January 10, 2019
WOODLAND HILLS, CA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for a repeated violation of OSHA’s General Duty Clause following the heat-related death of a Southern California mail carrier at the Woodland Hills Post Office.
The employee suffered hyperthermia while delivering mail in July 2018 when the outdoor temperature reached 117 degrees. The general duty violation addresses USPS’s programs and procedures for employees working in high-heat situations. The postal service was also cited for a repeated violation of recordkeeping requirements related to recording heat stress incidents. Proposed penalties total $149,664.
“The U.S. Postal Service knows the dangers of working in high-heat conditions and is required to address employee safety in these circumstances,” said OSHA Oakland Area Office Director Amber Rose. “USPS is responsible for establishing work practices to protect mail carriers who work outdoors from the hazards of extreme temperatures.”
OSHA conducts training and outreach on heat-related workplace hazards every spring and summer. Information on providing employees with water, rest, and shade, as well as other suggested good practices, are available on OSHA’s heat illness prevention page.
USPS has 15 business days from receipt of the 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.
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 help 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.