Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 7

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Sept. 20, 2016

Investigating grease fire at maintenance facility, OSHA finds
US Postal facility failed to maintain working fire extinguishers

Employer name: U.S. Postal Service
1720 Market St.
St. Louis, Missouri

Citations issued: Sept. 13, 2016

Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's St. Louis Area Office has cited the U.S. Postal Service's vehicle maintenance facility for one repeated and two serious safety violations.

Investigating a report of a fire in the facility on July 3, 2016, the agency determined that workers attempting to extinguish the blaze found at least two fire extinguishers that were not charged. Employees were able to extinguish the minor grease fire that occurred in a wheel hub, when they located a charged extinguisher.

OSHA cited USPS for failing to:

  • Maintain charged and operable fire extinguishers.
  • Train workers on fire extinguisher use and the hazards associated with incipient stage firefighting.
  • Maintain a fire alarm system.
  • Conduct monthly inspections of fire extinguishers and associated equipment.

Quote: "Workers responding to a fire emergency should never find uncharged and inoperable fire protection equipment," said Bill McDonald, OSHA's area director in St. Louis. "Fortunately, no one was injured and this fire was quickly contained. This could have very easily had a tragic outcome. The postal service needs to take immediate action to prevent such near misses in the future."

Proposed Penalties: $87,297

View Citations here.

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 St. Louis Area Office at (314) 425-4249.

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Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-6976,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 16-1846-CHI

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