822 Supplementary Actions in the Event of Serious Accidents, Including Fatalities

822.1 Reporting Serious Accidents

822.11 General

Certain types of serious accidents need attention at the District, Area, and Headquarters levels. Managers must use the Serious Accident Report (SAR) Tool in the Safety Toolkit to comply with the serious accident reporting (SAR) requirements listed in 822.13 and 822.14.

822.12 Definition of “Serious Accident”

A “serious accident” is defined by the Postal Service as any Postal Service-related occupational accident, illness, or disease that:

  1. Results in the death of one or more employees or non-Postal Service persons1.
  2. Results in the inpatient2 hospitalization of one or more employees or non-Postal Service persons.
  3. Results in the death of an employee or non-Postal Service person within 6 months of the date of the accident (even if it was not immediately reportable).
  4. Involves property damage (combined Postal Service and non-Postal Service) estimated to exceed $100,000.
  5. Involves mutilation, amputation (including major cartilaginous body parts such as ears and nose), or loss of vision in one or both eyes to an employee or non–Postal Service person.
  6. Results in inpatient2 hospitalization due to chemical or biological exposure.
822.13 Reporting Requirements for Installation Heads

The reporting requirements for installation heads are as follows:

  1. The installation head must report all serious accidents to the district manager by COB the day of the accident.
  2. The installation head, after consultation with the servicing safety office, must report by telephone (800-321-OSHA/800-321-6742), in person at the nearest OSHA office, or on the web-based fatality/injury/illness reporting application at www.osha.gov, the following:
    1. Any accident that is fatal to one or more employees must be reported within 8 hours. Note: Employers must report all fatal heart attacks occurring in the work environment, whether OSHA recordable or not (OSHA § 1904.39(b) (5)).
    2. Any accident that results in in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees within 24 hours of the work-related injury must be reported within 24 hours.
    3. Any amputation (partial or complete loss of a limb or external body part, but not requiring bone loss), even if not resulting in an in-patient hospitalization, must be reported within 24 hours.
    4. Any loss of an eye, even if not resulting in an in-patient hospitalization, must be reported within 24 hours.
  3. The report to OSHA should relate the following information:
    1. Name of the establishment.
    2. Location of the incident.
    3. Time of the incident.
    4. Number of fatalities or hospitalized employees.
    5. Names of any injured employees.
    6. Postal Service contact person and his or her telephone number.
    7. Brief description of the incident.
  4. The installation head is not required to report:
    1. Motor vehicle accidents that occur in public streets, except those in construction work zones (OSHA § 1904.39(b) (3)).
    2. Commercial airplane, train, subway, or bus accidents (OSHA § 1904.39(b)(4)).
  5. The installation head must provide records within 4 business hours to an OSHA compliance officer who requests them (OSHA § 1904.40(a)).
  6. The installation head must promptly report to the appropriate union:
    1. Any employee fatality.
    2. Any serious industrial, noncriminal accident or injury.
822.14 Reporting Requirements for District Managers

A fatality, amputation, mutilation, or OSHA-reportable accident, as defined in 822.13b, must be reported within 8 hours to the area Human Resources manager and manager, Safety and OSHA Compliance Programs, Headquarters.

822.15 How to Complete Serious Accident Reports

Complete as much as is known in order to submit a timely report. Follow up with additional information if necessary. The SAR Tool will use the following format:

  1. Post Office or facility, city, state, and ZIP Code.
  2. Name, title, and telephone number of the installation head (state whether the official has personal knowledge of the situation).
  3. Brief description of accident, including:
    1. Date and time of accident or death (make a supplementary report if a death occurs after the initial report).
    2. Location.
    3. Name, home address, title, age, sex, years of service, and extent of injuries to Postal Service employee(s).
    4. Name, age, sex, address, and extent of injuries to non-Postal Service persons involved.
    5. Type of work employee was performing when the accident occurred.
    6. Vehicle, equipment, or property damage, Postal Service or non-Postal Service (state the make, model, and type of vehicle and whether a seat belt was used).
    7. Probable cause(s) of accident.
    8. Police charges (if any and if known).
    9. Name, title, and level of supervisor on duty.

822.2 Investigating Serious Accidents

822.21 OSHA Investigations

OSHA may elect to investigate occupational fatalities or serious accidents. If notified by OSHA personnel of their intent to investigate, the servicing safety office will immediately notify the:

  1. Local Area Law Department,
  2. Area Manager Human Resources,
  3. Headquarters General Counsel, and
  4. Manager, SOCP.
822.22 Postal Service Serious Accident Investigation Board
822.221 Mandatory Composition

A management board appointed by the district manager must investigate job-related fatalities and other serious accidents as defined in 822.12. The board must be appointed within 24 hours of the accident and must include:

  1. One operations manager who has no functional relationship to the activities involved in the accident; this person will serve as chairperson.
  2. One manager from the office who has a functional relationship to the activities involved in the accident.
  3. The manager, Safety, or designated safety specialist, as appropriate.
  4. One Postal Service medical advisor appointed in consultation with the area medical director.

Exception: Some serious accidents involving customers or Postal Service employees may not warrant a full investigation by a board. Vice presidents of Area Operations may waive investigations of serious accidents if they determine that the purpose of an investigation (see 822.223) is unlikely to be realized because of the circumstances of the accident. If district managers believe a waiver is justified, they should request a waiver from their vice president of Area Operations. If a waiver is granted, it should be documented and the file treated in accordance with the requirements of 822.225.

822.222 Optional Composition

One employee representative from the local safety and health committee, when requested by the appropriate union, will be permitted to accompany the board in its investigation of industrial, noncriminal accidents. SOCP, Headquarters, may provide investigative assistance when such assistance is determined to be appropriate by the area Human Resources manager. The vice president of Area Operations may designate, as deemed necessary, an area-level representative to serve on or to provide consultation to the board.

822.223 Board Responsibilities

Board responsibilities are to:

  1. Discover the root causes of the accident.
  2. Make sound recommendations to prevent accident recurrence.
  3. Review the quality of action taken by supervisors where the accident occurred.
  4. Determine if the employee was wearing a seat belt at the time of the motor vehicle accident (see 844.2) and document findings.

Note: Board responsibilities and actions do not relieve those immediately involved of their responsibility for accident investigation and prevention.

822.224 Board Investigation Report

The board must use the SAR Tool to report findings and recommendations:

  1. Detailed description of accident, as follows:
    1. Employee’s relationship (location) to physical surroundings.
    2. What the employee was doing when the accident occurred and how he or she was doing it.
  2. Statements from the following:
    1. Employee.
    2. Witness(es).
    3. Other person(s) interviewed.
  3. Photographs of the accident scene.
  4. Pertinent findings.
    1. What the employee did, or failed to do, that contributed to the accident. Include unsafe acts and violations of safety rules, such as not wearing a seat belt (see 844), lack of knowledge, and lack of training.
    2. What others involved did, or failed to do, that contributed to the accident.
    3. The main reason for the actions (what was done or failed to be done) that contributed to the accident.
    4. Deficiencies and unsafe or adverse conditions in the work environment that contributed to the accident.
    5. If applicable, the reason for the deficiencies in the work environment.
  5. Quality and type of action taken by management after the accident occurred.
    1. Immediate supervisor’s investigation (see 821.2 for responsibilities).
    2. Upper level managers’ actions (responsibilities include ensuring that all employees involved in similar work are instructed, revising work procedures or practices when required, and ensuring that the board’s recommendations are implemented when appropriate).
  6. Actions recommended by the board to prevent future occurrences of similar accidents.
822.225 Investigation Reporting and Response Requirements

Investigation reporting and response requirements are as follows:

  1. Board. Within 15 working days of appointment, the board must submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the district manager, with copies to the area vice president and the installation head.
  2. Installation head. Within 10 working days after receiving the board’s report, the installation head must provide a report to the district manager, with a copy to the area vice president, describing the corrective actions taken.
  3. District. The original copy of the investigation board report is retained at the district safety office. In addition:
    1. For fatal and catastrophic (OSHA-reportable) incidents only, an executive summary must be forwarded to the area Human Resources manager. The summary should include at a minimum:
      1. The date and time of the incident,
      2. The name and location of the installation,
      3. Personnel information,
      4. A brief description of the incident,
      5. Causal factors,
      6. Recommendations, and
      7. Proposed corrective actions.
    2. When the investigation board report indicates items with national impact, a complete copy of the board report must be forwarded to the area Human Resources manager for review and consultation with any affected Headquarters departments.
  4. Headquarters. Upon written request of any member of the National Joint Labor–Management Safety and Health Committee, the vice president of Employee Resource Management must arrange for the release of a copy of the report to that member. However, those portions of the report prohibited from disclosure by law or regulation must not be released.