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.

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

 

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

 

Employee Assistance Program

Learn more about EAP

The Employee Assistance Program is governed by Article 35 of the National Agreement. EAP is jointly adminstered by NALC, other postal unions and USPS. It provides confidential education, referral and counseling to help employees through personal challenges of all types, including alcoholism and drug-abuse programs.

Letter carriers seeking EAP services may contact their local union officers for information, call 800-327-4968 or go to www.eap4you.com.

Here are helpful documents:

Free, anonymous EAP screening

The National Joint Employee Assistance Program Committee has created a place where any letter carrier may obtain a free screening for depression or alcohol abuse, on the Web at www.eap4you.com

To access screenings:

  1. Go to the EAP website.
  2. Click on NEW USER.
  3. Type 800-327-4968 in the box and click CONTINUE.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click CONTINUE UNREGISTERED.
  5. On the left side, listed under INFORMATION AND TOOLS, click on SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOLS link.
  6. This will bring you to the Self-Assessment Tools webpage that begins by listing the various types of assessment tools available.

The free screening can help you determine if you might be suffering from depression or alcohol problems. Of course, only your doctor can give you a full diagnosis after a full evaluation, but the screening can reveal whether you suffer from symptoms consistent with those problems.

If the screening result indicates that you could be suffering from depression or alcohol problems, you will be given a number to call for a free, confidential consultation with an Employee Assistance Program counselor.

The screening is completely anonymous because no personal identification is requested.

The screening is completely free and available every day, 24 hours a day.

EAP services: Broader than you might think!

Sometimes a conversation is all it takes to get things started. Here's a message from the Hawkeye District Advisory Committee to encourage letter carriers to use all of EAP’s services:

USPS EAP publications

EAP Publications SPS Publication

EAP Promotions

Web-based EAP services

EAP and Magellan Healthcare have developed a number of web-based therapy modules that are designed for you to use at your convenience and in the privacy of your own home (or wherever you wish). | Introducing web-based care

These modules also let you work at a pace with which you are most comfortable. | Quick reference guide

The five confidential modules deal with:

Each module provides you with interactive, self-management tools to change behaviors and sustain healthier outcomes. The short-term, goal-oriented approach teaches problem-solving and analytical skills to help identify and eliminate unhelpful thinking and behaviors.

You can use these online modules independently or in conjunction with seeing an EAP professional face-to-face. To learn more, call EAP toll-free at 800-327-4968 or visit EAP4YOU.com and check out the programs under the “Benefits” tab.

Note: Employees who use this service must do so on their own time.

Critical incident stress management

How you can help during a crisis—presentation from the 2014 NALC Convention in Philadelphia (PPT).

Suicide prevention

The NALC has partnered with APWU and the Postal Service to produce this informational video about the EAP’s suicide prevention program.

At a workshop during NALC’s 69th Biennial Convention in Philadelphia, Magellan Health Services showed a PowerPoint presentation on suicide prevention.

Staying balanced during the holidays

An article and poster from the EAP about surviving the holiday season (PDF).

 

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, vehicle repairs and vehicle 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:

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

 

Extreme weather

Safety in extreme heat


NOTE: The video (from 2014) states that you should drink eight 8-ounce cups of water per day. However, the more recent May 2015 “Beat the Heat, Stay Cool” safety talk recommends drinking at least 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes to maintain good hydration.

Many offices have failed to give heat-related safety talks, including the May 2015 “Beat the Heat, Stay Cool.” Your national business agents received this stand-up talk and distributed it to their branches. If this mandatory stand-up talk has not been given in your station, please reach out to your branch president, who should have received it.

OSHA Heat Safety Quick Card (PDF)
OSHA’s heat safety app for smartphones

Here is an excerpt from a statement made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on the importance of being prepared:

Whenever there is high heat, outdoor workers are at increased risk for heat-related illnesses and deaths. In fact, every year thousands of workers experience heat-related illnesses, and dozens more are killed by heat, and it happens in every part of the country...

The workers most at risk for heat-related illness are in construction and agriculture, but there are many outdoor workers in other industries who are at increased risk as well. These include workers in transportation, sanitation and recycling, building and grounds maintenance, landscaping services, oil and gas operations, and anyone else who does strenuous work in the open air.

We need your help to get the word out to employers that they are responsible for providing workplaces that are safe from excessive heat. This means regular breaks for workers so they can cool down. It means regular access to water so workers can stay hydrated. It means training for workers on the symptoms of heat illness—and what to do if they see a co-worker showing signs of dehydration or heat stroke.

Here are key pieces of advice from the safety talk:

  • Hydrate before, during and after work. Prevention is important, so make sure to maintain good hydration by drinking at least 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. On warm days, make sure to wear light colored, loose fitting, breathable clothing to keep body temperatures down.
  • Utilize shade to stay cool. When possible, use shaded areas to stay out of direct sunlight.
  • Know the signs of heat stress. You should understand what heat stress is, and how it can affect your health and safety. Here are some things to look out for:
  • Finally, it’s important to notify your supervisor or call 911 if you’re experiencing signs of heat-related illnesses (see below).

The entire text of the press conference is available here for your review. Read it and all the heat-related illness material posted here on our website and pass it along to your brothers and sisters to prevent tragedy.

Water. Rest. Shade.

OSHA’s campaign to keep workers safe in the heat

Are you drinking enough water?

On page 154 of NIOSH Publication 2016-106, you will find the “Urine Color Chart—Are you hydrated?”

The chart (also shown at right) expresses the urgency to drink more water if the color of your urine appears to be in the dehydrated range.

Do you know the signs of heat illness?

Some tips on avoiding heat-related problems, and the symptoms of—and necessary action to take for—heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Watch for symptoms of HEAT EXHAUSTION and HEAT STROKE (see below).
  • Be prepared to act by learning correct first aid procedures ahead of time.

“Protecting Workers from Heat Illness,” a 3-page infosheet, is available for download here from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At times, workers may be required to work in hot environments for long periods. When the human body is unable to maintain a normal temperature, heat-related illnesses can occur and may result in death. This fact sheet provides information to employers on measures they should take to prevent heat-related illnesses and death.

OSHA Review Commission decision re letter carrier John Watzlawick

On July 24, 2012, John Watzlawick, an Independence, MO, letter carrier lost his life as a direct result of heat illness. Following an investigation, citation (and challenge) and trial, a decision was issued on September 10, 2014. Click here to read more.

Carriers have asked a number of questions about M#01860 and its application outside the Independence, MO Post Office. Please see this July 2, 2015 document for NALC's response.

Enforcing heat safety rules

On July 24, 2012, John Watzlawick, an Independence, MO, letter carrier, lost his life as a direct result of heat illness. An extensive investigation was conducted by OSHA and the office of Region 5 National Business Agent Dan Pittman. On Dec. 12, 2012, OSHA issued a citation (Inspection #538158) labeled as "Willful" (click here for a copy).

USPS challenged the citation. A decision was issued on Sept. 10, 2014 (copy of decision).

In May 2015, NALC and USPS bargained the “Heat Abatement Program” for the Independence, MO post office (M-01860). Carriers have asked a number of questions about M-01860 and its application outside the Independence post office. Please see this July 2, 2015, document for NALC's official position on the relevance of M-01860 outside of Independence (copy of letter).

OSHA has prepared a 41-page “All in One Heat Guide” that you can download by clicking here. The first page of the guide advises as follows:

OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in hot environments. Nonetheless, under the OSH Act, employers have a duty to protect workers from recognized serious hazards in the workplace, including heat-related hazards. This guide helps employers and worksite supervisors prepare and implement hot weather plans. It explains how to use the heat index to determine when extra precautions are needed at a worksite to protect workers from environmental contributions to heat-related illness. Workers performing strenuous activity, workers using heavy or non-breathable protective clothing, and workers who are new to an outdoor job need additional precautions beyond those warranted by heat index alone.

In addition to the above training material provided by OSHA, the USPS has issued a number of instructions as follows:

In May of 2014, the USPS distributed a Mandatory Stand-up Talk for Supervisors, which required that they train themselves on heat safety, train their employees, monitor the weather, acclimate employees to the heat and have a plan in place to respond to the needs of employees during heat advisories.

On May, 8, 2015, the USPS issued a Mandatory Safety Talk titled “Beat the Heat, Stay Cool.”

The May 28, 2015 Postal Bulletin 22416 and the July 23, 2015 Postal Bulletin 22420 include a heat safety message.

In the event that a shop steward or branch officer wishes to investigate management action (or lack of action) related to a heat abatement program in your office, you may use this form to request information.

Smartphone heat safety tool: Download OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool, an app for Android devices and iPhones. The app includes a quick way to calculate the heat index and see appropriate protective measures that should be taken before someone gets hurt.

Filing an OSHA complaint: In the event that you feel it necessary to file a complaint with OSHA over management’s failure to protect letter carriers in your office from the harm of extreme heat, click here to see your options on how to file.

Anti-retaliation: The Occupational Safety and Health Act, at Section 11 (c), mandates that

No person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding or because of the exercise by such employee on behalf of himself or others of any right afforded by this Act.

If you believe that management has retaliated against you, you have the right to file a whistleblower complaint within the 30-day time limit provided for postal employees. All of the information necessary to file a whistleblower complaint can be found here

For immediate assistance: To assist you on issues involving heat safety, please send an e-mail to NALC Director of Safety and Health Manuel Peralta at the following address: peralta@nalc.org

In your e-mail, please identify yourself by name and position held (letter carrier, shop steward or title of union position held) along with identification of your work location (station, city and state) and contact information (cell number and e-mail address) so that we may begin to assist you as soon as possible.

Additionally, you may download this “Initial Heat Injury Report” form, fill it out, and send a copy of it to Director Peralta.

OSHA/NIOSH Heat Safety Tool

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.

The updated app, available for both Android and iPhone, provides a clearer user interface while still providing the same information to help keep employees safe when working outdoors in hot weather.

Extreme heat causes more deaths than any other weather-related hazard; each year more than 65,000 people seek medical treatment for extreme heat exposure.

Letter carriers who are exposed to hot and humid conditions can use the app to check the heat index and learn about the relevant protective measures. The app displays the heat index in the user’s location and shows the current risk level. 

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

The app also forecasts the hourly heat index throughout the entire workday, giving employers information they can use to adjust the work environment as needed to protect workers. It provides tips for recognizing the signs of heat-related illness and for rendering first aid, plus links to more information and to NIOSH/OSHA contact information.

Note: If you have the original OSHA app on your phone, it will no longer function after Sept. 30.

To download the updated app and get more information on OSHA’s efforts to help protect employees from the heat, visit OSHA’s heat campaign web page.

Visit the NIOSH page in support of the app to learn more about it and to get answers to frequently asked questions, such as “What is a heat index?”, “When should I use the heat index?”, and “Is monitoring the heat index enough to keep workers safe?”

OSHA citations relating to heat safety

These OSHA citations are provided for your use in protecting letter carriers from the heat.

If you file a complaint with OSHA relating to management’s failure to protect letter carriers from heat-related illness, please provide the OSHA investigator with a copy of each of the attached citations:

Extreme cold

Safety in cold temperatures

The Postal Service has issued mandatory safety talks to be given to all employees regarding protection from cold temperatures.

Click here for the Postal Service document management provided for this talk.

If management has not provided this safety talk, advise your supervisor, shop steward, branch officers or, if necessary, your national business agent.

Bottom line: Do not put yourself in danger.

Click here to see a copy of a citation issued by OSHA following the death of a letter carrier in Buffalo, NY, after a slip and fall on ice.

Click here for an information sheet from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about protecting yourself from hypothermia.

Lightning

Lightning Safety (NALC Director of Safety & Health column, May 2017 Postal Record)

Lightning Information for Workers (CDC)

Lightning Safety Tips (CDC)

Lightning FAQs (CDC)

Thunderstorms & Lightning (FEMA)

Dept. of Labor, 2003, Interpretation of OSHA's General Duty Clause:

“…Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the "General Duty Clause") requires an employer to furnish to its employees:

"employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees..."

Candle light vigil for letter carrier Christine Jones (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 2010)

 

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