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Mail Carrier Death Leads to $198,897 Penalty for Postal Service

July 18, 2019, 8:26 PM

A postal worker’s death in Texas following his collapse while delivering mail led to a federal safety citation and proposed fines of $198,897 for the U.S. Postal Service.

The federal agency was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two repeat violations related to the incident.

The Dec. 21 incident occurred as the postal carrier was delivering mail. He collapsed and struck the back of his head on the pavement, suffering a fractured skull with bleeding and swelling on the brain, federal authorities said. “The employee was hospitalized and later died,” according to OSHA’s accident investigation summary.

OSHA concluded on Jan. 18 its two-day investigation of the postal station located in the north Houston area and issued the citation June 24.

DOL: Failure to Report in Timely Manner

OSHA is proposing $132,598 in penalties for a repeat violation, alleging in a citation the Postal Service failed to report the hospitalization of an employee within the 24-hour requirement.

“The hospitalization was not reported to OSHA until January 14,” OSHA alleged in the citation.

The fatality was not a heat-related incident, an OSHA spokesperson confirmed.

The fine of the Houston site follows a trio of citations of other postal facilities on similar grounds, including a pair of citations at separate Postal Service workplaces in Pennsylvania in Zionsville and York in 2018 and a 2016 citation of a Richmond Hill, N.Y., facility. All three citations were affirmed as final orders.

In the latest case, OSHA is additionally proposing $66,299 in penalties in a separate repeat violation, alleging the Postal Service’s failure to record an employee injury on the OSHA 300 log and 301 Incident Report within seven calendar days.

OSHA gives companies 15 days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. An email request for comment to the Postal Service for comment didn’t elicit an immediate response.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Stinson in Austin, Texas at pstinson@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at snadel@bloomberglaw.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com