The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations carrying $88,000 in penalties to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for unsafe forklift operations at its Urbandale, Iowa, distribution center.
Announced on April 11, the citations arose from an investigation that took place in late 2015 following a complaint that alleged forklift operators were handling unstable loads and driving forward with no clear path of visibility. No further details were given about the origin of the complaint, but OSHA recently has strengthened its whistleblower protection for employees who file such reports with it.
OSHA says it cited the postal facility for two repeated violations and one serious safety violation, which include employees being exposed to crushing and struck-by hazards associated with operating powered industrial trucks.
OSHA says USPS failed to take actions including appropriate training, instruction, visual observation and other means when a forklift operator was involved in an accident or near-miss. According to the agency, operators were moving loads of an excessive size that routinely created off-center loads. It says operators were not ensuring loads were safely arranged and also were not reducing speed to a safe level while negotiating turns to prevent the load from shifting, rocking and then tipping off the forks, exposing other employees to struck-by hazards.