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Safety Violations Lead to $149,000 Penalty against Houston Postal Service Branch
DALLAS - The failure of a U.S. Postal Service Houston branch to protect employees from unguarded machine parts and other safety violations has resulted in citations and proposed penalties of $149,000 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA has cited the Franklin Street main branch facility in Houston with two alleged willful, two alleged serious and one alleged repeat violations resulting from an investigation that began Dec. 28, 2001.
The Labor Department has cited the Postal Service with alleged willful violations for failing to protect employees from the exposed parts of horizontal shafts, for failing to provide machine guarding from rotating parts and for failing to use machine guarding to protect employees from ingoing nip-points on a conveyor belt. A willful violation is committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the OSHA Act and regulations.
The two alleged serious violations were for failing to maintain fixed ladders in a safe condition and failing to securely fasten machine guards to the frame of the machines. A serious violation is one that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees when the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
A repeat violation was for failing to maintain sufficient safe clearance in aisles and passageways where mechanical equipment is used. A repeat violation is one in which the employer has been cited during the past three years for substantially similar infractions of the law.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the nearest OSHA office. OSHA's toll-free hotline may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.
The U.S. Postal Service has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review commission.
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