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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Violation Detail

Standard Cited:5A0001 OSH Act General Duty Paragraph

Violation Items

Nr: 538158.015 Citation: 01001 Issuance: 12/12/2012 ReportingID: 0728500

Viol Type:Willful NrInstances:1 Contest Date:01/03/2013
Abatement Date:05/15/2015 2 Nr Exposed:1 Final Order:10/24/2014
Initial Penalty: $70,000.00 REC:A Emphasis:
Current Penalty: $70,000.00 Gravity:10 Haz Category:

Penalty and Failure to Abate Event History
Type Event Date Penalty Abatement Type FTA Insp
Penalty Z: Issued 12/12/2012 $70,000.00 01/04/2013 Willful  
Penalty C: Contested 01/04/2013 $70,000.00 01/04/2013 Willful  
Penalty R: Review Commission 10/24/2014 $70,000.00 01/04/2013 Willful  
Penalty P: Petition to Mod Abatement $70,000.00 04/15/2015 Willful  
Penalty P: Petition to Mod Abatement $70,000.00 05/15/2015 Willful  

Text For Citation: 01 Item/Group: 001 Hazard:

Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970: The employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to recognized hazards related to working outside during periods of excessive heat: a) On July 24, 2012, at job sites located on mail routes in Independence, Missouri, with the afternoon temperature in excess of 100 degrees F and the job sites under an excessive heat warning from the National Weather Service, the employer exposed employees to the recognized hazard of excessive heat during mail delivery. This included a letter carrier who had just returned to work after a five week absence and was not acclimated to the heat. Beginning at approximately 7:30 a.m., that employee worked in the heat walking a mail route outside delivering mail from an enclosed vehicle without air-conditioning. At approximately, 12:15 p.m., the employee reported to his supervisor symptoms of heat induced illness. At approximately 2:50 p.m., the employee collapsed while walking a mail route. At that time, the temperature was 102 degrees F, the humidity was 28%, and the heat index was 104 degrees F. The employee's core body temperature on arriving at the hospital was 108.7 degrees F, and he died as a result of his exposure to excessive heat. This included another letter carrier who reported symptoms of heat induced illness that day but was required to finish his route. b) On July 23, 2012, at job sites located on mail routes in Independence, Missouri, with the afternoon temperature in excess of 100 degrees F and the job sites under an excessive heat warning from the National Weather Service, the employer exposed employees to the recognized hazard of excessive heat during mail delivery. This included a letter carrier who had just returned to work after a five week absence and who was not acclimated to the heat. Beginning at approximately 7:30 a.m., the returning employee worked in the heat walking a mail route outside delivering mail from an enclosed vehicle without air-conditioning. At around 12:00 noon, the employee called his supervisor and reported symptoms of heat induced illness and asked to go home; the employer required the employee to continue working in the excessive heat. That afternoon, the temperature was 104 degrees F, the humidity was 24%, and the heat index was 105 degrees F. The next day the employee returned to work in the same conditions and collapsed at approximately 2:50 p.m. while walking a mail route. The employee's core body temperature on arriving at the hospital was 108.7 degrees F, and he died as a result of his exposure to excessive heat. This included another letter carrier who called into his supervisor around 2:00 p.m. on July 23 and reported feeling ill because of the heat. He was pressured to continue working and was finally relieved at around 5:00 p.m. After his shift he reported to the hospital emergency room and was admitted with heat induced illness. Among other methods, feasible and acceptable means of hazard abatement include: (i) acclimatizing employees returning to work after an extended absence to working in the heat; (ii) training supervisors and other employees in the proper response to employees reporting heat induced illness symptoms, which includes stopping work, getting to a cool place, and providing help, evaluation and medical assistance, (iii) requiring trained supervisors to go into the field and conduct in-person evaluations of employees complaining of heat induced symptoms, arranging for medical attention or other assistance as necessary; (iv) establishing work rules and practices that encourage employees to seek assistance and evaluation when experiencing heat stress symptoms; and, (v) establishing a heat stress management program which incorporates guidelines from the ACGIH's threshold limit values and biological exposure indices and/or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) document, "Working in Hot Environments;" such a program should be tailored to the particulars of the employer's work, and may include, the following: 1. Providing adequate amounts of cool (50 degrees to 60 degrees F), potable water and electrolyte replacements (specific recommendation should be made by medical consultation) in the work area and require employees to drink frequently, e.g, one cup every 20 minutes. 2. Provide a work/rest regimen. 3. Training employees about the effect of heat-related illness, how to report and recognize heat-related illness symptoms and how to prevent heat-related illnesses. 4. Including a heat acclimatization program for new employees or employees returning to work from absences of three or more days. 5. Providing a cool, climate-controlled area where heat-affected employees may take their breaks and/or recover when signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses are recognized. 6. Providing shaded areas where heat-affected employees may take their breaks and/or recover on worksites that don't have access to climate-controlled areas. 7. Providing specific procedures to be followed for heat-related emergency situations and procedures for first aid to be administered immediately to employees displaying symptoms of heat-related illness. 8. Using dermal patches for monitoring core temperature to better identify when workers need to be removed from the work area. 9. Allowing employees to modify their work schedules in the summer months to begin an hour to two hours earlier, and end their shift one to two hours earlier. 10. Monitoring the National Weather heat advisories or alerts and physically checking on carriers in the field during heat advisories or alerts.

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