OSHA Levies $46,200 In Proposed Penalties Against USPS

                               Des Moines, IA (CompNewsNetwork) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service Processing and Distribution Center in Des Moines for two alleged serious and one alleged repeat violation of federal workplace safety standards for failing to properly train workers on powered industrial truck hazards. Proposed fines total $46,200.

"Our inspection revealed that workers were not being properly trained to identify hazards associated with operating powered industrial trucks," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards by training workers and providing a safe working environment."

OSHA initiated an investigation in October at the Des Moines facility following a complaint alleging a lack of powered industrial truck training and operation deficiencies. The serious citations include failing to provide refresher training when workers were observed operating powered industrial trucks in an unsafe manner and to certify that workers were properly trained. A serious citation is issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The repeat citation was issued for failing to conduct an evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator at least every three years. OSHA issues a repeat violation when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

The U.S. Postal Service Processing and Distribution Center in Des Moines has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Des Moines or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Des Moines Area Office, telephone 515-284-4794. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

The U.S. 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.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace 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.

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