Speaking of the Postal Service, the potential fines continue to pile up after it was singled out last month by federal safety regulators for systemic violations at its 350 processing and distribution centers around the country. The latest citation follows an inspection at one such center in Portsmouth, N.H. that found five alleged “willful violations” and levied $350,000 in penalties.
“These citations and the sizable fines proposed here reflect the Postal Service’s ongoing knowledge of and failure to address conditions that exposed its workers to the severe and potentially deadly hazards of electric shock, arc fires and arc blasts,” Occupational Safety and Health Administration chief David Michaels said in a Friday news release.
Once it receives the citations, the Postal Service has 15 business days to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the fines before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, according to the release. A willful violation is defined as one “committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.”
Early last month, OSHA filed an unprecedented “enterprise-wide” complaint seeking to force the Postal Service to deal with electrical violations at the processing and distribution centers. At the time, a Postal Service spokesman said officials would review the concerns and “make necessary adjustments to continue to ensure a safe working environment for our employees.”
This year, the Postal Service has been hit with almost $4.3 million in possible fines for alleged safety violations at its facilities, according to a list on the American Postal Workers Union’s web site. Also last week, OSHA announced that it was citing a Dayton, Ohio processing center for seven violations and $225,000 in fines.