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Region 1 News Release: 10-554-BOS / BOS 2010-186
April 30, 2010
Contact: John Chavez Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2075 617-565-2074
Email: chavez.john@dol.gov fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $558,000 in fines to US Postal Service for electrical hazards at Providence, RI, mail processing facility

PROVIDENCE, R.I. 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 Providence Processing and Delivery Center, 24 Corliss St. in Providence. The Postal Service faces a total of $558,000 in fines, chiefly for electrical and lockout/tagout of energy start-up hazards, following an OSHA inspection conducted in response to employee complaints.

"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."

OSHA's inspection found untrained or unqualified workers were performing tests on live electrical equipment, and doing so without adequate training, personal protective equipment, safety-related work practices and warning signs, as well as working on equipment that had not first been de-energized. In addition, inspections of hazardous energy control procedures were conducted by employees who lacked the knowledge and training to determine if those procedures were performed correctly.

As a result of these conditions, OSHA has issued the Postal Service eight willful citations, with $530,000 in proposed fines. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety