Postal Service:

Improved Safety Program Needed at Los Angeles Bulk Mail Center

GGD-86-144BR: Published: Sep 10, 1986. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed issues concerning working conditions at the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) Los Angeles Bulk Mail Center (LABMC), including: (1) the division of responsibility between management and employees for ensuring safe working conditions; (2) the effectiveness of LABMC procedures for dealing with injuries; and (3) the standards for determining the LABMC safety record.

GAO found that LABMC: (1) has not fully implemented the national USPS program in the areas of operating safety committees and providing employees with appropriate safety training; (2) does not clearly inform injured employees of who will pay for medical treatment; (3) requires employees, when injured, to first review a packet of medical and return-to-work forms and instructions before sending them to a medical facility; and (4) does not use data from all accidents and injuries to establish and monitor local safety goals.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: USPS headquarters directed LABMC to fully implement the safety program and conducted a follow-up evaluation of LABMC in November 1986.

    Recommendation: In order to complete the implementation of its safety program, the Postmaster General should direct the General Manager, LABMC, to take the necessary actions to ensure that LABMC fully implements the service-wide safety program.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: USPS wanted to review the LABMC situation directly before accepting the recommendation. USPS conducted this review in November 1986 and saw no need to implement the recommendation. However, LABMC will re-emphasize that an employee's need for urgent medical care, when such need arises, overrides the processing of injury forms.

    Recommendation: In order for its injured employees to be in a position to receive medical treatment more immediately and to relieve its supervisors from making certain medically related decisions, the Postmaster General should direct the General Manager, LABMC, to ensure that all injured employees: (1) are sent for medical treatment without first reviewing an injury packet; and (2) are provided transportation to the clinic.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: LABMC revised the informational letter employees receive when injured to inform them as to who pays for medical treatment and the procedures to follow to ensure payment or reimbursement.

    Recommendation: In order to dispel the apparent confusion among its employees concerning payments and reimbursements for medical treatment, the Postmaster General should direct the General Manager, LABMC, to provide full and clear information to employees on who pays for medical treatment and the procedures employees must follow to ensure payment or reimbursement.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In October 1986, all LABMC managers were instructed to use data from all accidents and injuries to formulate their safety action plans for fiscal year 1987. Also, USPS-wide program instructions are being revised to require the analysis of data from all accidents.

    Recommendation: In order to develop a comprehensive local safety program, the Postmaster General should direct the General Manager, LABMC, to use data from all accidents and injuries to establish safety goals, to measure progress towards those goals, and to better evaluate the effectiveness of LABMC training efforts.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

 

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