The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has laid $238,000 worth of fines against the U.S. Postal Service for “willful and serious violations of safety standards” at the Central Massachusetts Processing and Distribution Center in Shrewsbury, Mass.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels explains, “For years, the Postal Service knew that allowing untrained employees to work on electrical equipment exposed workers to serious injury or worse. Despite this knowledge, the Postal Service did not take the necessary steps to change its practices and eliminate the hazards.”
The serious fine comes after an inspection that began on June 29, 2010, in response to a worker complaint about hazardous conditions involving the use of electrical equipment. The inspection found that unqualified employees at the Shrewsbury location were allowed to work on and test energized electrical circuits and equipment.
OSHA issues serious citations when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. In the case of the Shrewsbury post office, OSHA issued 3 willful citations and 4 serious citations, resulting in the $238,000 fine.
The U.S. Department of Labor has also filed an enterprise-wide complaint against the USPS for electrical work safety violations, asking that Postal Service correct electrical violations at all its facilities nationwide. This complaint marks the first time OSHA has sought enterprise-wide relief as a remedy.
Source: US Labor Department’s OSHA proposes $238,000 in fines against US Postal Service for electrical hazards at Shrewsbury, Mass., mail processing facility
, Newswire.com, December 29, 2010
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