OSHA has cited the U.S. Postal Service for exposing workers to potential electrical hazards at its mail processing facility in Huntington, W.Va. Proposed penalties? $212,500.
According to an OSHA news release, agency officials launched an inspection in April after receiving a complaint alleging the hazards. Inspectors cited the Postal Service with three willful violations carrying a penalty of $210,000 and one serious violation with a penalty of $2,500.
According to the release:
The willful citations address the facility’s failure to properly train employees, use safety-related work practices when exposed to energized parts and provide proper electrical protective equipment. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
A serious citation was issued for failing to utilize lockout procedures that prevent electrical parts from being inadvertently energized. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
David Michaels, assistant labor secretary for OSHA, said:
These citations and sizable fines reflect the Postal Service’s failure to equip its workers with the necessary knowledge and skills to safely work with live electrical parts. The Postal Service knew that proper and effective training was needed for the safety of its workers but did not provide it.
Interestingly, OSHA also said:
The U.S. Department of Labor has filed an enterprise-wide complaint against the U.S. Postal Service for electrical work safety violations. The complaint asks the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to order the Postal Service to correct electrical violations at all its facilities nationwide. This complaint marks the first time OSHA has sought enterprise-wide relief as a remedy.