Region 2 News Release: 11-664-NEW/BOS 2011-176
May 12, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $93,500
in fines to US Postal Service for recurring hazards
Citations follow inspection of Morgan Processing and Distribution Center in Manhattan
NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service for five alleged repeat violations of safety standards following an inspection of the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center, located at 341 Ninth Ave. in Manhattan. The Postal Service faces a total of $93,500 in proposed fines following an OSHA inspection prompted by complaints.
OSHA found exit routes blocked by bins, carts, boxes and other equipment, and electrical control panels blocked by carts and bins. In addition, fire extinguishers were not mounted and readily available for use, floor expansion joints and other areas where powered industrial trucks are operated were not maintained in good condition, and required refresher training was not provided to an employee who operated a powered industrial truck.
"These are all conditions for which the Postal Service previously has been cited at other facilities in New York," said Kay Gee, OSHA's Manhattan area director. "Left uncorrected, these hazards expose workers to the dangers of fire, tripping and struck-by injuries, while also being unable to exit the workplace swiftly and safely in the event of a fire or other emergency. The Postal Service must take effective steps to eliminate these hazards and prevent them from happening again."
A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. In this case, the repeat citations stem from the Postal Service having been cited by OSHA in 2007 and 2010 for similar hazards at facilities in Binghamton, Melville and Jamaica, N.Y.
"One means of addressing and eliminating recurring hazards, such as these, is having an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and workers proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
The Postal Service has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office; telephone 212-620-3200. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.