OSHA Proposes $33,000 Penalty for Safety Violations – Problems at Hoffman Heights Station Constitute a “Repeat Violation”

Originally published February 2013

Aurora Local President Shelly Lucido has released a letter from the Englewood Area Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA ) in response to a complaint she made regarding safety and/or health hazards at Hoffman Heights Station.

The accompanying OSHA citation listed two specific violations: 1) … employees were exposed to tripping hazards in that mail, containers of mail and packages, and other equipment were stacked in walkways and working areas, and 2) … employees were exposed to fire and engulfment hazards during daily mail sorting tasks in that mail, containers of mail and packages and other equipment were placed in exit routes.

These violations placed all employees at substantial life threatening risks on a daily basis and were the result of a hasty decision by management to combine the delivery operations of both Fletcher Station and Hoffman Heights Station in one building.

It was noted in the OSHA citation that the Postal Service had previously been cited for a substantially similar violation at another facility, making this latest problem a repeat violation. The recent consolidation of offices and reduction in the number of clerks has not been as carefully thought through and planned out as management would like us to think, as evidenced by this OSHA problem. Management has often taken a “ready, fire, aim” approach to solving problems.

All APWU members should keep in mind that Safety is always first, whatever else management might want us to believe, and the union should always be informed whenever an unsafe condition is observed and not immediately corrected by management when notified.