No Water, Restroom in USPS Facility

In July 2022, the water supply was shut off for non-payment and was turned back on until the day after OSHA's inspection.   February 17, 2023

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor 

Safety in institutional and commercial facilities most often involves such issues as slips and falls, arc flash and hazard communication. It isn’t often that federal safety inspectors get a complaint of a facility without potable water or an operating restroom. But the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is now in inspectors’ crosshairs over just such a complaint. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently opened an inspection at the USPS Chesapeake, Virginia, facility in response to an allegation that the employer did not provide potable water to the facility or an operating restroom

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OSHA inspectors learned the USPS had not paid water and sanitation bills dating back to February 2022, which resulted in late payment fees. In July 2022, the water supply was shut off for non-payment and was not returned to service until the day after OSHA's inspection. Inspectors determined the facility made an employee work there without running water or a usable bathroom for more than a month. OSHA has proposed penalties of $13,840. 

"Employers must ensure a safe and healthful workplace by making sure workers have access to water for drinking and sanitation," says Brian Rizzo, OSHA area director in Norfolk, Virginia. "U.S. Postal Service management responsible for this facility should have acted more quickly to protect employee health." 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor of the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management. 


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