Home > Industrial, Legal > Bluefield WV Post Office Fined $280K by OSHA for Electrical Safety Violations

Bluefield WV Post Office Fined $280K by OSHA for Electrical Safety Violations

BLUEFIELD, WEST VIRGINIA — A mail-processing facility in Bluefield has been cited for several workplace safety violations for allegedly exposing workers to electrical hazards.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found multiple violations at the 3010 East Cumberland Road facility in Bluefield. OSHA said employees were working with live electrical parts, leaving them vulnerable to multiple hazards. OSHA said one serious citation was issued for allowing an unauthorized employee to perform inspections at the facility.

The violations allege the Bluefield facility failed to label electrical cabinets, properly train employees, use safety-related work practices when exposed to energized electrical parts and provide proper electrical protective equipment.

Cathy Yarosky, a communications program specialist with the United States Postal Service in Charleston, said the citations will have no impact on the normal customer operations at the Bluefield facility. Yaroksy said the alleged violations occurred in a plant facility where there is no access to customers.

“The postal service places the safety and well being of its employees as a top priority,” Yarosky said. “Bureau of Labor statistics validate that the postal service works twice as safe as other delivery organizations. The National Safety Council recognized more than 5,800 of our employees for driving a million miles without an accident. No other business comes close. The council’s 2009 Safe Driver of the Year award was presented to one of our dedicated employees who drove two million miles accident free.”

Yarosky said efforts to enhance safe electrical work practices are already underway.

“Additionally, in January 2010, the postal service began implementing an electrical work plan to enhance its safe electrical work practices for employees, and the postal service believes this plan meets OSHA standards,” Yarosky said. “The plan provides for electrical risk assessments, training, personal protective equipment (ppe), enhanced safe electrical work practices and insulated tools. As a result of the plan, the Postal Service has already provided 123,000 hours of training for more than 20,000 maintenance employees. We are in the process of distributing more than $2 million in protective safety gear to them.”

OSHA initiated an inspection of the Bluefield facility in May. Inspectors cited the facility with four willful violations carrying a penalty of $280,000 and one serious violation with a penalty of $7,000.

The postal service has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations to comply with, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings of the citations, according to the OSHA press release.

Story via BDTonline.com

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