|page 14 of 65|
Chapter 1 Compliance with Statutory Policies
and control ergonomic risk, among the Postal Service, OSHA, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), and the APWU. The partnership agreement, signed in April 2003, was initially for a 3-year period. On July 31, 2006 the partner agreement was extended for an additional 2 years. To date, 88,107 postal employees at 120 facilities have received training in ERRP. Since its inception in 2003, ERRP teams have analyzed 7,277 tasks, resolved 5,393 tasks, and implemented 3,652 fixes locally. ERRP is scheduled to be implemented in 32 sites in 2007 and an additional 31 sites in 2008.
Customer Service employees have also requested an ergonomic process to assist in the identification and reduction of musculoskeletal disorders. The organization of ERRP for Customer Service differs from the plants since CS ERRP is not confined to a single building. A model for CS ERRP was developed in the Albany District and successfully tested in the San Diego and Bay Valley Districts in 2005. As the Customer Service ERRP process was refined, the Hawkeye District implemented the process in 2006. Additional districts are being considered for CS ERRP implementation next year.
L. INJURY COMPENSATION
The Postal Service had a 5% increase in workers’ compensation chargeback expenses from the Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), compared with 2005 expenses. The total cash payout was $883 million.
The Postal Service continues to work closely with the OWCP to place injured employees who cannot be accommodated within the Postal Service into private sector employment. The program resulted in placement in the private sector, retirement, or reduction in compensation payments for 239 former employees. Annual compensation costs have been reduced by more than $16.2 million since inception of this process, known as the Vocational Rehabilitation Process.
In continuing efforts to reduce workers’ compensation medical costs, the Postal Service implemented two new initiatives. The Pharmacy Card Program was introduced, allowing employees with work-related injuries to receive pharmacy discounts. Working in collaboration with OWCP and the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, the Duplicate Medical Bill Review project was initially launched in one OWCP district office in 2005 to identify and recover medical overpayments made to providers. This project has been rolled out to an additional eight of twelve OWCP district offices. Medical overpayments in the amount of $3.9 million have been identified during 2006.
Money recovered from pursuit of third-party claims and overpayments are credited to the Postal Service by OWCP. Ongoing efforts with the Credit Recovery program attained $39.9 million in 2006, which surpassed the recovery target of $37 million.
M. WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FRAUD
Postal inspectors and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) are responsible for identifying fraud in the Workers’ Compensation Program and seeking resolution. The resolution may be an arrest, removal from duty, job suspension, withdrawal of a claim by the claimant, or the reduction or discontinuance of an employee’s compensation benefits (as determined by the Department of Labor). Postal inspectors and the OIG
also investigate and identify fraud during the period that injured workers receive continuation of pay (COP) from the Postal Service and before they progress to the Department of Labor’s compensation rolls.
Investigations identified 528 individuals alleged to have defrauded the workers’ compensation program, resulting in long-term cost avoidance and COP savings of $87.7 million. The Inspection Service and the OIG partnered on 83 of these identifications, which resulted in more than $17.9 million in avoided compensation costs.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud
|Front-end schemes resolved*||324|
|Front-end cost savings*||$14,633,956|
|Long-term schemes resolved**||204|
|Long-term cost avoidance**||$73,017,341|
|Total Number of Cases||528|
*"Front-end" refers to fraudulent workers' compensation claims which terminate as a result of Inspection Service investigation prior to involvement by the Office of Personnel Management.
**Long-term cost avoidance is calculated based on an actuarial lifetime.
Investigative responsibility for workers’ compensation fraud was fully transitioned from the Inspection Service in May 2006. The Inspection Service transferred leads, investigative data, and personnel resources to the OIG. The Inspection Service maintained responsibility for previously opened investigations awaiting final reports, administrative actions by the Postal Service or Department of Labor, or completion of criminal prosecutive action.
N. HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
1. BIOHAZARD DETECTION SYSTEM AND RELATED PROGRAMS
The Biohazard Detection System (BDS) provides an early warning of the potential threat of a biohazard, allowing an immediate evacuation and containment response and reducing the risk of exposure to postal employees and the public. In support of the program, the Postal Service conducted numerous full-scale, national BDS exercises involving local first responders. In 2006 Incident Command System (ICS) software was deployed to be utilized in the event of an actual BDS incident with training provided to postal inspectors nationally.
To date, 281 postal inspectors have been certified and equipped as Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response technicians able to respond to and conduct BDS crime-scene investigations. Presently, there are 170 postal inspectors certified to operate advanced screening equipment to determine if unknown, suspicious substances found in the mail are nonhazardous. Continued training was available to all postal inspectors on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive