Safety first. This mantra of parents everywhere is also a cornerstone of U.S. Postal Service internal policies and federal regulations on facility maintenance to provide a safe and healthy workplace for its employees.
Our latest audit reviewed whether management adhered to building safety, maintenance, and security standards at mail processing facilities. We found concerns, ranging from minor oversight infractions to more serious issues.
USPS has 286 mail processing facilities totaling more than 70 million interior square feet. Between October 2010 and February 2018, mail processing facilities generated more than 46,000 maintenance requests, incurring over $876 million in costs. We reviewed 32 mail processing facilities nationwide, a statistical sampling based on risk factors.
We found 282 deficiencies, including:
- 145 deficiencies (51 percent) at 27 facilities related to safety, including blocked fire extinguishers and/or blocked fire alarm pull stations;
- 68 deficiencies (24 percent) at 24 facilities related to maintenance, including severely damaged roofing, ceilings, and infrastructure; and
- 69 deficiencies (25 percent) at 27 facilities related to security, including unsecure vehicles, non-functioning security cameras, and unsecure perimeter fences.
At one facility, building safety deficiencies were so severe that we escalated the issues to Postal Service leadership while on-site, and USPS contracted with an engineering firm to complete a structural evaluation.
We recommended management address deficiencies by developing and implementing an action plan that includes a timeline for completion. We also recommended hiring additional maintenance staff at locations where appropriate.
Have you observed any maintenance, safety, or security problems at Postal Service processing plants?