suspicious Packages

Safety Talk on Recognizing And Handling Suspicious Mail

Following the explosion of several mail pieces in Maryland and Washington, DC, the USPS has issued a Safety Talk [PDF] that instructs employees how to react to suspicious packages.  APWU President Cliff Guffey is encouraging union members to follow the guidelines and to exercise caution.  The union is monitoring the situation to make sure that the Postal Service takes prudent steps to protect the safety of postal employees and the public.

Mandatory Stand-Up Talk
January 7, 2011
Recognizing and handling suspicious mail Due to recent events involving suspicious packages, it is important for us to review our procedures concerning suspicious mail.

It is very important that you know how to recognize suspicious mail. Characteristics to pay special attention to include shape, look, address and packaging.

• Shape — Is it lopsided or uneven? Is it rigid or bulky?
• Look — Are there oily stains, discolorations, or crystals on the wrapper? Does it have a strange odor?
• Address — Is there a return address? Are there restrictive markings? Are there misspelled words? Is it addressed to a title rather than to an individual? Is it an incorrect title? Is it poorly typed or written?
• Packaging — Is it sealed with tape? Is there excessive tape?
Is there excessive postage?

Once a suspicious letter or package has been identified, it is important to respond appropriately. There are three main steps: