OSHA fines USPS $342K: Inspectors find workers exposed to bloodborne pathogen hazards

blood-born-pathogens-biohazardEmployer name: U.S. Postal Service LLC, doing business as Brooklyn South Carrier Annex
Inspection site: 1500 Cherry Hill Road, Brooklyn, Maryland
Citations issued: On Nov. 22, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the postal service for one serious, two willful, and three repeat health violations.
Investigation findings: OSHA began the inspection on May 24, 2016, in response to a complaint alleging employee exposure to blood and other potentially infectious bodily fluids while handling packages labeled as containing biological infectious materials.

bloodborne-pathogenThe 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. Additionally, the USPS failed to implement a hazard communication program. The employer did not properly train workers for bloodborne pathogen protection or provide them with properly-sized gloves, resulting in the other violations.

Quote: “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 at OSHA’s Baltimore Area Office.

Proposed penalties: $342,059

The citation can be viewed at: https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/USPostalService_1150333.pdf

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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