The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the Ottumwa Post Office for three safety and health violations. OSHA spokesman Scott Allen says one citation is a repeat, one is serious and one is called “other than serious.”
“The citations follow a July investigation of complaint alleging a mail carrier reportedly experiencing heat illness symptoms and requesting relief in completing his route on June 10th. He did not receive that relief,” Allen says. The heat index that afternoon exceeded 100 degrees. The citation says the continued exposure put the employee in imminent danger of further illness
During its investigation, the agency found that a mail carrier was hospitalized for heat illness on July 13th and the carrier had also asked for relief due to feeling ill at that time, and was directed to complete the route. “OSHA has proposed $46,600 in penalties to the Ottumwa mail service. They basically have 15 days to contest the citations or request an informal hearing with OSHA,” Allen says.
He says if they citations are contested, they would go before an administrative law judge who would make the final decision. Allen says protecting employees from heat is very important.
“Excessive heat can turn deadly and unfortunately it has at other work sites,” Allen says. “So, we are trying to prevent this from happening and there are very simple steps in ensuring that your workers are safe. And they have to be followed by all businesses to protect their workers.” He says they have worked with businesses to try and prevent heat-related problems.
Allen says OSHA has a heat safety campaign to educate employers and employees about heat issues, and they have a free ap that lets workers and supervisors monitor work site heat indexes.