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An employee working as a mechanic at the U.S. Postal Service's distribution center in Greensboro, North Carolina, suffered a life-changing injury on Sept. 27, 2021. The worker's arm was amputated after contacting a machine that had a safety guard removed.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an inspection at the USPS facility, which operates as Greensboro Network Distribution Center. The inspection identified repeat and serious safety violations, including failure to ensure that safety guards were in place as required and allowing conveyor guards to be routinely removed, leaving workers at risk of injuries.
The facility also did not train staff on working near conveyors or proper methods for safely operating equipment using lockout/tagout safety measures. In addition, OSHA found that the USPS allowed unqualified workers – workers without adequate training and protective equipment – to perform tests on live electrical equipment.
OSHA issued two serious and two repeat citations, totaling $170,918 in proposed fines.
“The U.S. Postal Service ignored long-established safety standards and put workers at risk,” said Kimberley Morton, OSHA’s area director in Raleigh. “The USPS has an obligation to eliminate hazards to ensure safe working conditions and prevent another worker from suffering a tragic and life-altering injury.”
Greensboro Network Distribution Center is a bulk mail processing and distribution center where a programmable network of heavy conveyor lines and other systems handles packages for delivery.
Dan Hounsell is senior editor, facility group.