8 Safety, Health, and Environment

810 Occupational Safety and Health Program

811 General

811.1 Authority

The Postal Service™ is subject to Public Law Number 91–596, the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, pursuant to the Postal Employees Safety Enhancement Act (PESEA) of 1998. The OSH Act provides for citations, penalties, and criminal referrals for those employers who fail to comply. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for promulgating and enforcing standards and regulations under the OSH Act.

811.2 Principles

811.21 Management Commitment, Involvement, and Accountability

Managers must:

  1. Demonstrate a commitment to providing safe and healthful working conditions in all Postal Service owned and leased installations,
  2. Become involved in day-to-day safety performance, and
  3. Be held accountable for safety performance and compliance with OSHA standards and regulations (see Handbook EL-802, Executives’ and Managers’ Safety and Health Program and Compliance Guide).
811.22 Vision Statement

The Postal Service will become a leader in occupational safety and health for the federal government and private sector by demonstrating a commitment to integrating safe work practices into all of our services. The Postal Service is committed to participation in the OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). (See 811.25.) The Postal Service also engages in innovative safety efforts such as the Ergonomics Program and joint labor–management safety and health committees (see 816).

811.23 Guiding Principles

The guiding principles of the Postal Service are the following:

  1. People — Employees are our most valued resource. Our employees must be provided a safe and healthful workplace.
  2. Customers — When our employees work more safely, our performance improves.
  3. Excellence — We can demonstrate that management and employee attention to working safely is good business.
  4. Integrity — As a leader in occupational safety and health, we enhance our integrity with our customers, business partners, and Congress.
  5. Community Responsibilities — When our employees work safely, our customers are safer, and we lead other employers by example.
811.24 Safety Philosophy

The safety philosophy of the Postal Service is stated below:

  1. Any occupational injury or illness can be prevented. This goal is realistic, not theoretical. Supervisors and managers have primary responsibility for the well-being of employees and must fully accept this principle.
  2. Management, which encompasses all levels including the first-line supervisor, is responsible and accountable for the prevention of accidents and control of resultant losses. Just as the line organization is responsible for attaining production levels, ensuring quality of performance, maintaining good employee relations, and operating within cost and budget guidelines, supervisors and managers must likewise accept their share of responsibility for the safety and health of employees.
  3. It is possible to safeguard against all operating exposures that can result in accidents, injuries, and illnesses. It is preferable to eliminate the sources of danger. However, where this is not practical, management must use protective measures, including:
    1. Administrative controls,
    2. Machine guards,
    3. Safety devices, and
    4. Personal protective equipment.
  4. All employees must be trained in proper work procedures and must be educated to work safely and to understand that they are responsible for doing so. Management is responsible for the adequate safety training and education of employees. However, all employees are responsible for working safely, and in doing so, they benefit not only themselves but also their organization.
  5. It is good business practice in terms of efficiency and economy to prevent personal injuries on and off the job. Injuries cost money, reduce efficiency, and cause human suffering.
811.25 Voluntary Protection Programs

The Postal Service is committed to participation in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). This program recognizes and establishes partnerships with businesses and worksites that show excellence in occupational safety and health. The Postal Service is committed to effective employee protection beyond the requirements of OSHA standards. The Postal Service is also committed to developing and implementing systems that effectively identify, evaluate, and control occupational hazards to prevent employee injuries and illnesses. Postal Service VPP implementation and maintenance procedures, based on the latest criteria from OSHA, are available on the Safety Resources Web site.

811.3 Off–site Safety

The Postal Service safety and health program and OSHA standards and regulations cover Postal Service employees who perform Postal Service duties in private employers’ establishments, as well as while delivering mail and performing other activities off Postal Service property. To ensure that employees are protected, safe and healthful working conditions must be provided through:

  1. Engineering and administrative controls,
  2. Personal protective equipment (PPE),
  3. Enforcement of safe work practices,
  4. Withdrawal of employees from the private sector facility, and
  5. If necessary, curtailment of mail.

811.4 Records Retention and Disposition

811.41 Records Control Schedule

General retention and disposal instructions for the records and forms referenced in 810 through 850 can be found in the appendix, Records Control Schedules. Additional information can be found in Handbook AS-353, Guide to Privacy, the Freedom of Information Act, and Records Management, section 6-3.3, Retention Periods, and in the Electronic Records and Information Management Systems (eRIMS) on the intranet.

811.42 PS Form 8214, Certificate of OSHA, Safety, and Environmental Records Transfer

OSHA requires each establishment to maintain records and produce them when requested. The purpose of PS Form 8214 is to ensure that these required records are transferred when there is a change in establishment or installation head at a Post Office, station, or branch.