Postal Service Management of Work-Related Injuries

T-GGD-89-41: Published: Sep 28, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1989.

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GAO discussed its review of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) administration of its work-related injury compensation program. GAO noted that: (1) USPS measures effectiveness of division procedures to control lost workdays connected with work-related injuries; (2) lost-workday rates varied greatly among postal divisions; (3) the degree of division commitment to effective cost-control procedures affected divisional performance; (4) USPS limited-duty guidelines did not include criteria for how long employees could remain on limited duty or on how to monitor employees' medical progress; (5) local supervisors did not always complete accident reports for the USPS National Accident Reporting System; and (6) USPS safety and compensation staffs did not sufficiently coordinate their activities to ensure accident reporting.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Instructions, policy guidance, and training materials have been developed that disseminate ideas and methods used by more successful divisions to control lost workdays and continuation of pay during work-related absences.

    Recommendation: To expand USPS controls over lost workdays and continuation-of-pay hours, strengthen the management of limited-duty assignments, and improve accident reporting, the Postmaster General should direct the Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Human Resources, to identify effective control procedures used by more successful divisions, disseminate that information to all divisions, and promote the greater use of those controls, as appropriate for each location.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Additional guidance in medical monitoring and the review of limited duty assignments is being provided to all divisions.

    Recommendation: To expand USPS controls over lost workdays and continuation-of-pay hours, strengthen the management of limited-duty assignments, and improve accident reporting, the Postmaster General should direct the Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Human Resources, to establish guidelines requiring routine medical monitoring and scheduled periodic review of limited-duty assignments for possible termination.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A computerized program has been developed to compare data contained in the National Accident Reporting System (NARS) with data in the Workers' Compensation Information System (WCIS). The program will be distributed to field divisions to help ensure the accuracy and timeliness of their reports. The need for accurate reporting is also being stressed in the safety training program.

    Recommendation: To expand USPS controls over lost workdays and continuation-of-pay hours, strengthen the management of limited-duty assignments, and improve accident reporting, the Postmaster General should direct the Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Human Resources, to remind divisions of the importance of the USPS requirement to complete accident reports and require divisions to establish a system of control procedures such as routine reconciliation of accident reports and medical treatment records for occupational injuries and illnesses.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Communication and coordination between the injury compensation, medical and safety staffs is being stressed in the training programs and management meetings. The NARS/WCIS computerized reconciliation program will further this effort.

    Recommendation: To expand USPS controls over lost workdays and continuation-of-pay hours, strengthen the management of limited-duty assignments, and improve accident reporting, the Postmaster General should direct the Senior Assistant Postmaster General, Human Resources, to issue guidelines for divisions on improving coordination and communication between injury compensation and safety staffs and on establishing and implementing National Accident Reporting System reporting verification procedures.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

 

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