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OSHA Fines USPS $13,840 for Failure To Provide Workers With Useable Bathroom at Virginia Facility for at Least a Month

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed to fine the United States Postal Service (USPS) $13,840 for not providing potable water at one of its facilities.

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OSHA learned that the U.S. Postal Service had not paid water bills dating back to February 2022 at its Portlock Station Post Office, located at 1103 Godwin Ave., Chesapeake, VA 23324.

As a result, the local utility company shut off the water service to the Chesapeake post office and assessed late fees for non-payment.

Upon learning of this deficiency, OSHA inspected the USPS facility on August 30, 2022, and found numerous violations, most of them related to the failure of not providing running water for its employees in bathrooms and other areas.

“Potable water was not provided in all places of employment, for drinking, washing of the person, cooking, washing of foods, washing of cooking or eating utensils, washing of food preparation or processing premises, or personal service rooms,” OSHA noted in its citation.

In addition, OSHA said that the U.S. Postal Service made employees work without a useable bathroom, and its failure to “provide potable water to the facility” exposed “employees to heat illness and the spread of communicable diseases.”

“Employers must ensure a safe and healthful workplace by making sure workers have access to water for drinking and sanitation,” explained OSHA Area Director Brian Rizzo in Norfolk, Virginia.

“U.S. Postal Service management responsible for this facility should have acted more quickly to protect employee health.”

USPS Second Violation is Repeat Problem

In a second citation issued by OSHA, USPS was cited for not providing a complete list of hazardous materials on a safety data sheet that employees may be exposed to during their normal workday.

While this is a relatively minor issue as the chemicals inspectors saw were common household products, OSHA said USPS had been previously cited for the same violation at other facilities in Virginia.

The United States Postal Service has 15 days from the receipt of the citations to contest the allegations. OSHA issued the citations on January 31, 2023.

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