OSHA Proposes $217,000 in Fines Against US Postal Service for Electrical Hazards in Denver

Monday, May 17, 2010
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards at the Denver Network Distribution Center, 7755 E. 56th Ave. in Denver, for exposing workers to electrical hazards. Proposed penalties total $217,000.

OSHA's inspection found that employees were performing testing on live electrical equipment and doing so without adequate training, personal protective equipment and safety-related work practices. As a result of these conditions, OSHA has issued three willful citations with $210,000 in proposed fines. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for 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."

In addition, one serious citation, with $7,000 in fines, has been issued for failure to post warning signs to alert employees of electrical hazards. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

"The Postal Service was aware of the hazardous electrical conditions but did not correct them in a timely manner to prevent potential serious injuries," said Greg Baxter, OSHA regional administrator in Denver.

The Postal Service has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Denver Area Office, telephone 303-844-5285. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
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