#257 United States Postal Service/American Postal Workers Union AFL-CIO/National Postal Mail Handlers Union (#257)

Date Signed:
April 04, 2003; renewed July 31, 2006
Date Concluded:
July 31, 2009
Contact Information:
Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, (202) 693-2213
Partnering Agencies:

United States Postal Service
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Partnership Overview:

This Partnership focused on implementing a process to aid in the early identification of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), and control of the risk factors that can cause injuries and illnesses to postal employees.

Partnership Goals:
  • Improve the safety and health environment so that OSHA, United States Postal Service (USPS), National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), and American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO (APWU) can work together to reduce MSDs
  • Identify tasks and conditions where MSD incidents occur and develop and implement ergonomic control processes to reduce or eliminate MSD incidents
  • Train USPS local managers, supervisors, NPMHU and APWU representatives, and the local Joint Labor-Management Safety and Health Committees to ensure comprehension of ergonomic risks and control processes
  • Reduce the number of MSD related incidents, thereby reducing the number of days away from work for both lost workday and restricted duty cases associated with MSD incidents
  • Develop and evaluate best proven practices to be implemented in other postal facilities with similar ergonomic issues. Share best proven practices with applicable USPS operations with similar ergonomic issues
  • Train local employees as appropriate to participate in the ergonomic risk reduction process
Partnership Objectives:

The USPS, NPMHU, APWU, and OSHA will work cooperatively to implement an ongoing process to identify MSDs early, and control the risk factors that can cause injuries and illnesses to postal employees.

This project will focus on implementing a process to aid in early identification of musculoskeletal disorders, and control of the risk factors that can cause injuries and illnesses to postal employees.

Partnership Results:

This partnership clearly yielded positive results. Following are excerpts from the Annual Partnership Evaluation Report covering 27 sites that have been utilizing ERRP for the full three years. We have seen the most dramatic reductions in ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses:

  • a 38% reduction in the MSD Recordable rate
  • a 40% reduction in the Handling & Lifting rate
  • a 38% reduction in Days Away, Restricted Work Day Case rate

ERRP sites continue to be successful in having much greater reductions in ergonomic-related injury and illness rates compared to non-ERRP sites:

  • MSD rates are 35% less in ERRP sites
  • Handling & Lifting rates are 18% less in ERRP sites
  • Days Away Restricted Work Day rates are 71% less in ERRP sites

This translated into a savings of approximately $1.8 million in Workers' Compensation Medical costs (a 39% reduction).


The workforce is being trained to properly evaluate MSD related hazards:

  • Over 77,000 of the 110,000 employees at these 85 sites have been trained
  • Approximately 86,000 hours of training has been provided to these workers

Ergonomic Interventions

The ERRP has been successful in identifying a wide range of ergonomic interventions:

  • Nearly 7,000 ergonomic task analyses have been conducted
  • Ergonomic risk factors have been identified in 70% of these task analyses
  • Ergonomic controls have been implemented in more than 50% of these task analyses

ERRP is changing the culture - one facility at a time - by creating self-sustaining ergonomic skill sets and competencies to identify and control ergonomic risks. The key to the success of ERRP is top management support and active employee involvement through the Joint Labor-Management Safety and Health Committees and the Site Core Teams. For more information about the ergonomics best practices learned from this Partnership, please visit the Ergonomic Best Practices page.