Postal workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens in packages
OSHA inspectors acting on a complaint found postal employees in Brooklyn, Maryland exposed to blood and other potentially infectious bodily fluids while handling packages labeled as containing biological infectious materials.
The agency issued one serious, two willful, and three repeat health violations to the U.S. Postal Service LLC, doing business as Brooklyn South Carrier Annex, for the hazards.
The willful violations relate to the employer’s failure to have an implemented written bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan, including performing an exposure determination and offering exposed employees the Hepatitis B vaccine. Additionally, the USPS failed to implement a hazard communication program. The employer did not properly train workers for bloodborne pathogen protection or provide them with properly-sized gloves, resulting in the other violations.
“Exposure to bloodborne pathogen hazards can result in serious or life-threatening illnesses. To reduce or eliminate these hazards at USPS’s Brooklyn facility, an exposure control plan must be implemented to protect employees and provide a safe and healthy workplace,” said Nadira Janack, director at OSHA’s Baltimore Area Office.
Proposed penalties: $342,059.