The post office lobby is the principal business office of the U.S. Postal Service. There are over 30,000 leased and owned Postal Service retail facilities nationwide. For most customers, the lobby is their only close-up view of Postal Service operations; therefore, its appearance directly affects the Postal Service’s public image. The Postal Service must maintain a safe environment for both employees and customers, including adherence to federal safety laws enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and internal policies and procedures regarding the appearance of lobbies and facilities, safety, and security of its facilities.
What We Did
Our objective was to summarize the results of prior property condition reviews of Postal Service retail facilities, identify systemic issues, and assess the effectiveness of management’s corrective actions.
What We Found
The property condition review audits collectively determined that the Postal Service did not maintain its facilities as required. We found systemic issues with management’s oversight to consistently address recurring maintenance issues. Although corrective actions were taken to address the issues found in our prior reviews, these actions were not effective at ensuring that employees followed policies and procedures to maintain the appearance, health and safety, and security standards at retail and delivery facilities.
We identified a total of 728 issues across the 46 facilities visited. These included 416 maintenance and appearance, 284 health and safety, and 28 security issues. We made 51 recommendations to address the issues identified, which included unclean lobbies, damaged ceilings and lighting, tripping hazards, possible mold, and blocked electrical panels and exit doors. During follow up visits to selected districts, we found new deficiencies as well as some previously identified deficiencies that management reported as corrected but were not remedied. These issues occurred because the Postal Service does not have a formal and consistent process to assess if building maintenance and appearance, health and safety, and security standards are followed at retail and delivery facilities.