Workplace issues

Safety and Health

Manuel L. Peralta Jr.

Manuel L. Peralta Jr.

Director of Safety and Health

Manuel L. Peralta Jr. was declared the NALC’s director of safety and health in 2014 by the union’s national election committee after the committee determined that a competing candidate’s nomination submitted during the union’s 69th Biennial Convention in Philadelphia had not met the requirements for certification under the terms of the NALC Constitution. Peralta had first been elected director in 2010 during the 67th Biennial Convention in Anaheim. Full bio

Keeping letter carriers safe on the job

NALC’s Director of of Safety and Health is responsible for following safety and health issues that relate to letter carrier jobs. The director is Manuel L. Peralta Jr., who also represents NALC’s interests on:

Letter carriers' occupational safety and health is protected by Article 14 of the National Agreement and by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Contact information

Please contact Director Peralta if you have ideas, questions or concerns related to letter carrier safety and health:
NALC Director of Safety and Health Manuel L. Peralta Jr.
100 Indiana Ave. NW | Washington, DC 20001
202-662-2831 | peralta@nalc.org

Reporting a safety problem to USPS

Need to report a hazard, unsafe condition or practice? Click here to download Form PS-1767.

 

⚠ Coronavirus ⚠


January 24th, 2020 

February 11th, 2020

March, 9th, 2020

March 18th, 2020

March 19, 2020

Mandatory Stand-Up Talks
The Following Stand Up Talks (SUTs) were distributed by the USPS to be held at your office: 

Essential Employee Section

Center of Disease Control Updates

Center of Disease Control Quick Reference Information

Environmental Protection Agency

AFL-CIO


Employee Assistance Program  

Learn more about EAP here: https://www.nalc.org/workplace-issues/safety-and-health/employee-assistance-program


Redesigned Heat Safety Tool app released

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have collaborated to update OSHA’s original Heat Safety Tool app for smartphones. Click here to learn more.

Current heat index

Click here to get your current heat index from The Weather Channel—and bookmark that page for future reference.

Water. Rest. Shade.

OSHA’s campaign to keep workers safe in the heat

Defense against CARE-related action(s)

Click here to download a letter to NALC President Fredric Rolando (USPS3959) that letter carriers can use in defending against any action taken against them based on information acquired through the Counseling At-Risk Employees (CARE) program. The letter is highlighted for your convenience. (Click here to download and review the distributed, non-highlighted version.)

Zika virus

Click here for information on extreme weather (heat, cold, lightning, etc.)

 

Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace

Origin of the statement

NALC, other postal unions, the Postal Service and three postal supervisors’ organizations created and signed the Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace in Feb. 1992. They drafted the statement at a meeting held in the wake of tragic shootings of postal workers in Royal Oak, MI, in Nov. 1991.

In the statement, the organizations committed to dignity, respect and fairness for all postal employees as a fundamental human right. They also promised to rid USPS of the harassing, intimidating and abusive behavior that can lead to workplace violence, and they promised to deny rewards to those who violated that right and to remove repeat offenders from the Postal Service.

Six months later, the same parties issued a second joint statement, committing to continue their dialogue and pursue the first statement's mandate of a safer, more harmonious and productive workplace.

  • Joint Statement on Violence, Feb. 14, 1992. The initial, groundbreaking statement signed by USPS, NALC and several other postal organizations. M-01242
  • Supplemental Joint Statement on Violence. Supplemental statement issued in 1992. M-01243

Enforcement—The Snow award

In 1996, National Arbitrator Carlton Snow declared that the Joint Statement was a binding contractual obligation that NALC may enforce through the grievance procedure. Snow empowered regional arbitrators to enforce the statement and issue remedies against postal supervisors who violate it:

“[T]he Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace constitutes a contractually enforceable bargain. The grievance procedure of the National Agreement may be used to enforce the parties’ bargain, and arbitrators have available to them the flexibility found in arbitral jurisprudence when it comes to formulating remedies, including removing a supervisor from his or her administrative duties.” (Q90N-4F-C 94024977, Aug. 16, 1996) C-15697

Following Snow’s landmark award, regional arbitrators have enforced the Joint Statement against postal supervisors where NALC has presented strong evidence of violent, abusive, harassing or threatening behavior. They have ordered supervisors to apologize, to get training or to be transferred from any position involving supervision of letter carriers.

More recently, regional arbitrators have ordered USPS to remove a postmaster and to demote a supervisor and deny him promotions or raises for five years. Unfortunately, the Postal Service challenged these arbitration decisions in federal court. NALC opposes any moves to vacate valid arbitration awards or to undermine enforcement of the Joint Statement.

Related cases

  • Sixth Circuit Court decision upholding regional arbitration award demoting a supervisor for violation of the Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace. (June 4, 2003) M-01488
  • Decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This decision reversed a decision by a lower court when it determined that the award of Arbitrator Raymond Britton in the Clinton, MD, case could not be upheld. The Fourth Circuit determined that the decision to remove the postmaster should be upheld. M-01518

 

Safety on the job

Crime & violence

The USPS Postal Inspection Service has created a brochure and video to help letter carriers know what to do if they are confronted or threatened on their routes.

The brochure also gives six useful tips for things letter carriers can do to protect themselves.

Click here to view the brochure: You Are Your Most Important Delivery. Click here to watch the video on NALC’s Youtube channel: Just Another Tuesday.

Dog attacks

Dog attacks are a serious threat: See this January 2015 Postal Record story on dog attacks for more information on how to keep yourself safe.

Heart attack

Do you know the warning signs?

NALC Director of Safety & Health Manny Peralta urges letter carriers to know the warning signs of heart attacks, because being alert to the symptoms can save your life and the lives of your co-workers. Too many victims wait too long to seek help, so please don't ignore the telltale signs.

Download poster

Three simple facts you should know:

  1. Heart disease is the nation’s number one cause of death, half caused by a heart attack.
  2. Half of all heart attack victims wait more than two hours before seeking help.
  3. If you feel a warning sign(s), seek medical attention.

Warning signs

  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Discomfort or pain between the shoulder blades
  • Chest or abdominal discomfort or pain spreading to the shoulders, neck, arm or jaw
  • Chest discomfort, pressure or burning
  • Indigestion or gas-like pain
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Unexplained weakness or fatigue

ACT IMMEDIATELY! Warning signs can hit everyone differently, so don't take any chances.

Joint plan to notify employees working on the street/out of the office about emergency situations

NALC Director of Safety & Health Manny Peralta advises members that the Postal Service has developed a basic Emergency Notification Plan for Off-Site Employees. The plan provides guidance for post offices and postal facilities in establishing basic notification procedures to contact postal employees working on the street or out of the office in the event of a local or national emergency.

Peralta points out that this "notification tree" or "buddy-system" plan was developed with the assistance of the NALC, NRLCA and APWU. It describes one alternative that postal facilities can use to notifying employees of emergency situations. These procedures can also serve as a backup plan in case other communication methods such as telephones, pagers, electronic communications, etc. are not available or not functioning.

Your knowledge, awareness and understanding of both the local area where you deliver the mail and the current postal and public emergency procedures will make it possible to act effectively in a crisis situation.

 

Vehicle safety

Park points

As Director of Safety and Health Peralta discussed in his column in the April 2012 Postal Record and his column in the July 2013 edition, there is growing concern nationwide over letter carriers exercising proper caution while delivering mail on their routes.

Recently, as a result of our joint efforts, the Postal Service held a stand-up talk on this very topic.

Click here to read USPS's "Hot Topic" on preventing accidents while parked.

If this stand-up talk was not given at your work location, please contact your branch officers or, if necessary, your national business agent.

For more information, see this article in the November 2013 Postal Record and this article from the Reno, NV, Branch 709 newsletter.

On March 30, 2012, the Postal Service issued a "Hot Topic" on preventing accidents while parked.

Vehicle fires, repairs and maintenance

On April 11, 2011, USPS issued Vehicle Maintenance Bulletin 04-11 (VMB-04-11), establishing the policy and procedures related to the reporting of fires to USPS-owned vehicle. Click here to review VMB-04-11.

Before letter carriers are faced with the threat of a vehicle fire, make sure that your vehicles are being thoroughly inspected and properly serviced.

The Postal Operations manual at Section 736, Fleet Maintenance, states:

The VMF is responsible for providing quality and timely maintenance to the Postal Service fleet as outlined in the guidelines established by Vehicle Maintenance, Headquarters.

The USPS created the PS Form 4546-B, USPS Preventive Maintenance Inspection Guidelines Light Delivery Vehicles. The purpose of the form is to identify the required elements of routine maintenance and to document that the maintenance was done.

Click here to review Form 4546-B, which lists items to be checked.

Letter carriers should be requesting proof that vehicles are being properly serviced. If this is not taking place, carriers need to investigate why the vehicles are not being properly maintained.

If the routine maintenance of postal vehicles is contracted out to a non-postal mechanic/auto shop, letter carriers still have the right to make sure that the routine maintenance is taking place, and if it is not, to report it to the shop steward/branch officers and, if necessary initiate grievances citing Articles 14 and 19.

If the routine maintenance is supposed to be performed by postal employees, letter carriers still have the right to investigate to determine if the routine maintenance is in fact taking place and, if it is not, the right to find out why.

In the investigation, challenge the employer’s failure to properly maintain and service vehicles by submitting a 1767, Hazard Report, and referencing any Vehicle Repair Tags (Form 4565) previously submitted.

In May of 2014, USPS contracted with Trident Engineering to investigate the cause of the vehicle fires.  In response to the ongoing investigation, USPS Headquarters sent a letter dated April 3, 2015, to vehicle maintenance managers in the field with instructions.

On June 10, 2014, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a Management Advisory Report on delivery vehicle fleet replacement.

In August of 2014, USPS Headquarters Delivery Operations issued an instructional letter to the field advising that they are required to thoroughly examine all fuel systems for any leaks and that they be free of corrosion during each preventative maintenance inspection. The letter refers to Vehicle Maintenance Bulletin V-07-98 (7 MB).

On Feb. 10, 2015 an audit by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identified as a “Management Alert” showed that management has failed in its obligations to timely complete required vehicle maintenance.  The report shows that 21 percent of the vehicles in the fleet are not receiving preventive maintenance in a timely manner. The report acknowledges that “maintaining scheduled maintenance is critical in avoiding vehicle breakdowns and safety issues while meeting the Postal Service’s customer service requirements.”

The Safety and Health column in the May 2014 Postal Record addressed USPS Form 4546-B, designed to identify and track required elements of routine preventative maintenance (see below). The August 2014 column emphasized the need for carriers to perform a thorough vehicle inspection and to take unsafe vehicles out of operation.

Items referenced in the Sept. 2017 Safety & Health Postal Record column:


Potential Causes of Fires

In August 2016, Phillip Knoll issued a memo to the field advising of the potential causes of vehicle fires. 

Miscellaneous vehicle issues

  • LLV Operator's Manual
  • Management Advisory Report on delivery vehicle fleet replacement by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on June 10, 2014.
  • In August of 2014, USPS Headquarters Delivery Operations issued an instructional letter to the field advising that they are required to thoroughly examine all fuel systems for any leaks and that they be free of corrosion during each preventative maintenance inspection. The letter refers to Vehicle Maintenance Bulletin V-07-98 (7 MB).
  • PS Form 4546-B, Preventive Maintenance Inspection Guidelines, Light Delivery Vehicles, identifies the required elements of routine maintenance.
  • Sept. 30, 2016: Memo from USPS Vice President for Delivery Operations Kevin McAdams on Vehicle inspections and maintenance: “Preventive maintenance starts with our employees performing daily vehicle inspections, and continues with our Vehicle Maintenance group performing quality, scheduled maintenance and being responsive when unscheduled repairs are needed. Please ensure that proper and complete vehicle inspections are performed before and after driving a vehicle to perform postal duties. Ensure all safety defects/failures are reported immediately and corrected before allowing the vehicle to be used by our employees.” PDF

 

OSHA

The Federal Occupational Safety & Health Act: Full OSHA coverage for letter carriers

“No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people.”

—Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

Postal employees are covered by the protections of the OSHA law—the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The change is due to PESEA, the Postal Employees Safety Enhancement Act, passed in September, 1998.

To file a complaint or seek compliance information NALC representatives may contact OSHA's regional and area offices, or visit OSHA's Web site at http://www.osha.gov.

Whistleblower protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) administers more than 20 whistleblower protection laws. Each law has a filing deadline.

The Postal Service may not retaliate against you for exercising rights protected under OSHA. The Whistleblower Protection Programs website advises how to file a complaint and explains that you must initiate your complaint within 30 days of the date when you believe you were subjected to retaliation.

A whistleblower complaint must allege four key elements:

  • The employee engaged in activity protected by the whistleblower protection law(s) (such as reporting a violation of law);
  • The employer knew about, or suspected, that the employee engaged in the protected activity;
  • The employer took an adverse action against the employee;
  • The employee’s protected activity motivated or contributed to the adverse action.

OSHA accepts whistleblower complaints made orally (telephone or walk-in at any OSHA office) or in writing, and in any language.

If you choose to use OSHA’s Online Whistleblower Complaint Form, you must complete the screens and fields that are marked as “required;” all other screens and fields are optional. (Note: You may have more success using this form on a computer than on a smartphone. If you are using a smartphone, you may need to scroll up on a screen to fill in the required information before you can proceed.)

If you file a complaint, OSHA will contact you to determine whether to conduct an investigation. You must respond to OSHA’s follow-up contact or your complaint will be dismissed.

A whistleblower complaint filed with OSHA cannot be filed anonymously. If OSHA proceeds with an investigation, OSHA will notify your employer of your complaint and provide the employer with an opportunity to respond. Because your complaint may be shared with the employer, do not include witness names or their contact information on this form; you will have the opportunity to offer evidence in support of your complaint during the investigation.

If you have any questions about the complaint filing or investigative processes, please 800-321-OSHA (6742).

If you think your job is unsafe and you want to ask for an inspection, you can call 800-321-OSHA (6742), or file a "Notice of Alleged Safety or Health Hazards" by clicking here.

See the November 2012 Safety & Health column in The Postal Record for more information.

OSHA 300 Log - Annual Posting Requirement

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires an annual posting of its OSHA 300 log. Below are references from Chapter 8 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) covering the 300 log and the required posting (§821.142).

821.11    Postal Service and OSHA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements

The Postal Service is required by 29 CFR 1904, Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, to record occupational injuries and illnesses in OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and to maintain a supplementary record, OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report. The Postal Service maintains an accident reporting process and system, including Accident Report, to fulfill these requirements and to meet safety and health program and business needs.

821.122    OSHA Requirements

In accordance with OSHA Part 1904, an OSHA Form 301 must be completed for each recordable injury or illness. The original OSHA 301 must be maintained along with the OSHA 300 Log for 5 years.

821.14    Maintaining Logs and Summaries

821.141    OSHA 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

In accordance with 29 CFR 1904, each facility must maintain an OSHA 300 log by calendar year that lists all OSHA-recordable occupational injuries and illnesses. All such injuries and illnesses must be recorded on the log within 7 days of notification.

821.142    OSHA 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

Post a copy of OSHA 300A for the period February 1 through April 30 each year in a conspicuous place at every establishment where employees work or report to work.

821.143    OSHA 301, Injury and Illness Incident ReportOSHA Form 301 must be filled out for each OSHA-recordable, work-related illness or injury within 7 days of notification (see 821.122).

821.144    Retention

Retain OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301 and PS Form 1769 for 5 years after the end of the calendar year.

The posting of this log is an important element of safety.  It identifies what types of injuries have been suffered at your installation.

Your Local Safety and Health Committee is tasked with the following obligation:

Monitor the progress of accident prevention and health activities, and, when necessary, make recommendations for improvement to the installation head. (EL-809, Section V)

Your review of the 300 Log in conjunction with the duties of the Safety and Health Committee should lead you to ask your local safety committee what they have done to prevent similar injuries/illnesses? Have they implemented measures to prevent similar accidents/injuries?

OSHA citations & hazard alerts

Below are citations issued by OSHA relevant to the Postal Service. (Note: Citations related to heat safety are listed in a section above titled “OSHA citations relating to heat safety.”)

Regulations and standards

The federal regulations governing occupational safety and health, in two documents from the Code of Federal Regulations. Please note that laws and regulations can and do change! See the OSHA Web site for the latest information about OSHA regulations and standards: http://www.osha.gov

Workers’ Memorial Day

April 2015 Safety & Health column: Workers Memorial Day

Remarks by OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels,
Workers' Memorial Day Program, Department of Labor Headquarters,
Washington, DC, April 28, 2016 | PDF