March 11, 2022
US Department of Labor investigation of amputation injury finds
serious, repeat violations at Greensboro US Postal Service facility
Removed machine safety guard leads to serious, life-altering injury
GREENSBORO, NC – An employee working as a mechanic at the U.S. Postal Service's distribution center in Greensboro suffered a life-changing injury on Sept. 27, 2021. The worker's arm was amputated after contacting a machine that had a safety guard removed.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an inspection at the USPS facility, which operates as Greensboro Network Distribution Center. The inspection identified repeat and serious safety violations, including failure to ensure that safety guards were in place as required and allowing conveyor guards to be routinely removed, leaving workers at risk of injuries.
The facility also did not train staff on working near conveyors or proper methods for safely operating equipment using lockout/tagout safety measures. In addition, OSHA found that the USPS allowed unqualified workers – workers without adequate training and protective equipment – to perform tests on live electrical equipment.
OSHA issued two serious and two repeat citations, totaling $170,918 in proposed fines.
“The U.S. Postal Service ignored long-established safety standards and put workers at risk,” said OSHA Area Director Kimberley Morton in Raleigh, North Carolina. “The USPS has an obligation to eliminate hazards to ensure safe working conditions and prevent another worker from suffering a tragic and life-altering injury.”
Greensboro Network Distribution Center is a bulk mail processing and distribution center where a programmable network of heavy conveyor lines and other systems handles packages for delivery.
The USPS has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Learn more about machine guarding hazards and how to protect workers from amputations.
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 workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.
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Release Number: 22-348 -ATL (103)
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