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THanddbook EL-801, Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
June 2008
Handbook EL-801, Supervisor’s Safety Handbook, was last printed in June 2008. To inform you of
changes since that time, we periodically update this online edition of the handbook. We use vertical bars
(i.e., revision bars) in the margin to indicate text changed since June 2008.
This online version of Handbook EL-801 has been updated with Postal Bulletin articles through 05-01-14,
as follows:
The chapter,
part, appendix,
or section...
in Postal
with an
date of...
Chapter 2, Accident Investigation
Investigating an Accident
revised to delete references to
obsolete PS Form 4585 and PS
Form 4586
Chapter 8, General Safety Rules and Regulations
revised to clarify the definition
of smoking.
Appendix D, Safety Reference Materials
PolicyNet and the Material
Distribution Center
revised to delete references to
obsolete PS Form 4585 and PS
Form 4586
Transmittal Letter
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
June 2008
Transmittal Letter
A. Explanation. This issue of Handbook EL-801 is a complete revision, updated with
revisions through June 2008. In Aprl 2006, the text was completely revised to clarify the
roles and responsibilities of supervisors and employees with regard to health and safety
issues. Appendix D was expanded to provide sources of information, both in the federal
government and private sector, on a variety of health and safety topics.
This guide emphasizes the safety and health responsibilities of line managers. It gives
direction on promoting safety and health, inspecting work areas, and completing job
safety analyses. It also provides guidance for dealing with accidents, including
reporting, determining causes, and prevention. This handbook gives supervisors the
information and techniques they need to support Postal Service safety and health
B. Distribution and Requisition.
1. Online: This handbook is available on the Postal Service PolicyNet Web site:
2. Hard Copy: Order from the Material Distribution Center. Use touch tone order
entry (TTOE): Call 800-273-1509.
Note: You must be registered to use TTOE. To register, call 800-332-0317; select
option 1, extension 2925, and follow the prompts to leave a message. (Wait 48 hours
after registering before placing your first order.)
C. Comments. Comments and questions about the content of this document can be
submitted in writing to:
WASHINGTON DC 20260-4261
D. Effective Date. This handbook is effective June 2008.
Jeannine H. Turenne, Director
Safety and Environmental Performance Management
Human Resources
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
4 Processing and Distribution Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
June 2008
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1 Accident Prevention
1-1 Supervisor’s Responsibilities
The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to provide a safe
and healthful workplace free of recognized hazards and to follow
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
Employers’ responsibilities also include providing training, medical
examinations, and record keeping.
As a Postal Service supervisor, you are the backbone of our Safety and
Health Program. You are in a highly visible leadership position that requires
setting the standard for accident prevention. You are responsible for
implementing written programs and action plans, monitoring employees’
safety performance, and preventing operational safety errors. To properly
exercise your responsibility, you must know Postal Service safety rules and
regulations and the rights and responsibilities of the employees you
supervise. (Employee rights and responsibilities are explained in 1-4.)
You can find safety rules and regulations in this handbook and in:
Handbook EL-814, Postal Employee’s Guide To Safety.
Chapter 8 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM).
Handbook EL-803, Maintenance Employee’s Guide To Safety.
Publications listed in appendix D.
1-2 Postal Service Safety Philosophy
The Postal Service’s position is that:
Any injury can be prevented. This goal is realistic, not just theoretical.
Supervisors or managers having primary responsibility for the well-
being of employees must fully accept this principle.
Management, including all levels through the initial-level supervisor, is
responsible and accountable for the prevention of accidents and
control of resultant losses. Just as the line organization is responsible
for attaining production levels, ensuring quality of performance,
maintaining good employee relations, and operating within cost and
budget guidelines, supervisors and managers must likewise accept
their share of responsibility for the safety and health of employees.
It is possible to safeguard all operating exposures that can result in
accidents and injuries, but it is better to eliminate the sources of
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
danger. However, where this is not practical, management must use
protective measures, such as machine guards, safety devices, and
personal protective equipment, and take administrative actions.
All employees must be trained in proper work procedures and must be
educated to work safely and to understand that they are responsible
for doing so. Management is responsible for the adequate safety
training and education of employees. However, all employees must be
convinced that they are responsible for working safely, and that in
doing so, they benefit not only their organization but also themselves.
From the standpoint of both efficiency and economy, preventing
personal injuries on and off the job is good business practice. Injuries
cost money, reduce efficiency, and cause human suffering.
1-3 Good Safety Supervision
Carefully review Exhibit 1-3, Seven Keys to Good Safety Supervision, to
reduce or eliminate accidents in your work unit.
Accident Prevention
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Exhibit 1-3
Seven Keys to Good Safety Supervision
Seven Keys to Good Safety Supervision
Key #1
Set a Good Example
The phrase “actions speak louder than words” is an excellent guide. The example you set must reflect
your sincere belief in good safety practices and alertness for hazards. Some specific suggestions are:
Observe all safety and fire protection rules. If you make exceptions to such rules for your own
convenience, regardless of the reason, you will seriously undermine the safety effort in your area.
Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) where required; this is a good way to “sell” wearing PPE
and demonstrates that it’s the smart thing to do. This is true even if you are not exposed to the
same degree of hazard as your employees.
Discuss some aspect of safety with your employees every day. The discussion doesn’t need to be a
formal safety talk; it can simply be an informal mentioning of some aspect of safety. But the
discussion makes safety a part of each day’s activities and demonstrates your own interest in
Be enthusiastic about safety. The enthusiasm you display will generate enthusiasm in your
Give safety priority. Don’t ever let quality, production, or cost considerations compromise safety or
fire protection.
Key #2
Know the Operation
To be able to understand and evaluate fully the safety and fire hazards involved, you must thoroughly
understand the entire process or operation for which you are responsible.
Key #3
Be Alert to Unsafe Conditions
Make every trip through your workplace an impromptu inspection tour; identify and correct hazards that
might cause injuries.
Key #4
Inspect Often and Intelligently
Safe working conditions can be achieved only by finding and eliminating unsafe conditions and practices.
Inspections help do this. While safety personnel and inspection committees should do some inspections,
there is no substitute for a supervisor’s first-hand look. Include some of your employees on an inspection
team to show them that they have a part in the safety effort. This gives you a chance to illustrate the
standards of performance you expect.
Key #5
Take Effective Corrective Action
To be effective, you must translate your observations into effective corrective action. Make it clear that
correction of an unsafe practice is not a reprimand, but a step toward improved safety performance. To be
effective, you must correct unsafe practices promptly. Act while details of the incident are fresh in
everyone’s mind and you will give the impression that you are prompt and decisive.
Key #6
Maintain Discipline
When safety performance falls below reasonable levels and there are no extenuating circumstances, you
may need to take disciplinary action. Make disciplinary action consistent and fair to keep employee
resentment at a minimum. Remember that the objective of disciplinary action is to improve performance.
When workers ignore the rules, accidents occur. As a supervisor, you have no choice but to get tough and
stay that way.
Key #7
Know Your Team Members
The ability of employees to do a specific job depends on their education, training, experience, and general
capabilities. To achieve the safest, most efficient performance, you must know each individual employee’s
characteristics when you plan job assignments, training programs, and performance reviews.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
1-4 Employee Rights and Responsibilities
Employees have the right to:
Become actively involved in the Postal Service Safety and Health
Program and be provided a safe and healthful work environment.
Report unsafe and unhealthy working conditions using Postal Service
(PS) Form 1767, Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition, or Practice.
Consult with management through appropriate employee
representatives on safety and health matters, such as program
effectiveness and participation in inspection activities where
Participate in the Safety and Health Program without fear of restraint,
interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.
OSHA requires workers to comply with all safety and health standards that
apply to their actions on the job. Therefore, employees must:
Read OSHA Posters, Job Safety and Health Protection: 3165 (in
English), 3167 (in Spanish), or 2203. (Posters 3165 and 3167 supersede
Poster 2203, which will eventually be discontinued.)
Follow the employer’s safety and health rules and wear or use all
required gear and equipment.
Follow safe work practices for their job as directed by their employer.
Report hazardous conditions to a supervisor or safety committee.
Report hazardous conditions to OSHA if the employer does not fix
Cooperate with OSHA inspectors.
1-5 Your Responsibility When Employees Report
Be aware of information from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (see
Exhibit 1-5a) concerning employee rights and responsibilities, including the
employee responsibility to report hazards.
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Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Exhibit 1-5a
Excerpt From Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations
29 CFR (part 1977)
§ 1977.12 Exercise of any right afforded by the Act.
(a) In addition to protecting employees who file complaints, institute proceedings, or testify in proceedings
under or related to the Act, section 11(c) also protects employees from discrimination because of the
exercise “of any right afforded by this Act.”...
(b)(1) On the other hand, review of the Act and examination of the legislative history discloses that, as a
general matter, there is no right afforded by the Act which would entitle employees to walk off the job
because of potential unsafe conditions at the workplace. Hazardous conditions which may be violative of
the Act will ordinarily be corrected by the employer, once brought to his attention....
(2) However, occasions might arise when an employee is confronted with a choice between not performing
assigned tasks or subjecting himself to serious injury or death arising from a hazardous condition at the
workplace. If the employee, with no reasonable alternative, refuses in good faith to expose himself to the
dangerous condition, he would be protected against subsequent discrimination. The condition causing the
employee’s apprehension of death or injury must be of such a nature that a reasonable person, under the
circumstances then confronting the employee, would conclude that there is a real danger of death or
serious injury and that there is insufficient time, due to the urgency of the situation, to eliminate the
danger.... In addition, in such circumstances, the employee, where possible, must also have sought from his
employer, and been unable, to obtain a correction of the dangerous condition.
§ 1977.22 Employee refusal to comply with safety rules.
Employees who refuse to comply with occupational safety and health standards or valid safety rules
implemented by the employer in furtherance of the Act are not exercising any rights afforded by the Act.
Disciplinary measures taken by employers solely in response to employee refusal to comply with
appropriate safety rules and regulations, will not ordinarily be regarded as discriminatory action prohibited
by section 11(c). This situation should be distinguished from refusals to work, as discussed in § 1977.12.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
When reporting hazards, your employees are encouraged to complete
PS Form 1767, Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition, or Practice (see
Exhibit 1-5b). You must ensure that a supply of PS Forms 1767 is available in
your work unit so that employees can obtain them while maintaining their
anonymity. The purpose of PS Form 1767 is to provide a channel of
communication between employees and management that ensures prompt
analysis and corrective action in response to reports of alleged hazards,
unsafe conditions, or unsafe practices.
Just as your employees have a responsibility to file reports of hazards, you
have a responsibility to promptly (within your tour of duty) investigate the
alleged hazard and respond to your employees using the blue copy of
PS Form 1767.
Resolve the hazard, unsafe condition, or practice issues if possible.
Complete a work order and attach it to the top copy of PS Form 1767. Follow
up to see that the hazard, unsafe condition, or practice has been corrected.
Notify the employee of the results.
Exhibit 1-5b
PS Form 1767
1-6 The Role of the Safety Professional
As a supervisor, you need to be in close contact with the safety professional
in your district or plant. It is very important that you understand the role of the
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June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
safety professional. In addition to performing the functions found in ELM
Chapter 8, Safety and Health, the safety professional does the following:
Provides advice and technical knowledge to all levels of management
about safety, health, and fire protection matters.
Reviews safety, health, and fire protection plans.
Recommends actions and solutions to resolve safety and health
Helps to train supervisors so they can better fulfill their safety
Helps to orient new employees by informing them of their safety
Develops, administers, and promotes safety and health programs.
Provides management with an analysis of accidents so action plans
can be developed.
Coordinates with appropriate environmental professionals on
environmental issues that affect employee health.
1-7 Safety Talk Requirements
Scheduled safety talks are intended to promote safety awareness. All line
supervisors are required to conduct safety talks at least once a week with
their employee groups, including temporary, casual, and relief personnel.
It is important to make the topics of safety talks relevant to your work
situation and interesting to your employees. Involve them in developing
topics and provide an opportunity for discussion and demonstration when
applicable. Publication 129, Safety Talks, is an excellent resource.
Your talks can be an effective method of maintaining interest in safety.
Review these keys to making a good safety talk:
Prepare your talk carefully.
Try to confine each talk to one major subject; avoid rambling.
Choose a general or specific safety policy or subject, but keep the talk
interesting and targeted.
Be specific whenever possible. For example, if you discuss
housekeeping, highlight the danger of loose objects on the floor.
Use visual aids or demonstrations to make your talk more interesting.
You must keep a record of all safety talks on file for 3 years, including the
The date, time, and unit where the safety talk was given.
The name of the person giving the talk.
The subject of the talk.
The names of employees attending the safety talk. An annotated unit
roster or other automated attendance document is acceptable.
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2 Accident Investigation
This chapter applies to accidents that occur both at the work site and away
from the work site (on and off premises).
2-1 Purpose of an Accident Investigation
The primary purpose of an accident investigation is to identify the root cause
or causes of the accident and to implement corrective actions to prevent
similar accidents from occurring in the future. An accident investigation is a
fact-finding process that involves identifying and documenting all causal
The key to successful accident investigation is timeliness. Immediately
conduct an on-site investigation and document the circumstances of every
accident in your work area. When statements from witnesses are necessary,
it is critical that you gather them as soon as possible after the accident. You
must keep the witnesses separated until you can secure their respective
statements. Guidance is available from your safety professional, injury
compensation staff, and district accident investigator. Consult with these
individuals and refer to this chapter any time you have concerns regarding
accident investigations.
If a supervisor is not readily available when an accident takes place,
employees must report the accident to the designated person-in-charge.
2-2 Investigating an Accident
The preparation and submission of accurate accident reports is critical to the
accident prevention process. You must:
Secure the accident scene and arrange medical care. If possible,
you should immediately secure the accident site and, if necessary,
arrange medical care for any injured parties. If the site is controlled by
the police, identify yourself as a Postal Service supervisor, inquire
about injuries to employees or customers, and then determine the
security of the mail. Remember, your first priority is to ensure that the
injured parties receive prompt medical care.
Investigate the accident scene thoroughly. Interview the employees
and witnesses until you are satisfied that you have a complete
assessment of what happened.
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Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Complete the required documentation. Forms used in an accident
investigation are indicated below in (1) through (5).
PS Form 1769, Accident Report, is the official Postal Service
form that provides a detailed account of the accident in narrative
and coded formats. PS Form 1769 is required for all accidents
and injuries regardless of the severity of injury or the amount of
property damage.
Note: PS Form 1769 must be completed whenever an
employee sustains an injury, whether or not a CA form is
Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) Form
CA-1, Federal Employee’s Notice of Traumatic Injury and
Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation, is completed by
the employee and the supervisor when an employee reports a
job-related injury. The form is required to support any claim made
by the employee regarding injury compensation.
The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) requires the
injured employee to provide written notice of a traumatic injury
within 30 calendar days of the injury to be entitled to a
continuation of pay (COP). Employee failure to give notice of
injury within this 30-day period may result in a loss of entitlement
to COP. Also, employee failure to give notice within a 3-year
period may result in the loss of compensation rights. Injured
employees must use an OWCP Form CA-1 to file a traumatic
injury claim.
Note: PS Form 1769 must be completed whenever an
employee submits an OWCP Form CA-1.
OWCP Form CA-2, Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim
for Compensation, is used by any employee who believes he or
she has developed an occupational disease or illness. The
employee must give written notice to the official supervisor when
he or she first becomes aware that the condition was causally
related to employment. If, for any reason, it is impractical to give
notice to the employee’s official supervisor, notice of the disease
or illness may be given to any Postal Service official or to the
Note: PS Form 1769 must be completed whenever an
employee submits an OWCP Form CA-2.
PS Form 1700, Accident Investigation Worksheet, is
completed by a supervisor when investigating motor vehicle and
customer accidents.
Note: PS Form 1769 must be completed for all customer
and motor vehicle accidents.
SF 91, Motor Vehicle Accident Report, must be completed by
all Postal Service drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident.
The form is the driver’s statement of the circumstances of the
Accident Investigation
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Sections 245.3 and 261.23 in Handbook PO-701, Fleet Management, contain
background information on Standard Form (SF) 91, Motor Vehicle Accident
Report, and PS Form 1700, Accident Investigation Worksheet.
2-3 Preparing the Accident Report
Completing PS Form 1769, Accident Report
The employee’s immediate supervisor must complete PS Form 1769,
Accident Report, within 24 hours of notification of an accident. First
complete the written narrative on the right side, then complete the left side
by using numerical codes.
As the supervisor filling out the form, you must use the code that most
closely describes the circumstances of the accident. If you can’t find the
appropriate code, you must include a narrative description of the
In your narrative statement, describe as clearly as possible the events that
occurred during the accident sequence. Be as detailed as possible, keeping
in mind that your narrative needs to provide upper management and safety
personnel a clear understanding of the circumstances of the accident.
If Postal Service equipment was involved or caused the accident, identify the
type, model, serial number, vehicle number, and other identifying information
for the equipment.
Submitting the Accident Report
You must submit PS Form 1769 to the servicing safety office within
3 calendar days of the accident. Follow submission procedures explained in
the General Instructions of PS Form1769.
Note: The supervisor at the level directly above you must review and
sign PS Form1769 to vouch for its accuracy. If the form is missing data
or is not properly completed, the approving supervisor will return it to
you for correction before signing it.
Examples of Corrective Measures
Indicate on the right side of PS Form 1769 what actions you plan to take to
prevent a similar accident. You may want to begin by reviewing the
employee’s accident history. The safety professional can provide a report on
the employee’s accident history during the past 5 years. Study the causes of
the accident carefully and decide what corrective measures are needed.
Some examples of corrective measures are to:
Guard exposed moving parts of machinery.
Eliminate hazardous exposures.
Develop new work procedures.
Advise employees to use personal protective equipment.
Train employees or provide refresher training.
Enforce safety and health rules.
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Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Replace defective or malfunctioning equipment.
Demonstrate good personal safety practices to reinforce employee
Take appropriate corrective action for violations of safe work practices.
Possible Causative Factors
An accident is seldom caused by one factor; usually several are involved. As
the supervisor, you must ensure that you have explored every circumstance
surrounding the accident. The items listed in a through n may individually or
in combination contribute to the occurrence of an accident:
Poor housekeeping.
Improper use of tools, equipment, or facilities.
Lack of proper work procedures.
Unsafe or defective equipment or facilities.
Failure to follow prescribed procedures, safety standards, or safe work
Lack of job training.
Lack of hazard awareness.
Lack of proper tools, equipment, or facilities.
Lack of safety devices, such as guards.
Lack of personal protective equipment.
Actions that exceed prescribed limits, loads, speed, strength, or other
m. Fatigue or reduced alertness.
Poor work attitude or misconduct that results in unsafe practices.
Be alert to these potential factors daily as you interact with employees.
Because it is easy to become complacent with the day-to-day activities of
the unit, review the items listed in a through n periodically to remember the
unsafe situations that may need your attention. Enforce safety rules
consistently. You cannot allow an employee to perform unsafe acts
repeatedly and then elect to take corrective action only when the unsafe
behavior causes an accident.
Accident Investigation Follow-Up
Once you have completed the accident investigation and submitted all
required forms, follow up with the corrective actions indicated on PS Form
1769. The following are examples of possible corrective actions:
Complete PS Form 4584, Observation of Driving Practices, for any
employee involved in a motor vehicle accident (regardless of fault). You
must do this within a few days following the accident. Spend at least
15 to 30 minutes observing the driver. If the driver consistently
demonstrates safe driving practices, congratulate him or her and
encourage future safe driving habits. If the driver demonstrates any
unsafe driving practices, discuss these practices with the driver to
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Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
ensure that he or she understands the correct driving method.
Complete PS Form 4584 again if the driver’s driving habits do not
Complete PS Form 1783, On-the-Job Safety Review/Analysis,
regarding the work activity the employee was engaged in at the time of
the accident. Involve the employee in demonstrating the safe method
of performing the task and identifying any hazards inherent in the task.
Observe the employee’s work practices each day for the next 2 weeks.
Positively reinforce the good things you observe and immediately
explain and correct any deficiencies.
2-4 Requirements for Reporting Fatalities and Serious
Reporting Serious Accidents
All serious accidents must be reported through management channels.
Immediately notify the safety professional and your next level manager of a
serious or potentially serious accident. The term serious accident includes:
Any occupational accident that is fatal to one or more employees.
Any occupational accident that results in the in-patient hospitalization
of one or more employees.
Any occupational illness or disease that results in the death of an
Any Postal Service-related accident involving non-Postal Service
persons that results in a fatality or the in-patient hospitalization of one
or more persons.
Occupational accidents that are not immediately reportable but that
result in the death of an employee or non-Postal Service person within
6 months of the date of the accident.
Any occupational injury to an employee or non-Postal Service person
involving mutilation, amputation (including major cartilaginous body
parts such as ears or nose) or loss of vision in one or both eyes.
Any occupational accident involving property damage (combined
Postal Service and non-Postal Service) estimated to exceed $100,000.
Any occupational accident of one or more employees that results in in-
patient hospitalization due to chemical exposure. (In-patient
hospitalization does not refer to observation, emergency room use, or
other forms of out-patient care.)
ELM subchapter 820 provides the format you use to prepare a preliminary
serious accident report.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Reporting to the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration: Special Circumstances
As a supervisor, you are required to help employees prepare Postal Service
accident- and injury-related documents. In addition to Postal Service
reporting requirements, be aware of OSHA reporting requirements. The
supervisor must notify OSHA within 8 hours of the death of an employee
from a work-related industrial or motor vehicle accident and of the in-patient
hospitalization of three or more employees. You must coordinate and deliver
your notification to OSHA through normal management channels. These
channels usually include safety or human resources personnel in
consultation with upper management.
The supervisor must provide the following information to the safety or human
resources professional for delivery to OSHA:
Facility name and address.
Location of accident.
Date and time of accident.
Number of fatalities and/or employees hospitalized.
Postal Service contact person’s name and telephone number.
Brief description of the accident.
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
3 Delivery Operations
3-1 Animal Interference
You, the supervisor, must caution carriers to use extra care in making
deliveries when dogs and other animals are loose on the route. Instruct
carriers never to pet or feed a dog. Advise carriers that one method for
preventing attacks is to reassure a dog in a friendly manner — from a
A carrier’s satchel and dog repellent are important tools for defending
against attempted attacks by dogs or other animals. Instruct carriers how to
use these tools and encourage them to keep the tools handy when dogs or
other animals are loose on the route. (Consult Handbook EL-814, Postal
Emloyee’s Guide to Safety, for additional information.)
Instruct your employees how to use dog repellent as follows:
Use only when an attack is imminent.
Spray into the dog’s eyes.
Do not allow the repellent to come in contact with human skin or eyes.
Keep dog repellent clipped to yourself or on your satchel — never
inside a vehicle — because summer heat may cause the container to
Remember: repellent may not work on all dogs.
When a carrier is threatened or attacked by an animal, he or she must
immediately report the incident to you. You are responsible for taking
immediate corrective action to prevent recurring situations, including
suspending mail delivery if warranted.
Where animal attacks have occurred or unrestrained dogs are known to be
present, the person casing the mail must place PS Form 1778, Dog Warning
Card, in each carrier’s case. Each day, the person casing the mail must warn
the carrier by placing the card in a letter case separation at least one delivery
stop ahead of where the dog is known to pose a problem. At a minimum, the
card must contain the following: (a) address of attack; (b) resident’s name;
and (c) description of the animal.
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These cards are a valuable aid to prevent dog attacks and provide protection
to carriers who are not familiar with a route or who are serving a new
customer. PS Form 1778 provides these instructions for the postmaster: “If
customer moves, immediately forward this form under separate cover to the
receiving office postmaster in order to alert carrier of a new dog on route.”
Regularly notify carriers that they are not required to make a delivery if there
are insect threats (such as hives or nests) that endanger the carrier. Tell
carriers to report to you immediately any nondelivery of mail because of
animal interference.
Required Action for Animal Bites
Make sure that anyone you supervise seeks medical treatment immediately
for any animal bite. Notify animal control authorities of any animal bite so that
the animal may be observed for symptoms of rabies. If the animal’s owner is
located, he or she must provide proof of the animal’s rabies vaccination.
3-2 Defective Equipment and Machinery
Remove defective equipment from service immediately. Use PS Form 4707,
Out of Order, to report a defective piece of equipment. Tag the equipment
with PS Form 4707, take it to be repaired, or warehouse it in an area
designated for defective equipment. Do not remove tags until repairs are
completed. Do not allow anyone to place a defective piece of equipment
back into service until appropriate repairs are completed.
If an employee wants to remove from service a piece of automated or
mechanized machinery or equipment, he or she must notify the immediate
supervisor about the defects before tagging. In certain situations, the
supervisor may wish to isolate a particular part of the machine until the
machine has been tagged. Pursuant to local Postal Service policy, the
employee may have to submit PS Form 1767, Report of Hazard, Unsafe
Condition, or Practice, when the out-of-order tag is issued.
Drivers use PS Form 4565, Vehicle Repair Tag, to report vehicles that need
repair. You must ensure that all carriers perform a daily vehicle inspection
before driving a Postal Service-owned or -leased vehicle, as indicated in
Notice 76, Expanded Vehicle Check. Carriers must complete PS Form 4565
and submit it to you if they find a defect in the vehicle during the inspection.
Do not allow carriers to drive motor vehicles with defects or safety
3-3 General Office and Delivery Safety Rules
Automated or Powered Equipment
Instruct your employees to follow these rules when using automated or
powered equipment:
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Observe all warning signs and notices that have been installed for
employee protection.
Comply with all safety and health regulations, procedures, and
practices, including the use of approved personal protective
equipment (PPE).
Fingering Mail
Instruct carriers not to finger mail when driving, walking up or down steps or
curbs, crossing streets, or any time fingering mail would create a hazard to
the carrier or to the public. (See Exhibit 3-3.2.)
It is equally important to caution employees that sorting or reading
addresses while a vehicle is in motion is prohibited and cannot be allowed
under any circumstances.
The carrier must stop the vehicle properly and put transmission in park
before attempting to put the mail in order.
Exhibit 3-3.2
Fingering Mail
All carriers with a uniform allowance must have footwear that complies with
SR/USA standards (slip-resistant, made in the USA with a tag designated
SR/USA). Periodically check to ensure that carriers are wearing approved
footwear. (See 8-8 for additional information.)
Hazardous Conditions
Tell carriers to make every effort to deliver the mail in a safe manner. Also tell
carriers that they must use good judgment and not risk personal injury as a
result of exposure to icy steps, broken or rotten steps or porches, protruding
nails or sharp edges on mailboxes, or other hazardous conditions. You must
instruct carriers to report hazardous conditions. You must take appropriate
action to correct the hazard and/or to ensure that information about the
hazard is placed on a PS Form 1766, Hazard Warning Card.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Letter and Flat Cases
Instruct employees in the following procedures regarding safety and
maintenance of letter and flat cases:
Do not store anything (including personal items such as radios or
bottles) on top of cases.
Anchor letter and flat cases for stability; where anchoring is impractical,
connect them to each other.
Bolt wing cases and half-wing cases securely to letter cases.
Level cases, if necessary.
Keep letter cases and tables free of sharp edges.
Do not tie chairs to letter cases.
Fans may be installed on case tops if they are securely bolted, properly
wired, and guarded.
Street Delivery and Collection Boxes
Supervisors must conduct annual safety inspections on all parcel lockers,
neighborhood delivery and collection box units (NDCBUs), collection boxes,
and relay boxes. Each must be checked for corrosion, absence of bolts in
any mounts, cracks, or other deficiencies. Remove any defective unit from
service and have it repaired immediately. Keep a log detailing the dates and
results of the inspections.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
You must continuously remind carriers to be aware of and to report slip, trip,
and fall hazards on their routes (see 8-20). Such hazards include:
Porches or steps painted with glossy paint or otherwise having a
glossy surface (although safe in dry weather, glossy surfaces present
an unexpected hazard when wet due to rain, snow, ice, or use of a
lawn sprinkler).
Sidewalks that are broken, uneven, finished with an extremely smooth
surface, or covered with moss or other chronic plant growth.
Sidewalks, porches, or yards with debris, toys, or other tripping
Sidewalks not shoveled soon after a snowstorm or shoveled with an
inadequate path.
Cold weather hazards such as ice melting from eaves and refreezing
on a walk or porch, and snow- or ice-covered porches and steps.
Tripping hazards covered with snow.
Unsafe Delivery Points
Encourage carriers to report defective or hazardous mailboxes. Alert carriers
to hazards such as items on ledges, balconies, or roofs that are not
adequately restricted from falling. Also, alert them to hanging items that may
be in the line of travel. Make sure that carriers note any regularly occurring
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hazardous condition using PS Form 1766, Hazard Warning Card, in the letter
case, and an annotation in the route book.
3-4 Rural Delivery Operations
Unless a Postal Service-owned or -leased vehicle is assigned to the route,
the rural carrier is responsible for furnishing all vehicle equipment necessary
for safe and prompt handling of the mail.
Open Approaches to Boxes and Passable Roads
Delivery supervisors must inform rural carriers of the importance of using the
following forms to keep approaches to boxes open and roads passable:
PS Form 4056, Your Mail Box Needs Attention.
Notice 38, Approaches to Curbside Mailboxes.
PS Form 4024, Request to Repair Roads.
Placement of Rural Mail Receptacles
Customers are required to remove all obstructions (including snow) that
hinder or prevent delivery. Use Notice 38 and PS Form 4056 to notify
customers to correct these deficiencies. Use PS Form 4056 to request
mailbox repair.
In all cases, customers must place rural boxes (mail receptacles) on the right-
hand side of the road in the direction of travel, so the carrier may serve them
safely, conveniently, and without leaving the vehicle.
Safe Driving Practices
Supervisors must instruct rural carriers in the following safe driving practices:
After pulling off the road to serve a mailbox, always look before pulling
back into traffic.
Use extreme caution when traveling narrow or winding country roads
where excessive growth and brush obstruct the view of oncoming
traffic and permit only limited visibility at intersections.
Report excessive growth and brush obstructions as well as roads in
need of repair to the proper authorities, using PS Form 4024, Request
to Repair Roads.
Stay on the right side of an unmarked road, unless the road is
designated as one way.
Sit on the left side of left-hand drive vehicles so that both hands can be
used to steer and foot controls are accessible.
Do not place mail on the dashboard so that it obscures vision or
interferes with the handling of the vehicle.
Secure mail containers so that no movement can occur that would
interfere with operation of the vehicle.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Use extreme care and good judgment in any kind of traffic encounter
with farm or heavy-duty equipment, especially when attempting to
pass. You do not have the right of way because you are transporting
3-5 Motor Vehicle Safety
Driving Responsibilities
Drivers are responsible for the safe operation of any vehicle they drive during
the performance of their duties. Employees driving motor vehicles (whether
Postal Service-owned, -leased, or -rented) must carry a valid state license (or
commercial driver’s license) at all times.
Postal Service drivers are required to obey state and local vehicle laws. While
operating motor vehicles, Postal Service drivers must be courteous and
considerate of other drivers and pedestrians. The supervisor must enforce
traffic-control patterns and traffic regulations on Postal Service premises,
especially in the mail-loading dock areas and at entrances or exits.
Training Requirements
You, the supervisor, are responsible for ensuring that drivers have the
required initial driver’s training. You are also responsible for scheduling any
additional refresher driver’s training for employees with deficient driving
Ability to Operate Motor Vehicles
Employees must be physically and mentally fit to operate a vehicle, so
monitor your drivers to ensure that they are. If you have any doubt about their
physical or mental ability to drive, you must temporarily suspend their driving
privileges and contact medical or safety personnel for additional guidance.
Motor Vehicle Safety Rules
You must ensure that motor vehicle operators follow all motor vehicle safety
rules, including those listed in a through y:
Comply with Notice 76, Expanded Vehicle Safety Check, which
requires daily vehicle safety checks.
Make certain that every Postal Service vehicle has an Item 087-H,
Accident Report Kit.
Use PS Form 4565, Vehicle Repair Tag, to report all mechanical
defects, failures, and vehicle damage.
Comply with Handbook PO-701, Fleet Management, 243.1, which
requires vehicles one ton or larger and regularly scheduled for intercity
and airport runs to have a fire extinguisher and emergency warning
device kit. The extinguisher and warning device must also be carried
on wreckers, vehicle maintenance facility service vehicles, and plant
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Wear seat belts (see 3-5.8).
Carry only authorized passengers in Postal Service vehicles.
Shut off the engine before fueling a vehicle.
Do not smoke when fueling a vehicle.
Remember that fingering or holding mail in the hand or hands while
driving is prohibited.
Move a vehicle only when absolutely certain that it is safe to do so,
especially if children may be nearby. If not absolutely certain, you must
dismount, circle the vehicle, and check underneath it to make sure it is
safe to move the vehicle.
Yield the right of way and make any other concessions to avoid an
Always maintain a safe stopping distance, being especially careful
during adverse weather.
m. When following another vehicle in clear weather, judge the necessary
distance between vehicles by using the 4-second rule, as follows:
(1) identify a fixed object; (2) observe the vehicle in front of you passing
a fixed object; (3) then count 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004. Your vehicle
should not pass the same fixed object location before 1004. Increase
the distance when roads are wet or slippery and when visibility is
Use turn signals before turning, changing lanes, or pulling to or away
from the curb or shoulder of the road.
Enter all unregulated or unprotected intersections slowly and
Before entering any intersection, slow down and look left, then right,
and then left again.
Never wear headphones or any other device that can diminish hearing
while operating a motor vehicle.
Always drive at a safe speed. Never exceed the speed limit. Keep in
mind that under certain conditions the posted speed limit may not be
the safe one.
Obey all highway railroad crossing warnings, such as speed limits,
lights, and gates or barriers.
Park only in designated or authorized parking spaces.
Follow one-way directional signs in traffic lanes.
Observe traffic signals when entering and leaving Postal Service
Do not throw litter from the vehicle. Use approved receptacles to
deposit litter.
Obey all local, state, and federal traffic laws.
Do not use a cell phone while driving. Pull off the road to a safe location
before using the phone.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Fueling Vehicles
Smoking is not permitted within 25 feet of gasoline pumps or gasoline
storage tanks. Post these areas with “No Smoking” signs in plain view and
instruct all personnel working or entering such areas to observe this
requirement. Vehicle engines must be shut off during fueling operations. You
and the operators must be trained on alternative fueling procedures for
vehicles powered by compressed natural gas or other similar fuels.
Make sure your drivers know the location of the emergency shut-off switch
for the fuel pump on Postal Service premises and the nearest fire
Backing Vehicles
Backing accidents are preventable. Drivers must never back a vehicle until
they are sure that the way is clear. If necessary, they should get out of the
vehicle to check behind it before backing.
Parking Vehicles
When parking vehicles, drivers must place the vehicle in parking gear, set the
parking brake, turn off the engine, and remove the key. If the vehicle will be
out of their sight, they must lock it. When parking a vehicle uphill, they must
turn the front wheels away from the curb. When parking downhill, they must
turn them into the curb. Train your drivers to remember: “uphill – out,” and
“downhill – in.”
Seat Belts and Vehicle Doors
Postal Service drivers must wear seat belts when their vehicles are in motion.
When driving a long-life vehicle, they must wear the lap belt and shoulder
belt whenever their vehicles are in motion.
Exception: When shoulder belts prevent drivers from reaching to deliver to
or collect from curbside mailboxes, they may unfasten the shoulder belt, but
never the lap belt.
Postal Service drivers may carry only authorized passengers. All passengers
must remain seated and wear a lap belt and shoulder harness whenever the
vehicle is in motion.
Rural carriers must follow the policy outlined in Handbook PO-603, Rural
Carrier Duties and Responsibilities, 171.5.
When drivers are traveling to and from their routes, when they are moving
between park and relay points, and when they are entering or crossing
intersecting roadways, they must be sure that all vehicle doors are closed.
All vehicle doors must be secured when the vehicle is left unattended and
out of the driver’s immediate sight.
Exception: The Postal Service fleet includes a number of 1-ton, 2-ton, and
2.5-ton step-van-style vehicles that have left-hand-drive cab compartments
with sliding doors and closed cargo areas. When driving these vehicles,
drivers must keep the rear door closed and close the left door when the
vehicle is in motion. They may leave the right door open if the cargo partition
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June 2008
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is closed and there are no passengers, mail, or loose equipment in the cab
area. When drivers operate vehicles on delivery routes and travel in intervals
of 500 feet (1/10 mile) or less at speeds no greater than 15 miles per hour
between delivery stops, they may leave the door on the driver’s side open.
(See Exhibit 3-5.8, Seat Belts and Vehicle Doors.)
Exhibit 3-5.8
Seat Belts and Vehicle Doors
Safe Driver Award Program
Postal Service drivers may be eligible for the National Safety Council Safe
Driver Award. Consult your servicing safety office for information.
Observation of Driving Practices
To enforce a high standard of professional driving performance, you must
complete PS Form 4584, Observation of Driving Practices, for each driver
under your supervision twice a year and at other times deemed appropriate.
You must familiarize yourself with defensive driving techniques so that you
know what the common driving errors are, how they can be detected, and
how they can be prevented.
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Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
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4 Processing and Distribution
4-1 Automated Equipment
Automated postal equipment is used nationwide. Make your employees
aware of basic safety rules for working on, with, or around automated
equipment. (See Handbook PO-502, Container Methods, for further
information on proper use of mail equipment.)
Never let employees work on or with automated equipment unless they
receive specific training for that equipment. Training in the use of automated
equipment must be documented in the employees’ training records.
Enforce these basic safety rules around automated or other powered
Never allow untrained personnel to work on or with automated or other
powered equipment.
Employees must observe and follow all warning signs and notices that
have been installed on equipment for their protection.
Employees must comply with all safety and health regulations,
procedures, and practices, including the use of approved personal
protective equipment (PPE).
Warn employees not to wear loose clothing (including ties and
scarves), long or unconfined hair, or dangling jewelry around
Never allow employees to override or disable safety interlocks or
switches. When troubleshooting, authorized maintenance employees
may perform this task.
Make sure that employees check for defects in equipment before
Determine that all safety devices and emergency stops are functioning
as designed.
Make sure that your employees always follow proper start-up
Review glove safety in 4-5.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
4-2 Mechanized Hamper Dumpers and Lifts
Consider using mechanized hamper dumpers, container tilters, lifts, and
other material-handling equipment to reduce the potential for injury in
manual mail processing operations. (See Handbook PO-502, Container
Methods, for further information on proper use of hampers and other mail
containers and equipment.)
4-3 Dock Plates
Make sure that your employees follow the guidelines and procedures in a
through g when using dock plates:
Use portable and powered dock plates (or bridge plates) for loading
and unloading wheeled equipment from vehicles. Make sure that dock
plates are strong enough to carry the loads required and that the
carrying capacity is plainly marked on the dock plate (see 29 CFR
1910.30 (a)(1)).
When portable dock plates are not in use, store and anchor them in an
upright position.
When dock plates are in use, secure them in position, either by
anchoring them or equipping them with devices to keep them from
slipping or sliding.
To be handled safely, dock plates must be equipped with handholds,
handles, or other materials that aid in moving or repositioning them
(see 29 CFR 1910.30 (a)(4)).
Where possible, make sure dock plates are equipped with fork loops or
lugs to allow handling by fork trucks.
Make sure dock plates have a high-friction surface to prevent
employees or trucks from slipping on them.
Do not use plywood, scrap metal, or handmade materials as dock
4-4 Dock or Scissor Lifts
Unless employees are properly trained, do not allow them to use powered
lifts. Instruct employees to:
Check control cords frequently for broken insulation or frayed wiring.
Use safety chains to prevent equipment from rolling off the open end of
the lift.
Allow only trained personnel to service a dock or scissors lift.
Remove or disable the lift’s power source during non-business hours
to prevent unauthorized use.
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4-5 Safety Principles for Wearing Gloves
The appropriate use of gloves provides hand protection in many situations,
but the improper use of gloves contributes to accidents and injuries. (See
Management Instruction (MI) EL-810-2001-1, Personal Protective Equipment
and Respiratory Protection Programs, for more detailed information.)
Make sure that employees are aware of these safety principles for wearing
Use gloves for materials-handling activities that do not involve potential
contact with powered machine parts.
Wear gloves appropriate for the hazard if there is a possibility of hand
injury, such as when handling abrasive, splintered, sharp-edged,
corrosive, or contaminated objects.
Where risk of injury is increased because of machinery, wearing gloves
is prohibited. Do not wear gloves when they can get caught in powered
machinery. Examples include the following: (1) feeder, induction,
stacker, and transport conveyor paths of mail processing machines; (2)
conveyors with pinch and/or nip points; and (3) drills, chain drives, and
rotating shafts with catch points.
Because some people are allergic to latex, use latex gloves only in
situations where their physical or chemical properties are required for
protection against specific hazards.
Never use gauntlet-type gloves.
4-6 Yard and Dock Operations
Ensure safe operations in the yard or dock areas. (See 29 CFR 1910.178(k)(3)
for additional information.) The following areas need special attention:
Make sure all drivers — Postal Service and contract — comply with
posted yard speed limits. This includes drivers of private vehicles and
yard hustlers.
Make sure any parked trailer or vehicle has the wheels chocked or that
dock locks are in use before any powered industrial truck enters the
vehicle or trailer. Electric pallet jacks fall under the definition of
powered industrial trucks.
Keep unauthorized personnel out of yard areas. Vehicle traffic and
limited visibility around trailers make these areas unsafe for
unauthorized personnel.
Determine whether jacks are needed to support a trailer and to prevent
upending during loading or unloading when the trailer is not coupled to
a tractor.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
4-7 Powered Industrial Trucks
Make sure that operators are trained and authorized to operate powered
industrial trucks (PITs) as described in 29 CFR 1910.178. PITs include tow
motors, fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and
other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal
combustion engines.
Investigate (and report on PS Form 1769) all PIT-related accidents and near
misses, including property damage. Fuel-powered industrial trucks are
generally prohibited indoors. Consult with your local safety professional
before using a fuel-powered PIT.
PIT operators are responsible for ensuring vehicle safety and following all
safety requirements. If you have any questions, consult the manufacturer’s
safe operating manual or your local safety professional.
Operating Powered Industrial Trucks
Never allow reckless operation of PITs. Operators must follow the safety
procedures listed in a through m when using PITs:
Before using a PIT, check the brakes, steering apparatus, horn, and
other components; report defects immediately.
Always wear the seat belts provided any time a PIT is in motion.
Do not exceed the maximum speed limit (about the speed of a fast
walk). Use only the designated vehicle traffic lanes and keep the PIT to
the right whenever possible.
Do not use the reverse control as a brake.
Passengers may ride on a PIT only if: (1) transporting passengers has
been approved; (2) securely attached seating is provided; and (3) the
seating capacity of the unit is not exceeded.
Never disengage, cover up, or bypass any audible or visual warning
Never ride with any part of your body protruding from the truck.
Always determine that there is adequate clearance before driving under
any overhead obstruction.
Always check for a clear path to the rear before backing a truck.
Stay at least three vehicle lengths behind other trucks when traveling.
Check bridge or dock plates for proper stability before driving across
Always approach tow conveyor crossings and all intersecting aisles
slowly and cautiously; sound a horn to warn pedestrians of your
m. Before dismounting, stop the truck, place the truck in neutral gear, set
the brake, turn off the engine, and remove the key.
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Lift Trucks
Make sure that lift truck operators follow the safe procedures listed in a
through g:
Lift, lower, and carry loads on a lift truck with the lifting mechanism in a
vertical position or tilted back — never forward.
Face in the direction the truck is moving and be careful of rear-end
swing when turning corners.
When approaching or leaving a building where the ramp incline is
greater than 10 degrees, turn the lift truck so the load is on the upgrade
side and cannot slip off the forks.
Keep forks on a moving lift truck low (just high enough to clear any
floor obstructions and low enough to clear overhead obstructions).
Under normal conditions, 3 to 6 inches above floor level is sufficient.
Do not raise or lower forks while the forklift is in motion. When a lift
truck is parked, fully lower the forks, place controls in neutral, shut off
power, set the brake, and remove the key.
Before entering a truck or trailer with a forklift, inspect the floor for
damage or decay that might cause the lift to break through the floor.
Make sure the truck or trailer is properly chocked or that the dock locks
are engaged.
See 4-6 for additional information about yard and dock operations.
Warning Devices and Personal Protective
Equipment for Powered Industrial Trucks
Equip all PITs with a horn and a flashing warning beacon that is in working
order. Do not allow industrial lift trucks to be operated with the overhead
guard or load backrest removed. PIT drivers must wear personal protective
equipment (PPE) as specified by the local PPE assessment. PIT drivers must
wear hard hats when working in designated hard hat areas.
Towing Wheeled Equipment
Make sure that operators towing wheeled equipment follow the safe
procedures listed in a through c.
Use only approved tow bars or coupling devices while towing wheeled
equipment. Operators are prohibited from using their hands to hold
equipment while it is being towed.
Tow no more than three platform trucks, hampers, or containers
(whether loaded or empty) at one time. Container types include the
general purpose mail container (GPMC), the Eastern Region mail
container (ERMC), and the bulk mail center over-the-road container
Attach no more than five containers to a driverless tractor unit.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Towing Wheeled Equipment in 12-Foot Aisle
This section applies only to the Logistics and Distribution Centers (L&DCs)
and Priority Mail Processing Centers (PMPCs) at the following locations:
A maximum of seven GPMCs and/or ERMCs may be towed at any given
time, provided that the criteria in a through h are met:
All aisles are clearly marked.
The aisle width is a minimum of 12 feet to allow two-way traffic to pass;
any aisle less than 12 feet wide requires one-way traffic or no passing
of container trains.
All 90-degree intersections are chamfered by 4 feet at a minimum (see
Exhibit 4-7.6a
Chamfered Intersection
All L&DC and PMPC sites are required to purchase and install
electronic speed control (ESC) programmers on all existing PIT
vehicles before they allow towing of more than three mail containers at
a time within the facility. Adjust the ESC setting to approximately
80 percent, not to exceed 5 mph with the Powered Industrial
Vehicle (PIV).
All newly purchased PIVs must have the ESC devices installed by the
manufacturer according to the specifications mentioned in d above.
When towing more than three GPMC and/or ERMC containers at one
time, the PIT operator must place a folding tow bar (shown in
Exhibit 4-7.6b) between the third and fourth container.
Jacksonville, Florida
Northern New Jersey
Miami, Florida
Bethpage, New York
Orlando, Florida
Rochester, New York
Springfield, Massachusetts
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nashua, New Hampshire
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Processing and Distribution Operations
June 2008
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Exhibit 4-7.6b
Folding Tow Bar
When towing a train of seven containers at one time, the PIT operator
must use two folding tow bars. One is placed between the third and
fourth container and the other is placed between the fifth and sixth
container (in a 3-2-2 pattern).
When towing containers, the PIT operator must use the brake levers to
prevent jackknifing or loss of containers in the train.
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Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
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5 Facility Maintenance Operations
5-1 Compressed Air
Using compressed air to clean debris or clothes can be hazardous.
Compressed air is extremely forceful. The sound and pressure can:
Dislodge particles that may enter eyes or abrade skin.
Damage hearing
On rare occasions, enter the blood stream through a break in the skin
or through a body opening and cause an embolism.
Make sure that your employees use a vacuum cleaner instead of
compressed air. If using a vacuum cleaner is not feasible, instruct your
employees to:
Wear eye protection that meets American National Standards Institute
(ANSI) standards.
Take precautions to ensure the safety of employees working nearby.
Use air compressed at less than 30 pounds per square inch (psi) for
cleaning machinery or parts.
Use a hose equipped with a nozzle that deadheads at less than 30 psi
(in case the outlet is obstructed).
5-2 Electrical Equipment
All electrical installations, modifications, and the like must comply with local
codes, the National Electric Code, and general industry standard in 29 CFR
1910, subpart S, Electrical.
Allow only authorized, qualified employees to work on electrical circuits or
electrical devices. Make sure that your employees observe the safety
guidelines for working with electricity listed in a through e:
Never stand on a wet surface.
Never use a metal ladder on a wet or damp surface.
Turn off electrical equipment that is not in use.
Turn switches to the “off” position before plugging any machine into an
electrical outlet.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
When unplugging machines, remove the plug at the receptacle face.
Never pull on the cord.
Circuit Breakers and Fuse Boxes
Instruct your employees to make sure a circuit has the proper voltage before
they plug any machine into that circuit. Also be sure they know that they
must not block access to panel boxes. Make sure that the entrances to all
buildings, rooms, or enclosures containing exposed live parts or exposed
conductors operating at over 600 volts, nominal, are kept locked or under the
observation of a qualified person at all times.
Allow only authorized, qualified employees to have access to current-
carrying fuse or circuit boxes. Make sure that your employees observe the
safety guidelines for working with circuit breakers and fuse boxes listed in a
through e:
Mark each circuit breaker legibly to indicate its purpose.
Keep fuse and breaker box doors closed, but not locked.
Never tape or wire circuit breakers in the “on” position.
Never use makeshift replacements for a blown fuse.
Never use a fuse heavier than the capacity of the circuit.
Electrical wiring must be installed and maintained according to applicable
local codes and, at a minimum, the National Electric Code, and the general
industry standard in 29 CFR 1910, subpart S, Electrical. Make sure that your
employees observe the safety guidelines for working with electrical wiring
listed in a through b:
Use temporary wiring only if absolutely necessary, disconnect it when
it is not in use, and remove it as soon as possible.
Do not use flexible cords and cables as substitutes for the fixed wiring
of a building or other structure.
Make sure flexible cords and cables are not run through holes in walls,
ceilings, floors, doorways, windows, or similar openings.
Do not attach flexible cords and cables to building surfaces or conceal
them behind building walls, ceilings, or floors.
Cords and Extension Cords
Make sure that your employees observe the safety guidelines for working
with electrical cords and extension cords listed in a through d:
Never patch electrical cords; shorten or replace them.
Never (1) use extension cords in place of fixed wiring; (2) run extension
cords through doorways or walls; or (3) attach extension cords to walls
or ceilings.
Always keep extension cords off the floor. If it is absolutely necessary
to put an extension cord on the floor, use temporary floor covers to
prevent tripping hazards or damage to the cords. The floor covers must
Facility Maintenance Operations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
be listed, labeled, or certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or
approved by a nationally recognized testing institution.
Always remove frayed or loose extension cords from service and
replace them.
Electrical machinery must be properly grounded as follows:
As a general rule, portable electrical office appliances and business
equipment (such as typewriters and adding machines operating at less
than 150-volt potential) do not have to be grounded.
Portable electric tools must be grounded by a three-wire conductor
unless they are double insulated and approved by a nationally
recognized testing institution or listed, labeled, or certified by UL.
Do not substitute pigtail grounding connections (whether on cords or
adapters) for a three-pole attachment plug; pigtail grounding
connections are inadequate for proper grounding.
Instruct authorized and affected employees on the safety significance and
procedures of the lockout program. Effective hazardous energy control
procedures protect employees from unexpected energization, start-up, or
release of stored energy by equipment they are servicing, such as electric,
steam, air pneumatic, hydraulic, or gas-powered equipment or electrical
The senior maintenance official (SMO) at each facility must ensure
compliance with the current Maintenance Management Order (MMO) on
equipment lockout procedures. See also:
29 CFR 1910.147, The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout);
MMO 027-95, Automation, Mechanization, and Building Machinery and
Equipment Lockout Procedures; and
Handbook EL-803, Maintenance Employee’s Guide to Safety.
5-3 Machine Guards
You must ensure that guards are in place on all machines to protect the
operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards. Hazards
may include exposures created by the point of operation (the point on the
machine where work is actually being performed), in-going nip points, flying
chips, sparks, and rotating parts. After making repairs to machines,
employees must replace all guards that have been removed or are missing
before the machine is returned to operation. Whenever possible, they must
securely anchor or fasten machines to prevent walking, moving, or falling.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Abrasive Wheel Machinery
Grinders and other abrasive wheel machinery must have a guard that covers
the sides, spindle end, nut, and flange projections. Where the operator
stands in front of the abrasive wheel opening, provide tongue guards and
adjust them to be no more than 1/4 inch from the wheel.
Work rests must be used to support the work. Adjust work rests so they are
no more than 1/8 inch away from the wheel to prevent the work from being
jammed between the wheel and the rest. Do not make adjustments while the
wheel is in motion.
5-4 Welding Operations
Make sure that cutting and welding equipment is handled and used safely in
your facility. You must also determine the combustible materials and
hazardous areas present or likely to be present in the work location.
Make sure that the cutters or welders are suitably trained in the safe
operation of their equipment. Have your employees get authorization from a
designated management representative for a cutting or welding operation.
Make sure that the cutter or welder has your assurance that conditions are
safe before proceeding. Also make sure that fire protection and fire
extinguishing equipment are properly located at the site.
See that only approved apparatus (such as torches, regulators, or pressure-
reducing valves, acetylene generators, and manifolds) are used. Make sure
that each regulator is equipped with a flashback arrestor before it is used.
See 29 CFR 1910.252 for additional information.
Approval and Marking of Cylinders
Make sure that all cylinders with a water weight capacity exceeding 30
pounds are equipped with a means of connecting a valve-protection cap or
with a collar or recess to protect the valve. Make sure that compressed-gas
cylinders are legibly marked with either the chemical name or the trade name
of the gas.
Maximum Pressure of Cylinders
Make sure that employees do not generate, pipe (except in approved
cylinder manifolds), or use acetylene at a pressure in excess of 15 psi gage
pressure or 30 psi absolute pressure.
Operating Procedures
When welding, cutting, or brazing, make sure that your employees maintain a
fire watch with adequate fire-extinguishing equipment during the operation
and for 30 minutes thereafter. Do not allow Postal Service employees to weld
vehicle gas tanks, oil drums, or other containers that have held flammable
liquids. Furthermore, do not allow a contractor on Postal Service property to
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weld these items. Make sure that cylinders are kept far enough away from
actual welding or cutting operations so that sparks, hot slag, and flames do
not reach them.
Personal Protective Equipment for Welding
Make sure that employees exposed to the hazards created by welding,
cutting, or brazing operations are protected by personal protective
equipment in accordance with the requirements listed in 29 CFR 1910.132
and 1910.252.
Appropriate protective equipment varies with the size, nature, and location of
the work performed. The safety professional can assist you in determining
the required protective equipment requirements for these operations.
See 5-5, Personal Protective Equipment, for further information.
Welding Screens
Mixtures of fuel gases and air or oxygen may be explosive; make sure that
employees use these with extreme caution. Make sure that employees use
metal or flame-resistant screens to shield operations that may involve flying
sparks or molten metals passing through broken or open windows, cracks,
or holes in walls or floors.
When welding is performed in a space entirely screened on all sides, ensure
that your employees observe the following guidelines:
Arrange screens so that ventilation exits are not severely restricted.
Mount screens about 2 feet above the floor.
If work is performed at a level lower than 2 feet, extend screens to the
floor to protect nearby workers from the glare of welding.
Ventilation Requirements
Various factors affect ventilation and the need for respiratory protective
devices. These factors include the:
Type of welding process and material being used on the job.
Size of the work area and the types of operations being performed in
adjacent locations.
Presence of volatile solvents, lead-based paint, and other factors that
may create an unsafe work place.
If you need assistance in determining ventilation requirements, contact a
maintenance or safety professional. (Also see 29 CFR 1910.252(c)(1)-(2).)
Storing Cylinders
Instruct employees in safe practices for storing cylinders, as follows:
Close cylinder valves when work is finished or the cylinders are empty.
Store cylinders in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.253 (b)(2–4).
Store full oxygen cylinders separately from full fuel, gas, or acetylene
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Limit cylinders (other than those in actual use or attached ready for
use) to a total gas capacity of 2,000 cubic feet (56 m3) or 300 pounds
when storing inside a building.
Store cylinders in specifically assigned and clearly identified places
away from elevators, stairs, or gangways.
Carefully protect storage areas: keep them well ventilated, dry, and at
least 20 feet from highly combustible materials.
Keep cylinders away from sources of heat such as steam pipes and
Store all cylinders in an upright position, capped, and secured to walls
by chains or other sturdy nonflammable material.
Transport cylinders in an upright position.
Do not use the valve-protection caps on compressed cylinders for
lifting cylinders from one vertical position to another.
5-5 Personal Protective Equipment
This section presents an overview of assessment, selection, and use of
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). See MI EL-810-2001-1, Personal
Protective Equipment and Respiratory Protection Programs, for more
detailed information.
Assessment and Selection
Hazards that require PPE may be present in the workplace. Certification is
required for assessment of hazards, selection of PPE, and training of
employees. Employees must not rely on PPE devices alone to provide
protection against hazards, but use them in conjunction with guards,
engineering controls, and dependable processing, distribution, and
maintenance practices.
Contact the local safety professional for advice and assistance in assessing
your workplace to determine if hazards that require the use of PPE are
present (or likely to be present). When potential hazards exist, you and the
safety professional must use the following steps to determine the
appropriate level of protection:
Determine operations that require PPE usage.
Determine what PPE is needed and communicate the selection
decisions to each affected employee.
Select PPE that properly fits each affected employee.
Train each affected employee on the proper wearing, care, and
limitations of the selected PPE.
For affected employees, select the PPE that will protect them from the
hazards identified in the hazard assessment. Make sure each affected
employee uses the recommended PPE.
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Assessment Guidelines
To assess the need for PPE and find additional guidance on conducting
assessments, see 29 CFR 1910.132(d)(1) and appendix B to subpart I,
Nonmandatory Compliance Guidelines for Hazard Assessment and Personal
Protective Equipment Selection.
You and the safety professional must conduct a walk-through survey of the
areas in question and identify sources of hazards to workers and coworkers.
Give consideration to the following basic hazards:
Compression (rollover).
Harmful dust.
Light (optical) radiation.
Eye and Face Protection
As a safety supervisor, you must ensure that each affected employee uses:
Appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to hazards from
flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids,
chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.
Eye protection devices that protect the sides when there is a hazard
from flying objects; detachable side protectors such as clip-on or slide-
on side shields are acceptable.
Make sure that each affected employee who wears prescription lenses while
engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that:
Incorporates the prescription in its design, or
Can be worn over prescription lenses without compromising the proper
position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.
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6 Vehicle Maintenance Facility
6-1 Vehicle Repairs
Brake Repairs
Asbestos is a proven health hazard, and brake linings may contain asbestos
dust. As appropriate, train vehicle maintenance facility (VMF) employees
about the hazards of handling asbestos when replacing or removing brake
See MI EL-830-1999-5, Control of Asbestos Exposure From Brake and
Clutch Repair and Service, for further information.
Engine Exhaust Vapors
Make sure that employees do not allow engines to:
Operate in unattended areas.
Run for prolonged periods in a vehicle repair area without adequate
Working Under Vehicles
Make sure that employees working under vehicles observe the following
Never work under vehicles that are not completely supported by all
wheels, jack stands, lifts with manual safety release, or other approved
Never use jacks or chain hoists as the sole means of vehicle support.
Always wear eye protection that meets ANSI standards when
performing contact work or replacing parts under vehicles.
Local policy may require additional PPE (see appendix Appendix B).
Safety Glass Windshields and Doors
Make sure that employees use laminated safety glass for windshield
replacement. All replacement glass and window attachments must be from
the original equipment manufacturer or the equivalent and must comply with
the motor carrier safety requirements of 49 CFR 390–393 and amendments.
These regulations specifically preclude the use of any vision-reducing items,
such as screens on the windows on each side of the operator.
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6-2 Flammable Materials
Cleaning Parts
Do not allow the use of Class I flammable liquids (flash point below 100ºF)
such as benzol and acetone, for cleaning purposes. Refer to the chemical’s
material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for handling instructions. Consult with
your local environmental professional on pollution control issues.
Dispensing Pumps
Equip dispensing pumps with automatic shut-off nozzles to prevent
splashing and overfilling.
Disposal of Flammable Liquids
Do not allow employees to dispose of contaminated gasoline, flammable
liquids, acid from unserviceable batteries, or engine oil in any sewer or other
public drainage system. Make sure employees use U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, state, and locally approved methods for disposal of these
Disposal of Oily Rags and Flammable Waste
Make sure employees place oily rags and flammable waste in tightly covered
metal containers and dispose of them safely on a regular schedule. Consult
with your local environmental professional for disposal guidelines
Safety Containers
Make sure that you and your employees:
Store flammable liquids in approved safety containers, closed drums,
or tanks.
Use tanks that conform to the requirements of UL 58, Standard for
Underground Tanks for Flammable Liquids, or UL 142, Standard for
Steel Aboveground Tanks for Flammable and Combustible Liquids, as
Comply with Interstate Commerce Commission requirements for safety
Mark the drums or containers appropriately and store them in
nonsmoking areas.
6-3 Handling Batteries
Make sure that employees who handle lead acid batteries use PPE and
follow these safety precautions:
When batteries are removed from vehicles for charging, thoroughly
clean the batteries with an acid-neutralizing solution.
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Do not change, remove, or manipulate battery terminal connections
until the charging device is disconnected.
Use battery terminal carrying straps or battery carriers and battery
carts when handling batteries.
Do not smoke or allow any type of open flame in battery-charging
Use proper procedures to jump-start a battery when necessary.
6-4 Portable Electric Hand Tools and Equipment
All portable electric hand tools and equipment must be grounded, unless
double insulated and UL-approved with a UL seal affixed. Three-wire
conductors must be used for all other types of electrical equipment.
6-5 Slippery Floors
Make sure your employees clean areas made slippery by oil and grease spills
immediately. Sawdust is not acceptable as a floor sweep to clean oil or
grease spots.
6-6 Stationary Grinders
Equip all bench grinders, emery wheels, and other similar devices with safety
glass protection plates. Instruct your employees to operate these devices
only when the plates are positioned. Guard abrasive grinders with a standard
hood that protects both sides of the periphery. Make sure grinding activities
are conducted on the face of the wheel, not on the sides.
Provide a tool rest, making sure that the gap between the abrasive wheel and
the tool rest never exceeds 1/8 inch. Replace a wheel or stone that has worn
so substantially that the gap cannot be adjusted to this clearance. Make sure
employees conduct a ring test before a new wheel is placed on a grinder.
6-7 Tire Safety Cage
Make sure that employees place a tire mounted on split rims in an approved
tire safety cage before inflating. Allow only trained personnel to mount and
dismount split wheels.
6-8 Personal Protective Equipment for Vehicle
Maintenance Facility Employees
See 5-5, Personal Protective Equipment.
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7 Air Mail Facility Operations
7-1 Operation of Motor Vehicles on the Airfield
Make sure that drivers who have been specially trained and qualified are the
only ones authorized to operate vehicles at airports.
Only Postal Service vehicles that have been modified to meet Federal
Aviation Administration and local airport authority regulations can be
assigned to airmail runs that require movement on the airfield during plane-
side or ramp-side operations.
7-2 General Rules and Regulations
You must keep abreast of the safety rules and regulations governing airport
operations and make sure employees are properly trained and refreshed.
Before leaving a Postal Service facility, a driver must check to see that
the vehicle contains a fully charged fire extinguisher and all required
emergency equipment and that the gas tank is at least half full.
Vehicle headlights, taillights, and running lights (clearance) must be in
working condition before any vehicle is operated on airfields at night.
Postal Service vehicle drivers must give way to all emergency
equipment responding to an alert, such as crash and rescue vehicles,
fire trucks, security or police cars, or any other vehicles with sirens or
revolving lights that have been designated as emergency vehicles.
Each motor vehicle must have a suitable fire extinguisher affixed to its
interior and a driver who has been instructed in the proper use of this
You must remind drivers to remain alert while proceeding to aircraft,
follow proper painted traffic lanes, and observe posted speed limits.
Motor vehicle operators must never approach an aircraft until all
engines and propellers are completely stopped.
Motor vehicle operators must never drive across passenger loading
lanes while an aircraft is at a gate.
When near jet aircraft in operation, drivers must wear hearing
protection. When the presence of such aircraft is unexpected, drivers
must avoid exposure, to the extent possible. Employees exposed to jet
engine noise that exceeds OSHA standards must participate in a
hearing conservation program.
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The tail end of an aircraft can be as hazardous as the front. Running
engines blast dirt, debris, and other solid objects with a force strong
enough to break windshields and cause eye injury or bone fracture.
Instruct Postal Service personnel to take immediate shelter if they are
about to be caught by a blast from the engines of an arriving or
departing aircraft.
Smoking is prohibited on airport service ramps. At airport mail facilities,
smoking is strictly prohibited in all buildings or office space, including
service lobbies owned or leased by the Postal Service.
7-3 Use of Motorized Transport Equipment in Aircraft
Operation Areas at Airports
Postal Service motorized transport equipment (MTE) must be in serviceable
condition when used to transport mail to airline operations.
Instruct your employees to follow these guidelines when using MTE:
Do not leave MTE unattended on the aircraft or in operation areas.
Do not leave baggage and mail carts unattended on the tarmac.
Set brakes during loading and unloading.
Load and unload Postal Service equipment immediately.
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8 General Safety Rules and
8-1 Leaking Packages
Make sure that all employees are familiar with hazardous materials
(HAZMAT) procedures for handling leaking packages. Provide training for
employees who handle HAZMAT spills or leaks and document when training
occurred. Make a list of available trained employees and post it on
appropriate bulletin boards.
Each facility must have written standard operating procedures (SOPs) to
handle a HAZMAT spill or leak and a specifically designated area for holding
or rewrapping leaking packages.
The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center (CHEMTREC) is dedicated
to helping emergency responders deal with incidents involving hazardous
materials. Instruct your employees to call CHEMTREC’S hotline,
800-424-9300, for expert assistance in dealing with spilled or leaking
See MI EL-810-2006-3, Response to Hazardous Materials Releases, for
further information.
8-2 Caution and Warning Signs
In Postal Service warning signs, each color conveys a specific meaning, as
Red = Danger. Red signs indicate immediate danger; special
precautions are required.
Yellow = Caution. Yellow signs indicate possible hazard; proper
precautions are required.
Black and White = Directions. Black and white signs show the way to
locations such as stairways and first aid rooms.
Blue = Information. Blue signs provide general information (not
necessarily related to safety). Blue signs are also used to identify
parking spaces and access to facilities for people with disabilities.
Green = Safety. Green signs indicate safety and the location of first aid
and other safety-related equipment.
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8-3 Defective Equipment
Make sure that you or your employees remove defective equipment from
service immediately. Use PS Form 4707, Out of Order, to report a defective
piece of equipment. Tag the equipment with PS Form 4707, take it to be
repaired, or warehouse it in an area designated for defective equipment. Do
not remove tags until repairs are completed. Do not allow anyone to place a
defective piece of equipment back into service until appropriate repairs are
Regularly instruct your employees to be aware of common defects in MTEs,
Cracked plastic letter trays.
Broken frame wires on hampers.
Missing or broken wheels on hampers, GPMCs, and OTRs.
Missing safety latch or “S” hook (where installed) on a door-latch chain.
Defective brakes or trailer pins on OTRs.
As defects are found in new equipment designs, make sure you notify
employees and the local safety professional.
8-4 Electrical Cords and Receptacles
All electrical receptacles must have an approved cover and correct polarity.
All equipment and furniture that is connected to any electric source by cord
must be grounded unless it is double insulated and poses no potential shock
hazard. For assistance with determining correct grounding, contact your
local safety professional.
8-5 Fire Prevention and Emergency Action
Fire prevention can be defined as the correction of unsafe practices
(employee performance errors) and unsafe conditions (management system
failures) that could result in a fire. (See Handbook MS-56, Fire Prevention and
Control; Handbook EL-814, Postal Employee’s Guide to Safety; and the
National Fire Protection Association’s Life Safety Code, NFPA 101, for
additional information.)
Become familiar with unsafe practices and unsafe conditions and be
constantly alert for fire hazards. Whenever you observe an unsafe practice or
condition, take immediate corrective action.
Emergency Action Plan
A Postal Service facility with more than 10 employees must maintain a
written Emergency Action Plan (EAP). If there are 10 or fewer employees, a
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written plan is not required, and the plan may be communicated verbally to
The EAP must clearly identify actions that management and other employees
must take to ensure safety of employees and protection of property from fire
and other emergencies, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, and
HAZMAT spills. (See MI EL-810-2006-3, Response to Hazardous Materials
Releases, about establishing SOPs for spills and leaks and the relationship of
these procedures to EAPs. See ELM 850 for the contents of an EAP.)
Before an EAP is implemented, train designated employees to assist in the
safe and orderly emergency evacuation of all employees.
Review the EAP with each employee:
Initially, when the plan is developed.
When the requirements or responsibilities of specific employees
When the plan is changed.
In addition, you must review relevant parts of the EAP with all newly assigned
employees to ensure that they know what actions to take in case of an
emergency. Make sure the plan is available at the workplace for employees
to review.
Fire Prevention Plan
According to 29 CFR 1910.38 and ELM 850, each Postal Service facility with
more than 10,000 square feet must have a written Fire Prevention Plan (FPP).
Before implementing the plan, inform all employees about potential fire
hazards in their work areas.
Review the FPP with each employee:
Initially, when the plan is developed.
When the requirements or responsibilities of specific employees
When the plan is changed.
In addition, you must review relevant parts of the FPP with all newly assigned
employees to ensure that they know what actions to take in case of fire.
Make sure the plan is available at the workplace for employees to review.
Fire Equipment Color Coding
Use red to identify fire protection equipment and apparatus.
Fire Drills
Make sure that at least one fire drill is conducted annually on each work tour
in each facility and ensure that all employees in your work area participate.
Impress upon all employees the importance of a fire drill.
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When conducting a fire drill or dealing with an actual fire or other emergency,
make sure the following objectives are met:
Sound the alarm and promptly notify the fire department.
Conduct an orderly evacuation in minimum time.
Ensure security of mail, money, receipts, and valuable papers.
Oversee emergency plan assignments by designated fire emergency
response members.
Take a head count after the building evacuation and report the count to
the manager in charge.
Invite the local fire department to participate in your fire drills.
Electrical Appliances
Use of portable hot plates, coffee pots, or other electrical appliances with
heating elements is acceptable when authorized by the installation head or
designee. After authorization, you must ensure that these procedures are
Make sure that you or a designated employee unplugs the unit when it
is not in use.
Ensure that the appliance is placed in a safe location, away from
combustible materials.
Make certain that the appliance is UL-listed, -labeled, or -certified, or
Factory Mutual-Approved.
Make sure that each appliance is equipped with a pilot or warning light
on the unit, or that the wall outlet has a readily visible pilot or warning
Make certain that the appliance is in proper working order with
electrical cords and plugs in good condition. Conduct periodic
inspections to ensure that the appliance is safe and serviceable.
Immediately take out of service any unit that develops cords with
frayed wiring, defective plugs, or other flaws. Before a unit is returned
to service, repair must be approved by safety, maintenance, or other
designated personnel with authority to grant return-to-service
Emergency Lighting
Where appropriate, ensure that your facility is equipped with properly located
and operable emergency lights so that employees have adequate
illumination to safely exit the building. For additional information, contact
local safety, maintenance, or other designated personnel.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
All facilities must have a means for employees to call local emergency
services from within the building. If Postal Service telephones have calling
area restrictions, make sure procedures are in place to allow a call to the
local 911 dispatcher. You can do this with a speed-dial system programmed
to call 911.
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If there is no 911 service, make sure that the telephone numbers of the local
police department, fire department, hospital, and ambulance or first aid
service are provided and visible for all employees.
Post your list of emergency telephone numbers in appendix Appendix C of
this handbook.
Exits and Signs
You need to provide a sufficient number of exits to allow prompt escape as
required by 29 CFR 1910.37 and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code. Make sure a
door from a room to an exit or to an area that gives access to an exit is of the
side-hinged, swinging type. If the room can be occupied by 50 or more
people, the door must swing out for travel to the exit.
You must ensure that access to exits and doors leading to exits are
designated and arranged so that they are clearly recognizable. Make certain
that exit access is arranged so it is not necessary to travel toward any area of
high hazard. All exits must discharge directly to the street or to a yard, court,
or other open space that gives safe access to a public way.
Means of egress must be designed and maintained to provide adequate
headroom with a ceiling height no less than 7 feet 6 inches and no projection
from the ceiling less than 6 feet 8 inches from the floor.
In no case is access to an exit to be made through a restroom or other room
subject to locking, unless the exit serves only the room subject to locking.
Locks, latches, and other devices must not impede free and unobstructed
egress. Make sure all exit doors can be opened by performing only one
function and that special knowledge of keys or lock combinations is not
Provide readily visible exit signs for each exit. Directional arrows are required
if the direction of travel to reach the nearest exit is not immediately apparent.
All doors that do not have identification signs (such as the boiler room,
restroom, custodial closet, or other room that may be confused with an exit)
must be marked with a sign stating: “Not an exit.”
On the exit side of all exterior doors in the exit route that are subject to
locking, place a sign stating: “This door is to remain unlocked when the
building is occupied.”
See NFPA 101 for sign requirements.
Emergency Evacuation Teams
Emergency evacuation teams, with a trained team on each work tour, are
required in installations with 10,000 square feet or more. These teams are not
“emergency responder teams” as defined by 29 CFR 1910.120.
Pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.156 as it applies to incipient-stage fires, at no time
is any team or member of a team to stand and fight any fire that is beyond
the incipient stage (beyond control) by using portable fire extinguishers.
Details on the duties of the fire emergency response team are found in
ELM 850.
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Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are designed in a variety of types to combat the
components of different classes of fires. (See Handbook MS-56, Fire
Prevention and Control, and 29 CFR 1910.157 for detailed descriptions of
these extinguishers, their maintenance, inspection, and uses.)
Fires found in Postal Service equipment, buildings, and vehicles are
classified according to the substances that are burning, as follows:
Class A Fire — ordinary, combustible solid materials, including paper,
wood, and cloth.
Class B Fire — flammable or combustible liquids or gases, including
gasoline, fuel oil, and cleaning solvents.
Class C Fire — energized, electrical, and electronic equipment.
(Normally, once the electrical current in a Class C fire is turned off, the
fire is no longer considered Class C.)
Class D Fire — combustible metals, including magnesium, sodium, and
The versatile, multipurpose, dry chemical extinguisher, more commonly
known as a Tri-Class or A-B-C extinguisher, is very effective in fighting Class
A, B, and C fires and is the only extinguisher to be used for those fires.
Putting out a Class D fire requires a special extinguishing agent that must be
obtained and stored for use in maintenance and VMF operations. In certain
locations where electrical or electronic equipment is used and where it is
desirable to minimize the cost of cleaning up dry chemicals, use a carbon
dioxide (CO2) extinguisher.
Mount fire extinguishers in an easily accessible place at a maximum distance
no greater than 50 feet from any employee. Mark the extinguisher’s
background in red, and, when necessary, place a red ring or sign above it to
ensure visibility. Permit no fire extinguisher smaller than a 10-pound size for
use in a Postal Service facility. Access to fire extinguishers must never be
Fire Inspections
Fire inspections, which must be documented, must be conducted in all
Postal Service-owned and -leased installations. Inspections are required
twice a year in all installations with less than 100 work years of employment
in the regular workforce. Quarterly fire inspections are required in VMFs and
in all installations with more than 100 work years of employment in the
regular workforce.
You may schedule fire inspections to coincide with semiannual or annual
safety inspections. Make sure qualified supervisors who have been trained
by safety or fire protection professionals conduct these inspections. You are
encouraged to invite local fire officials to assist with fire inspections.
A Hazard Abatement Committee must review deficiencies identified in fire
inspection reports and correct them pursuant to ELM 820.
ELM 820 and 850 provide further information about fire inspections.
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8-6 First Aid
In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital near the workplace, you
must make sure that one or more persons is adequately trained to render
first aid to all injured employees. Make sure that adequate first aid supplies
are readily available.
First Aid Kits
Where first aid kits are required, make sure that the kits are available to all
tours of duty and that their contents are checked regularly. First aid kits must
include items necessary for an emergency situation and must not serve as
the source of nonemergency supplies such as aspirin and antacid. Due to
liability issues, Postal Service employees are prohibited from dispensing
medication without the supervision of a medical professional such as a
doctor or nurse. Authorized first aid kit supplies must include:
Band Aids®.
Disposable gloves.
Gauze pads of various sizes, sterile and nonsterile.
Adhesive tape, 1 inch and 2 inches wide.
Ammonia inhalants.
CPR mask (microshield).
Antiseptic ointment.
Eye pads.
Arm sling.
Nonadherent dressing (adaptic).
Eye irrigation solution.
Individually wrapped alcohol wipes.
m. Individually wrapped Betadine® wipes.
See 29 CFR 1910.151, Medical services and first aid, for additional
8-7 Floors
You must ensure that your employees follow these general procedures to
prevent potential slip, trip, or fall accidents.
Keep all floors clean, with no protruding nails or sharp edges on
Do not use aisles, corridors, stairways, stairwells, exits, docks,
platforms, and emergency exits for any type of storage. Keep them free
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of obstructions at all times. Never block electric panels, switches, fire
protection devices, fire alarm stations, or postal inspector breakout
Keep floor surfaces uncluttered. Paper, pencils, paper clips, rubber
bands, and similar objects on walking surfaces present serious slipping
Repair loose or missing tiles or blocks.
Keep stairs, sidewalks, docks, ramps, and handrails in good repair and
readily accessible.
Report defective walks, steps, and parking surfaces so that repairs to
eliminate tripping hazards can be made promptly.
Do not block fire doors or otherwise make them inoperative. Never
paint the fusible-link fire protection devices that are installed on some
fire doors.
Mark aisles clearly to designate proper traffic movement and storage
space limits.
Secure carpets, rugs, and mats. Arrange them to prevent slipping.
Repair or replace those with wrinkles, turned-up edges, or tears.
Keep floors in good shape to avoid tripping hazards and to facilitate
truck and container operations.
Give customer areas special consideration. The improper placement of
mats or rugs (or lack of them) can cause customer injuries and result in
significant liability to the Postal Service.
Cleaning Floors
Instruct your employees to keep floors clean and observe the following
safety guidelines for cleaning floors:
Remove spilled oil, grease, and other liquids immediately.
Use noncombustible materials for absorbing oil, grease, and other
Do not use sweeping compounds or so-called “floor oils” on floors.
Consult the MSDS before using any chemical for cleaning.
Wet Floors
Instruct your employees to observe the following safety guidelines for wet
Keep wet floor areas roped off with “Wet Floor” signs or high-visibility
safety barricades until the floors are dry.
Always maintain a dry area for pedestrian traffic.
Place rubber mats or all-weather mats at entrances, including lobby
areas, when inclement weather develops.
Damp mop as often as necessary where excessive moisture
accumulates on indoor stairs, lobby floors, or high-traffic areas.
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
8-8 Footwear
Wearing good shoes is important to Postal Service personnel, whether they
walk many miles on a route or handle mail in the workroom. Since handling
materials and walking make up the bulk of their work, Postal Service
employees must take special care in selecting shoes.
Body of the Shoe
Shoes worn at work by Postal Service employees must:
Be fully enclosed at the heel, toe, and sides.
Be constructed of leather or a substantial synthetic poromeric material.
Canvas and nylon are not acceptable.
Provide adequate protection to the feet.
Local policy may require more restrictive shoe standards (see appendix
Heels and Soles
The following guidelines apply to the heels and soles of shoes worn at work
by Postal Service employees:
Wear heels no higher than 1 1/2 inches (measured from the back) to
prevent leg muscle strain. (Special shoes worn for orthopedic reasons
may be exempted from this requirement.)
Do not wear shoes with soles that are very thin (either by design or
from excessive wear). The thinner the sole is by design, the harder the
composition of the sole should be.
Always wear shoes with slip-resistant heels and soles.
Never wear heels with steel taps.
Unacceptable Shoes
The following types of shoes must not be worn by Postal Service employees
on the job: sandals, clogs, platforms, sneakers, athletic or jogging shoes
without leather or poromeric uppers, mules, house slippers, boots with
under-slung heels, or open-toed, high-heeled (more than 1 1/2 inches), or
spike-heeled shoes.
The supervisor with jurisdiction over a work location is responsible for
determining whether a particular style of shoe is acceptable on the workroom
floor. The supervisor must inform employees wearing unacceptable footwear
about Postal Service policy on shoes and prohibit employees from wearing
such footwear in work areas.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
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Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
8-9 Anchoring Furniture and Equipment
All lobby customer directional-queuing equipment must be placed so it is not
top-heavy. Position equipment so it does not fall and strike a child who may
be hanging from or pulling on the chain or rope on the equipment.
Lightweight plastic is better than metal for queuing equipment.
Display racks, stands, and other lobby furnishings must be suitably anchored
or designed to prevent them from turning over and injuring someone or
causing property damage. Use safety glass in display racks, stands, and
cases. Do not use plate glass in lobby displays.
Encourage window personnel to warn customers of the hazards of allowing
children to sit on counters.
File Cabinets and Distribution Cases
You and your employees must make sure weight is distributed evenly and
furniture is anchored or secured in some manner to prevent tipping. Keep
tops of lockers, file cabinets, and distribution cases free of objects or
materials that could fall.
Anchoring Wall Lockers, Storage Shelves, and
Storage Cabinets
To prevent tipping or falling, you must anchor lockers to the floor or wall.
Where this is impractical, connect them together in a manner that prevents
accidental tipping or falling. Anchor storage shelves and storage cabinets to
prevent accidental movement and the spilling of contents. Where possible,
anchor the top portion of the storage shelves or cabinets to a wall.
Lobby Furniture
You must secure all lobby furniture to the floor or wall to prevent tipping.
Where anchoring the furniture to the floor is not practical, ensure that the
anchoring device placed in the wall is secure enough to prevent such
movement or tipping. Placing anchors on radiator covers and into sheet
rock, dry wall, or plaster walls is not an adequate method of anchoring.
Secure the anchor so that the equipment or furniture alone cannot pull out
from the wall.
See the Postal Operations Manual for additional information.
Newspaper Racks, Recruitment Posters, and
Bicycle Racks
You must position all bicycle racks, newspaper racks, and other public
service equipment so pedestrian traffic is not impeded or vehicular traffic
views obstructed. Arrange for the anchoring of this equipment or provide
stability adequate to prevent accidental tipping.
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
8-10 Housekeeping
You must ensure that employees follow these general procedures to
promote safe housekeeping at all Postal Service operations:
Make sure that mechanics, contractors, and custodial personnel clean
up all scraps, dirt, or other refuse at the end of the day or the end of the
job, whichever comes first.
Ensure that waste, scrap, string, or other foreign material is not allowed
to accumulate on floors, tables, cases, or other surfaces.
Provide waste containers as necessary; empty them before they
Keep trash receptacles out of traffic lanes. Do not place them at the
top of stairs.
Remove objects that may present serious slipping hazards from floors,
including paper, pencils, paper clips, rubber bands, and plastic
strapping material.
Place rubber bands removed from bundles of mail in a proper
container located in the immediate work area. Remove broken rubber
bands from the floor and treat them as waste. Keep locks, metal
straps, and plastic seals off the floor and provide containers or bins for
Do not allow paper, twine, packing material, or other combustibles to
accumulate on the work floor, in supply or storage rooms, in or under
stairways, under load or dock levelers and scissors lifts, in elevator
pits, or against the exterior of the building.
Store supplies of loose packing material (such as excelsior, shredded
paper, Styrofoam, or other combustibles) in a fireproof room or vault, in
covered metal containers, or in metal-lined boxes with self-closing lids.
Sharp Objects
Make sure that you and your employees:
Use proper tools to open boxes fastened with staples, wire, metal, or
plastic strapping.
Remove loose staples, wire, nails, and strapping and discard them in
waste containers or other suitable receptacles.
Keep hands clear of sharp edges and ends.
Store knives and other cutting materials in a safe manner when not in
Remove or bend down protruding nails before handling used lumber or
crating materials.
Watch for glass, pins, razor blades, and other sharp objects in
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Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
When handling broken glass, make sure that your employees:
Sweep it up, and do not pick it up.
Wrap it in heavy paper and plainly mark it for cleanup personnel.
Make sure that you and your employees:
Organize work areas so that all pieces of equipment have a designated
Never use radiators, stairs, tables, and windowsills for storage.
Inspection of Storage Lockers
You must inspect wall lockers periodically and remove combustibles. Do not
store flammable liquids in wall lockers. Store oil- or grease-soaked clothing
in ventilated lockers or storage cabinets.
Storage on Top of Lockers
Make sure that you and your employees store nothing on top of wall lockers.
8-11 Knives and Cutting Devices
The only knives authorized for use in the work area are those supplied by the
Postal Service. Personal knives are not authorized for use in Postal Service
Ring knives must no longer be used because of potential failure and the
resulting hazards. Discard immediately any ring knives still in service. Plastic
sliding box cutters with guarded blades, side cutters, or scissors with
rounded tips are acceptable replacements for ring knives.
8-12 Lifting
Lifting is so much a part of their everyday jobs that most employees do not
think about it. It is often done incorrectly. Strains, pulled muscles, disk
lesions, or painful hernias are often caused by unsafe work practices such as
improper lifting, carrying loads that are too heavy, gripping incorrectly, and
failing to observe proper foot and hand clearances (see Exhibit 8-12.1,
Pinched Spine Drawing).
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Exhibit 8-12.1
Pinched Spine Drawing
Whenever possible, use mechanical aids for material handling. A variety of
material-handling equipment, including hand trucks, is available. Make sure
that your employees have been trained in proper lifting procedures during
orientation. Then make a daily routine out of refresher lifting training. Job
safety analyses (JSAs) often focus attention upon lifting tasks.
Employees have different lifting capabilities due to their physical differences.
Keep these differences in mind, and prescribe and follow safe lifting
procedures to prevent injuries.
Preparation for Lifting
Before employees lift objects, they must assess the weight and inspect the
area around the object to make sure that there are no slip, trip, or fall
hazards. Make certain that employees always look for hidden hazards in the
prospective travel path before lifting objects.
Procedures for Lifting and Carrying Objects Safely
Ensure that employees always size up loads to find out if they need help
before lifting objects. Never allow employees to lift very heavy or
cumbersome objects without sufficient help.
Procedures for Lifting Parcels
Make sure that your employees follow these procedures when lifting parcels:
First, straddle the load. Make certain that the feet are parted with one
foot beside the parcel being lifted and one foot behind. Spread feet
comfortably (normally shoulder width) to give greater stability. Position
the rear foot for an upward thrust. (See Exhibit 8-12.4, Proper Lifting
Keep the back straight, nearly vertical. Use a squatting position.
Remember that straight does not mean vertical. A straight back keeps
the spine, back muscles, and organs of the body in correct alignment.
Notice how the spine disks in Exhibit 8-12.1 are pinched when
bending. The rectangles illustrate the vertebrae, and the spaces
between represent disks in the spine. Disks may slip or rupture,
causing severe pain or disability, and the muscles or ligaments may
stretch or tear. This problem can be avoided by keeping the back
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
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Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
straight and bending the knees. This procedure also minimizes the
compression of the stomach that can cause a hernia.
Keep the load close to the body. Arms and elbows should be tucked
into the side of the body. When the arms are held away from the body,
they lose much of their strength and power. Keeping the arms tucked
in also helps keep body weight centered.
Grasp the parcel near the top of the farthest corner, wrapping the palm
around the edge. Hold the opposite bottom corner of the parcel in the
palm of your other hand. Use the full palm; fingers alone have very little
Keep the head upright and allow the head to move freely when lifting
objects. This will help to maintain balance as the center of gravity shifts
when picking up a load.
Position the body so its weight is centered over the feet. This provides
a more powerful line of thrust and ensures better balance. Start the lift
with a thrust of the rear foot. Begin to lift straight up, smoothly, without
stopping, by pushing with the legs, keeping the back straight.
Complete the lift to a standing position and be sure the hold is secure
before moving. When necessary, use the feet as a pivot point. Do not
twist the body trunk.
When raising a parcel above shoulder height, follow the procedures
just described to raise it to waist height. Then rest the edge of the
parcel on a ledge, stand, or hip. Shift hand position, so the parcel can
be boosted after knees are bent. Straighten knees as the parcel is lifted
or shifted to the shoulders.
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Exhibit 8-12.4
Proper Lifting Technique
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Procedures for Lifting Sacks
When lifting sacks, employees must use the general procedures outlined in
8-12.4 for lifting parcels. (See the photos in Exhibit 8-12.5, Proper Technique
for Lifting Sacks.)
There are a few differences:
Tuck sack cords inside the sack before lifting.
Grasp opposite diagonal corners of the sack.
Exhibit 8-12.5
Proper Technique for Lifting Sacks
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
If a sack is to be carried a distance, employees must use the following
Once the sack is waist high, rest it against the hip and stomach.
Shift the hand position so the sack can be boosted after the knees are
Lift the sack to one shoulder and stoop slightly, hand on hip, resting
the sack partly on your shoulder, arm, and back.
Hold the sack firmly at the front corner.
When the sack is to be put down, swing it slowly from the shoulder
until it rests against the hip and stomach. If it must be placed on the
ground, bend the legs and lower the sack, keeping the back straight.
8-13 Observation of Work Practices
Observe employees on a daily basis so that you can identify and correct
practices that might cause injuries. Unsafe acts include:
Using equipment without authority.
Removing or not using safety devices such as guards and brakes.
Engaging in horseplay.
Failing to use PPE, such as safety glasses.
Lifting improperly.
Correct unsafe work practices immediately by: (a) demonstrating proper
work practices; (b) conducting training and initiating discussions; and
(c) taking other corrective actions, when warranted. Even more importantly,
when you observe employees carrying out safe work practices, give them
positive reinforcement. Do not become complacent. Never assume that
safety will take care of itself.
Place special emphasis on observing employees who:
Have repeated accidents.
Were recently involved in an accident.
Are new (to the task, the position, the facility, or the Postal Service).
8-14 On-the-Job Safety Review and Analysis
Doing a job the safe way is the same as doing a job the right way. Develop
and teach safe procedures for each job. A useful way to review job methods
and uncover hazards is to perform a job safety analysis (JSA) using PS Form
1783, On-the-Job Safety Review/Analysis (see Exhibit 8-14.1). Keep a
complete and updated JSA for each job task in your work area.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Exhibit 8-14.1, front
PS Form 1783, On-the-Job Safety Review/Analysis
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Exhibit 8-14.1, back
PS Form 1783, On-the-Job Safety Review/Analysis
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
JSAs can be used in hazard and accident analysis and for safety training.
Once the hazards are identified, develop the proper solutions.
If you are a first-line supervisor, you must maintain an active file of job tasks
in your work area. These four basic steps are used in preparing a job safety
Select the job to be analyzed.
Divide the job into successive steps or activities.
Identify potential hazards or accidents. This step is critical: a problem
can be eliminated only if it has been identified.
Develop recommended safe job procedures to eliminate each hazard
and prevent accidents.
Selecting Jobs for Analysis
Don’t select a job at random for a JSA. If the JSA is to yield the best possible
result, first analyze jobs with the worst accident experience. Consider the
following factors when deciding when and in what order to conduct JSAs:
Frequency of accidents. Any job that repeatedly results in accidents.
Disabling injuries. Any job that has produced disabling injuries.
Severity potential. Any job that could cause severe injuries, even if it
does not have a history of accidents.
New jobs. Any new job as soon as it is created.
Preparing a Job Safety Analysis
Check the Safety Toolkit resource page to see if a national JSA is available
for the job you intend to analyze. Follow the instructions in Exhibit 8-14.3,
Guide to Preparing a Job Safety Analysis, to complete PS Form 1783 for
your JSA.
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Exhibit 8-14.3
Guide to Preparing a Job Safety Analysis (Sequence of Basic Task Steps)
Sequence of
Basic Task Steps
(Column 1)
Divide the job into a sequence of steps, each describing what is being done.
To avoid two common errors when dividing the job into sequenced steps:
Do not make the division so detailed that an excessively large number of steps result.
Do not make the division so general that basic steps are not recorded.
To apply a good technique of dividing the job:
Select a person to observe.
Brief that person on the reason for your observation.
Observe the person performing the job and try to divide the job into basic steps.
Record each step in the process.
Check the process with the person observed.
Remember: Each step must describe what work is done, not how it is completed. Begin
each step with an action word such as remove, lift, or drive.
Hazards and
(Column 2)
Identify all hazards and potential accidents — both those produced by the
environment and those connected with the job procedure.
To apply a good technique for identifying all hazards:
Observe closely.
Repeat the job observation as necessary until you are confident you have identified all
hazards and possible accidents.
Ask yourself these questions about each job step:
Is there a danger of striking against, being struck by, or making any other
injurious contact with an object?
Can the employee be caught in, between, or by objects or moving parts?
Is there potential for a slip, trip, or fall? Can the employee fall on one level or to
another level?
Can pushing, pulling, lifting, bending, or twisting cause a strain on the
Is there an environmental exposure hazard, such as gas, radiation, or heat?
Check with the employee being observed; an experienced employee may be able to
suggest additional ideas.
Make no attempt to develop solutions while analyzing each job step for hazards. Thinking
about solutions at this stage interferes with the process of spotting hazards.
Action to Prevent
Accident or
Eliminate Hazard
(Column 3)
Develop a recommended safe job procedure to prevent the occurrence of potential
Principle solutions may include:
Find a new way to do the job. Determine the work goal of the job and then analyze
various ways of reaching the goal to determine the safest procedures.
Change or eliminate the physical conditions that create the hazard. Ask yourself what
changes in tools, materials, location, or equipment, for example, can eliminate the
hazard or prevent the accident.
Change work procedures to eliminate or minimize any hazards still present. Ask
yourself what the employee should do, or not do, to eliminate or minimize this
particular hazard.
Reduce the frequency with which the job is required.
Note: Be sure to check or test your proposed solutions by observing the job again and
discussing the changes with the workers who do the job.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Using a Job Safety Analysis
When you distribute a completed JSA, it is your responsibility to explain its
contents to your employees. If necessary, give your employees further
training so they know exactly how to do the job — without accidents.
Train new employees in basic job steps; a well-prepared JSA makes an
effective guide for training.
Occasionally observe your employees as they perform jobs for which a JSA
has been developed. The JSA allows you to determine whether or not they
are doing their job safely.
Updating a Job Safety Analysis
No matter how good a JSA is when first developed, it can prevent accidents
only if you use it — and keep it up-to-date. When is a JSA out-of-date?
When it no longer works to prevent accidents. Time alone does not make a
JSA obsolete. For example, a 10-year-old JSA could be as applicable to a
specific job today as it was when first developed. For another job, a 2-year-
old JSA may be obsolete. JSAs become outdated mainly because changes
in tools, equipment, or materials lead to changes in procedures. When a
procedure for a job changes and you neglect to revise the JSA, you increase
the odds of fostering an accident.
8-15 Maintaining Parking Lots, Platforms, Driveways, and
Make sure adequate lighting is installed and maintained to allow customers,
the general public, and employees to safely enter and exit the premises. (See
Handbook MS-49, Energy Conservation and Maintenance Contingency
Planning, for additional information.)
Removing Snow and Ice
You must establish snow and ice removal plans where necessary. Pay
particular attention to areas where customers and other pedestrians may slip
and fall, and where vehicle maneuvering can be hazardous. Keep snow and
ice away from utility and fire protection equipment.
Provide for reinspection and cleaning as often as necessary to handle drifting
snow and refreezing. Encourage employees to help provide safe walking and
driving surfaces on Postal Service premises by reporting icy and otherwise
dangerous spots. Consult your local Postal Service environmental
coordinator for guidance on the purchase and use of ice melting products.
Allow only trained and authorized employees to use snow blowers, plows,
and other snow-moving equipment. Instruct them to keep hands and fingers
away from moving parts and ejector chutes.
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
8-16 Personal Safety and Crime Prevention
You are responsible for keeping employees informed about the importance
of personal safety and crime prevention. Schedule safety talks periodically
regarding problems specific to your area. You may give safety talks yourself
or request guest speakers from local law enforcement agencies and the
Postal Inspection Service.
Maintain building security. All employees have the responsibility to politely
greet and question strangers who do not possess proper identification and to
report suspicious persons to the proper authorities.
Make periodic checks of the building and grounds to ensure that lighting and
gates are functioning as designed. Door locks must not be disabled or doors
propped open. Report security problems to the Postal Inspection Service or
local law enforcement agencies immediately.
Inform employees of their responsibility for crime prevention. Because Postal
Service carriers see every address on their routes every day, they can aid
crime prevention and foresee emergencies in their communities. Instruct
carriers to report suspicious activities on their routes. Ask them to notify you
if mail piles up at any residence.
8-17 Radio Headsets
Employees may use personal portable headsets only while seated or
stationary and only when using a headset will not interfere with performance
of duties or constitute a safety or health hazard. Make sure that employees
do not use headsets while walking or driving, near moving machinery,
involved in oral business communications, or in contact with or in view of the
public. Employees must not use personal portable headsets instead of
approved PPE in noise hazardous locations. (For more information, contact
local labor relations or safety staff. See appendix Appendix C.)
8-18 Required Postings
Post the following in a conspicuous place for review by all employees:
CA-10, What a Federal Employee Should Do When Injured at Work.
OSHA Posters, Job Safety and Health Protection, 3165 (in English) and
3167 (in Spanish), which outline management responsibilities and
employee responsibilities and rights under the Occupational Safety
and Health Act.
The facility EAP (ELM 820) is required at facilities with more than 10
employees. At a minimum, the plan graphically depicts emergency
escape route assignments, locations of fire alarms and extinguishers,
and emergency evacuation procedures. The plan identifies individuals
responsible for specific assignments in the event of any emergency.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
The facility FPP (ELM 820) is required at facilities with more than 10
Emergency telephone numbers (must be posted by every telephone).
The CHEMTREC hotline, 800-424-9300, which provides 24-hour
guidance on hazardous spills.
A Safety Inspection Checklist that reports the results of an internal
facility inspection must be posted for 3 working days or until all
deficiencies are corrected (see ELM 824.426).
If an OSHA inspection has resulted in issuance of OSHA Form 2,
Citation and Notification of Penalty, it must be posted for 10 working
days or until all deficiencies are abated (see ELM 825.51).
Joint Labor-Management Safety and Health Committee Minutes are
required of facilities or offices of 50 or more employees.
Local safety policy statements, safety rules, and other related
accident-prevention documents (see appendix Appendix B).
Poster 76, Some Things Were Never Meant to Be Mailed.
8-19 Rest Bars
Make sure that rest-bar seats are properly used and stored in your work
area. Instruct employees that rest bars are designed to support individuals in
an upright, backward-leaning position while they are working at certain
stationary activities. Employees must not use them as stools for sitting with
the cushion in the flat position. The seat must be adjusted using only the
slots provided in the seat support. Do not allow employees to tilt the seat to
its most forward position or to rest the seat support against the welded stop.
Proper Body Positions
Anyone using the rest bar must place at least one foot on the floor or base at
all times. If only one foot is placed on the bar rest, that foot must be on the
bar rest rather than inside the bar rest. Never allow employees to place feet
on case ledges when they are using the rest bar.
Storing Rest Bars
After using the rest bar, employees must fold the seat down flat and place it
in a safe location, possibly near the working case. They must make sure that
the seat support does not protrude outward.
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
8-20 Slips, Trips, and Falls
Conduct daily inspections of your work area to identify possible causes of
slip, trip, or fall accidents. Causes may include:
Poor housekeeping, such as loose objects like rubber bands, plastic
strapping, or paper clips on walking surfaces.
Slippery surfaces from cleaning or leakage; barricade areas until
cleanup is complete.
Cluttered stairways and steps.
Empty sacks placed in walkways instead of their designated places.
Dangling cords (from mail sacks on nutting trucks).
Improperly located electrical cords.
Congested areas.
Employees climbing or jumping over stacks of mail sacks or over
equipment such as nutting trucks and conveyors. Do not allow
employees to jump from one level to another, such as off docks or
8-21 Smoking
Smoking is defined as having a lighted or activated electronic cigar,
cigarette, pipe, or other smoking material. Smoking is strictly prohibited in all
buildings or office space (including service lobbies) owned or leased by the
Postal Service. Smoking indoors by any occupant of such space is not
Local managers, with input from employee representatives, may decide
whether or not to permit smoking in designated outdoor locations on Postal
Service property.
Smoking is prohibited in any General Services Administration interagency
fleet management system vehicles.
8-22 Solvents and Other Chemicals
Employees must use cleaning solvents, pastes, degreasing compounds,
toilet cleaners, and other chemicals in strict accordance with the
manufacturers’ instructions and take all precautions on the label. Consult
with your local environmental professional on pollution prevention programs
when using any type of solvent.
Selecting Cleaning Solvents
Use care when selecting cleaning solvents for mechanical parts, because
they may be toxic or flammable. Cleaning with highly flammable or toxic
solvents (such as gasoline, benzene, and other such chemicals) is prohibited.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
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Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Storing Solvents
Volatile solvents used in work areas must be kept in metal safety containers
in quantities limited to one work tour. Containers must be UL-listed, -labeled,
or -certified (or approved by other laboratories). Make sure the containers are
labeled with their contents.
Material Safety Data Sheets
Maintain material safety data sheets (MSDSs) or equivalent information in a
location accessible to employees involved in the use of solvents and other
chemicals. You must provide employees with effective information and
training on hazardous chemicals in their work area. (See 29 CFR 1910.1200
for additional information.)
8-23 Workstations
The following guidelines are intended to foster the health and safety of
employees who spend long periods of time seated at workstations and
working at keyboards.
Sitting at Workstations
Make sure that your employees adjust workstation chairs (within their limits)
to allow the following posture when seated:
Body and head erect.
Upper arms vertical.
Lower arms comfortably horizontal.
Wrists on an even line with the forearms.
Thighs comfortably horizontal.
Lower legs vertical.
Feet on floor or footrest.
When using footrest, chair adjusted so that elbows are at the height of
the keyboard’s home row.
Make sure that your employees observe the following when using the
When the height of the keyboard can be adjusted, see that the home
row is at about elbow height and that keying can be performed with the
wrist on an even line with the forearm. The elbow should be at
approximately a 90-degree angle.
When the height of the keyboard cannot be adjusted, set the chair
height so that the elbow is approximately the same height as the home
row and the wrist is on an even line with the forearm.
General Safety Rules and Regulations
June 2008
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
Try to keep hands straight (aligned with forearms) and move arms with
hands while keying.
Use wrist rest when not keying.
Make sure that your employees observe the following guidelines for using the
Adjust screen to be a suitable distance (18 to 24 inches) from eyes,
with the top of the screen at (or a little below) eye level. (Precise
placement depends on visual acuity and corrective eyewear.)
Adjust image color, brightness, and contrast. When possible, select
white or a light color for background and a dark color for text.
Position screen to keep the field of vision free from glare sources, such
as overhead lights and light-colored clothing.
Clean screen periodically to eliminate smudges and dust.
If footrests are provided, instruct employees to adjust them to maintain
support of thighs and lower legs. Keeping feet flat and thighs horizontal
provides additional support for feet and legs.
Work Practices
To minimize reaching, instruct your employees to place frequently used
objects (such as papers and the mouse) as close to each other as possible.
Encourage your employees to rest their eyes periodically. They should:
Blink and look away from the screen.
Stand up and stretch.
Perform eye exercises such as:
Palming — cup hands over closed eyes, with elbows resting on a
table. Repeat two to three times a day for five minutes. The
darkness and warmth of the palms rests the eyes.
Focusing — hold one pencil 6 inches in front of the face with one
hand and another pencil at arm’s length with the other hand.
Focus on one, blink, then focus on the other. Repeat for a few
minutes and practice twice a day to improve ability to focus.
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Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
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Appendix A
Frequently Used Acronyms
American National Standards Institute
bulk mail center
Code of Federal Regulations
Chemical Transportation Emergency Center
continuation of pay
Department of Labor
Emergency Action Plan
Employee and Labor Relations Manual
Eastern Region mail container
Federal Employees’ Compensation Act
Fire Prevention Plan
general purpose mail container
General Services Administration
hazardous materials
job safety analysis
management instruction
maintenance management order
multipurpose container (GPMC, ERMC, Post Cons)
material safety data sheet
motorized transport equipment
neighborhood delivery and collection box unit
National Fire Protection Association
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
over-the-road container
Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
powered industrial truck
powered industrial vehicle
personal protective equipment
Postal Service (use this acronym only to identify forms)
pounds per square inch
standard form
senior maintenance official
standard operating procedure
Underwriters Laboratories
vehicle maintenance facility
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Appendix B
Local Safety Policy and Procedures
Insert your local facility’s safety policy and procedures here.
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Appendix C
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Insert local emergency telephone numbers here.
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Appendix D
Safety Reference Materials
What follows is a guide to reference materials — forms, handbooks,
manuals, posters, and other documents — that may be useful in carrying out
your responsibilities in the Postal Service’s safety program. Internet sources
are included. The list begins with the Code of Federal Regulations followed
by Postal Service, federal government, and private resources.
Consult this handbook and local policy for guidance as to which of these
materials you are required to maintain at your work site.
D-1 Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and
permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive
departments and agencies of the federal government. It is divided into
50 titles that represent broad subject areas. Each volume of the CFR is
updated once a year. The CFR can be searched online at You can also purchase individual titles through the
U.S. Government Online Bookstore at
The number before CFR is the title; the numbers following CFR stand for
chapters and sections. The titles, chapters, and sections cited in this
handbook are:
29 CFR 1904, Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and
29 CFR 1910, Occupational Safety and Health Standards.
49 CFR 300-399, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
D-2 Postal Service
PolicyNet and the Material Distribution Center
Many of the publications and forms listed here can be found on the Postal
Service PolicyNet Web site: Those available
online are marked with an asterisk. Postal Service publications can also be
ordered from the Material Distribution Center (MDC). From http://, click on Materials Service Centers. In the right-hand
column, under “Resources & Tools,” click on MDC TTOE Instructions. A
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
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Word document with instructions for ordering by touch-tone telephone will
appear. You can print the document or save it to your own computer.
*PS 1700, Accident Investigation Worksheet
*PS 1766, Hazard Warning Card
PS 1767, Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition, or Practice
PS 1769, Accident Report
*PS 1770, Mail Piece Spill or Leak Incident Report
*PS 1778, Dog Warning Card
*PS 1783, On-the-Job Safety Review/Analysis
*PS 4024, Request to Repair Roads
*PS 4056, Your Mailbox Needs Attention
PS 4565, Vehicle Repair Tag
*PS 4584, Observation of Driving Practices
PS 4707, Out of Order (tag)
Tag 44, Sack Contents Warning
*Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM), Chapter 8
*Postal Operations Manual (POM)
*HBK EL-800, Managing Contract Safety and Health Compliance
*HBK EL-801, Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
*HBK EL-802, Executive’s and Manager’s Safety Compliance Guide
*HBK EL-803, Maintenance Employee’s Guide to Safety
*HBK EL-810, OSHA Programs
*HBK EL-812, Hazardous Materials and Spill Response
*HBK EL-814, Postal Employee’s Guide to Safety
HBK M-38, Management of Rural Delivery Services
HBK MS-1, Operation and Maintenance of Real Property
HBK MS-56, Fire Prevention and Control
HBK PO-502, Container Methods
HBK PO-603, Rural Carrier Duties and Responsibilities
*HBK PO-701, Fleet Management (Section 243.4 provides information about
Item 087, Accident Report Kit.)
* Available online at
Safety Reference Materials
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Management Instructions
*MI EL-810-93-1, Confined Space Safety
*MI EL-810-2006-3, Response to Hazardous Materials Releases
*MI EL-810-96-2, Hazard Communication Programs
*MI EL-810-2000-1, Hearing Conservation Programs
*MI EL-810-2000-2, Bloodborne Disease Exposure Control Plans
*MI EL-810-2001-1, Personal Protective Equipment and Respiratory
Protection Programs
*MI EL-830-1999-5, Control of Asbestos Exposure From Brake and Clutch
Repair and Service
*MI EL-850-2001-2, Emergency Evacuation and Fire Prevention
*MI EL-890-2007-2, Asbestos-Containing Building Materials Control Program
*MI EL-890-2007-4, Lead Hazard Management
NOT 38, Approaches to Curbside Mailboxes
*NOT 76, Expanded Vehicle Safety Check
*POS 37, It’s What’s Inside and How It’s Packed
POS 76, Some Things Were Never Meant to Be Mailed
*POS 138, Keep the Mail Safe
*POS 173, Secure That Load
*POS 181-A, Double Satchel Features
*PUB 129, Safety Talks
*PUB 174, How to Avoid Dog Bites; Dogs and Dog Repellent
* Available online at
Safety Resources and the Safety Toolkit
The Safety Resources page on the Postal Service Intranet is your portal to a
wealth of information and tools for safety management. Go to In the left column, under “Essential Links,” click on
Safety Resources. You will find links to information on safety program
management, accident reduction, emergency evacuation, and frequently
used documents. The two sites described below are especially useful to
safety managers:
Safety Smart! is an online source of information on topics such as
electrical hazards, lockouts, fire, horseplay, housekeeping, materials
handling, chemicals, and general safety. The site provides access to
newsletters, magazines, posters, and clip art related to safety.
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Safety Toolkit is an online, interactive management tool for safety
personnel. They use the toolkit to record and track facility inspections,
Program Evaluation Guides (PEGs), and OSHA citations. To reach the
toolkit from the Safety Resources Page, click on Toolkit Information,
found on the left column. To use the Safety Toolkit, you must set up an
account with a password (available only to safety personnel).
Instructions are provided on the Safety Toolkit Web site.
Maintenance Technical Support Center
The Postal Service’s Maintenance Technical Support Center (MTSC) is the
resource for help with broken equipment, technical questions, and software
needs. Go to and you’ll find lists of equipment and
handbooks and instructions for ordering parts. By entering the document
number in the “search” box on the MTSC home page you can obtain the
following documents:
MMO 027-95, Automation, Mechanization, and Building Machinery and
Equipment Lockout Procedures.
MMO 8-86, Testing of Electrical Tools.
D-3 Department of Labor
Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), Department of
Labor (DOL), administers disability compensation programs that provide
wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation, and
other benefits to certain workers who experience work-related injury or
occupational disease.
Several forms discussed in this handbook are available online from OWCP.
Go to Under “Find It!” click on Forms, then click on Forms by
Agency. Then click on ESA-Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
DFEC (ESA-OWCP-DFEC). Click on any of these forms:
CA-1, Federal Employee’s Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for
Continuation of Pay/Compensation.
CA-2, Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation.
CA-10, What A Federal Employee Should Do When Injured At Work.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), DOL, works to
ensure the safety and health of America’s workers by setting and enforcing
standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing
partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety
and health.
The following OSHA posters are available online. Go to In the
right column, under “Find It! in DOL,” “Compliance Assistance,” click on
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3000, Employers Rights and Responsibilities Following an OSHA
3021, Employee Workplace Rights.
3075, Controlling Electrical Hazards.
3120, Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout).
3165, Job Safety and Health Protection (English).
3167, Job Safety and Health Protection (Spanish).
You can also order OSHA posters from:
PO BOX 37535
WASHINGTON DC 20013-7535
Telephone: 202 693-1888
D-4 Department of Health and Human Services
National Institute for Occupational Safety and
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is
responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the
prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and
Human Services. The NIOSH Web page takes you to helpful links. Go to
D-5 Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has a Transportation Safety Institute
with links to sites on highway safety and transportation of hazardous
materials. DOT’s special programs include providing officials who can speak
to your employees about highway safety. Go to
D-6 Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides information about
hazardous waste, pesticide safety, air quality standards, and pollution
protection. Go to From the left side of the home page click on
Programs. From there you’ll find links for topics of interest. To get the
contact information for a local EPA official, click on Regions.
Supervisor’s Safety Handbook
Handbook EL-801
Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through May 1, 2014
D-7 General Services Administration
Standard Forms (SFs) are available from the General Services Administration
(GSA). To access SF 91, Motor Vehicle Accident Report, go to
In the left column, under “Forms Library,” click on Standard Forms.
D-8 National Fire Protection Association
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes NFPA 101, Life
Safety Code®; NFPA 70, National Electrical Code®, and other materials on
fire safety. Go to
D-9 Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit,
product-safety testing and certification organization. UL has developed more
than 800 Standards for Safety. For general information, go to
UL provides a detailed summary of each standard. Go to Click on Catalog of Standards, then
UL Standards for Safety. A list of standards, which you can search by
name or number, will appear. To purchase UL standards, go to www.comm- The following standards are discussed in this handbook:
UL 58, Standard for Steel Underground Tanks for Flammable and
Combustible Liquids.
UL 142, Standard for Steel Aboveground Tanks for Flammable and
Combustible Liquids.