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Region 5 News Release: 10-1458-CHI
Oct. 19, 2010
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone: 312-353-6976
E-mail: allen.scott@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA fines Columbus, Ohio, US Postal Service
processing center $210,000 for willful safety violations

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service with five alleged willful violations at its Columbus processing center. The Postal Service faces a total of $210,000 in fines for electrical and equipment hazards following an OSHA inspection conducted in response to employee complaints.

OSHA's inspection, which began in April 2010, found that the Postal Service failed to provide adequate electrical safety training, ensure that workers followed safety-related work practices while working on electrical equipment and provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment while working on energized electrical equipment.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

"These sizable fines reflect the severity and ongoing nature of these hazards," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "The Postal Service ignored long-established safety standards and knowingly put its workers in harm's way."

The Department of Labor has filed an enterprise-wide complaint against the U.S. Postal Service for electrical work safety violations. The complaint asks the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to order the Postal Service to correct electrical violations at all its facilities nationwide. This complaint marks the first time OSHA has sought enterprise-wide relief as a remedy.

The Postal Service has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's area office in Columbus. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


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