In July 2018, a sweltering heat wave hit California led to the state's hottest month in 124 years of recorded history.
A 63-year-old Woodland Hills, Calif. mail carrier was found dead in a postal vehicle one record-setting 117-degree-Fahrenheit day that month. The United States Postal Service (USPS) now is facing $149,664 in fines for not addressing worker safety in high-heat conditions.
“The U.S. Postal Service knows the dangers of working in high-heat conditions and is required to address employee safety in these circumstances,” said OSHA Oakland Area Office Director Amber Rose, in a statement. “USPS is responsible for establishing work practices to protect mail carriers who work outdoors from the hazards of extreme temperatures.”
OSHA cited the agency for repeated violations of its General Duty Clause, which addresses USPS’s programs and procedures in high temperature situations. The postal service was also cited for a repeated violation of recordkeeping requirements related to recording heat stress incidents.
The USPS has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.