December 1, 2016
OSHA fines USPS $342K after inspectors find workers exposed to
bloodborne pathogen hazards at Brooklyn, Maryland, annex
Employer name: U.S. Postal Service LLC, doing business as Brooklyn South Carrier Annex
Inspection site: 1500 Cherry Hill Road, Brooklyn, Maryland
Citations issued: On Nov. 22, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the postal service for one serious, two willful, and three repeat health violations.
Investigation findings: OSHA began the inspection on May 24, 2016, in response to a complaint alleging employee exposure to blood and other potentially infectious bodily fluids while handling packages labeled as containing biological infectious materials.
The willful violations relate to the employer's failure to have an implemented written bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan, including performing an exposure determination and offering exposed employees the Hepatitis B vaccine. Additionally, the USPS failed to implement a hazard communication program. The employer did not properly train workers for bloodborne pathogen protection or provide them with properly-sized gloves, resulting in the other violations.
Quote: "Exposure to bloodborne pathogen hazards can result in serious or life-threatening illnesses. To reduce or eliminate these hazards at USPS's Brooklyn facility, an exposure control plan must be implemented to protect employees and provide a safe and healthy workplace," said Nadira Janack, director at OSHA's Baltimore Area Office.
Proposed penalties: $342,059
The citation can be viewed at: https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/USPostalService_1150333.pdf
The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Baltimore Area Office at 410-865-2055.
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 ensure 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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