April 1, 2015
USPS cited for electrical hazards at Chicago's Clark Street distribution center
Employer name: United States Postal Service
Investigation site: 2643 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60614
Date investigation initiated and what prompted inspection: On Jan. 14, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Chicago North Area Office initiated an inspection of the mail sorting facility after receiving a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions
Investigation findings: OSHA found workers were exposed to various electrical hazards and issued two repeated, four serious and one other-than-serious violation with proposed penalties of $63,540.
"The Postal Service has a responsibility to make sure equipment is maintained in good working order," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director in Des Plaines. "Each year hundreds of workers are injured by electrical hazards in the workplace. The Postal Service needs to re-evaluate this facility and correct these hazards immediately."
Investigators found workers were exposed to electrical hazards because electrical power taps were not used in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations and electrical equipment such as an industrial fan were not grounded properly, resulting in the two repeated violations.
OSHA issues repeated violations when an employer has been previously cited for the same or a similar violation in the past five years. The Postal Service was cited for similar hazards in 2014 in Groton, Connecticut and Ludington, Michigan.
The four serious violations involved the use of unapproved electrical equipment, use of improperly spliced cords, and not providing strain relief for all electrical cords. The Postal Service also failed to mark permanent aisles resulting in an other-than-serious violation.
Proposed Penalties: $63,540
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report 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 Chicago North Area Office at 847-803-4800.
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Release Number: 15-416-CHI
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