Courts

Feds investigating Sac-area post offices following workplace injuries

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The United States Department of Labor is investigating two local post offices following two reports of serious workplace injuries, including a concussion and the amputation of a finger.

In a court order issued last week, Magistrate Judge Jeremy Peterson gave the department permission to conduct inspections at the post office on Industrial Blvd in West Sacramento, as well as the office on Sierra Gardens Drive in Roseville following two reports to OSHA’s Oakland office.

In the reports, postal officials said a mail carrier at the Roseville office was hospitalized overnight for a heat-related illness after working in the sun all day. Similar conditions were reported at the West Sacramento location, with heat-generating equipment and no AC bringing the interior of the facility to 85-90 degrees as employees made repetitive motions – creating a risk that they could pass out.

Following the reports, OSHA director Matthew Kuzemchak ordered inspections into both facilities, but when his underlings arrived to conduct them on July 6, they were barred entry from lawyers for the postal service. They attempted to conduct the inspections once more on July 11th and were again denied entry.

On July 16th, another concern was raised at the West Sacramento office. The West Sacramento Fire Department on July 13th responded to an injury call after an employee was thrown off of a piece of machinery, falling backwards and cracking his head open. He was rendered temporarily unconscious, sustained a concussion, and needed seven staples in his head.

On July 31st, a USPS safety manager left Kuzemchak a voicemail reporting another injury at the Roseville facility. In it, she said an employee dropped a scanner down a drainage opening and amputated the tip of his finger after the grate slipped as he lifted it up.

According to Peterson’s order, the inspection of the facilities must be done within 30 days, and a return will be filed with the court 15 days following the inspection’s completion. Officials have been authorized to take photos, temperature measurements, logs of workplace injuries, and interview employees.

If officials find violations, the Postal Service can be subject to thousands of dollars in civil penalties.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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