December 15, 2016
OSHA fines USPS $178K after inspectors find workers
exposed to safety hazards at Merrifield distribution center
Employer name: U.S. Postal Service Processing and Distribution Center
Inspection site: 8409 Lee Hwy, Merrifield, Virginia
Citations issued: On Dec. 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the postal service for three repeat and two serious safety violations, including one issued as a violation of the OSH Act's general duty clause.
Investigation findings: OSHA began the inspection on June 13, 2016, in response to a complaint alleging employee exposure to struck-by hazards at the Merrifield distribution center.
The repeat violations relate to the postal service allowing workers to operate powered industrial trucks without seatbelts, employees exposed to caught-between hazards, and powered industrial trucks used without being inspected. USPS was cited previously for similar violations in 2014 and 2015.
Struck-by hazards due to inadequate lighting, and the use of defective equipment, resulted in the serious violations.
Quote: "Thousands of workers are injured each year - some fatally - while operating powered industrial equipment. Employers like the USPS, whose workers move materials with powered industrial equipment, must that ensure workers are trained properly, loads are stable, and pathways are well lit and clear of obstructions to prevent injury," said Stanley Dutko Jr., director at OSHA's Norfolk Area Office. "It is every employer's legal responsibility to provide workers with a safe and healthful workplace."
Proposed penalties: $178,156
The citation can be viewed at: https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/USPostalServiceProcessingandDistributionCenterPDCMerifieldVirginia_1154949.pdf.
The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Norfolk Area Office at 757- 441-3820.
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.
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