Big Penalty Proposed Against USPS

The willful violations relate to the employer's failure to have an implemented, written bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan, including performing an exposure determination and offering exposed employees the Hepatitis B vaccine.

OSHA announced it has fined the U.S. Postal Service $342,059 and has issued one serious, two willful, and three repeat health violations after its inspectors found workers exposed to bloodborne pathogen hazards at a Brooklyn, Md., annex. The citations were issued Nov.22.

The investigation began May 24, 2016, in response to a complaint alleging employees were exposed to blood and other potentially infectious bodily fluids while handling packages labeled as containing biological infectious materials.

The willful violations relate to the employer's failure to have an implemented, written bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan, including performing an exposure determination and offering exposed employees the Hepatitis B vaccine. USPS also failed to implement a hazard communication program or to properly train workers for bloodborne pathogen protection or provide them properly sized gloves, according to OSHA.

"Exposure to bloodborne pathogen hazards can result in serious or life-threatening illnesses. To reduce or eliminate these hazards at USPS's Brooklyn facility, an exposure control plan must be implemented to protect employees and provide a safe and healthy workplace," said Nadira Janack, director of OSHA's Baltimore Area Office.

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