After 'Life-Changing Injury' at USPS Facility, Possible Big Fines

Worker has arm amputated after accident at NC mail facility; OSHA finds 'serious safety violations'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2022 9:50 AM CDT
USPS Faces $170K in Fines After Worker's Arm Amputated
A worker carries a large parcel at a United States Postal Service sorting and processing facility in Boston on Nov. 18, 2021.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

A US Postal Service worker lost an arm after an accident involving a machine at a North Carolina mail processing center, and now the agency could face fines of more than $170,000, reports WGHP. Per a release from the US Department of Labor, the mechanic at the USPS' Greensboro distribution hub was working on Sept. 27 when they suffered the "life-changing injury"—one involving a machine that didn't have the safety guard it was supposed to. The accident led to the worker's arm being amputated, as well as to an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which uncovered "repeat and serious safety violations."

The USPS "exposed employees to amputation hazards" in both the September incident and again in November, per a citation. Among the violations listed: a failure to have said safety guards in place; a lack of training for staff working near conveyor belts or handling equipment using "lockout/tagout safety measures"; and permitting employees who weren't properly trained and protected to work on live electrical equipment, per the release. The USPS "ignored long-established safety standards and put workers at risk," says OSHA Area Director Kimberley Morton, adding that the agency "has an obligation to eliminate hazards to ensure safe working conditions."

After receipt of the March 4 citation and list of accompanying penalties, which total a possible $170,918, the USPS has 15 days to make any necessary changes, meet informally with Morton, or contest OSHA's findings. In December, the Labor Department reported that upward of 4,700 workers in the US were fatally injured while at work in 2020, which was an 11% drop from the previous year and the lowest death toll in seven years, per CBS News. (More amputation stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.