Postal employee worked without a bathroom or water after USPS didn’t pay bills, feds say

David Zalubowski/AP

A U.S. Postal Service employee had to work at a facility with no running water or a usable bathroom after the water supply was shut off, federal labor officials say.

The postal service didn’t pay water or sanitation bills for several months at its facility in Chesapeake, Virginia, according to a Feb. 7 news release from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The lack of running water or workable bathrooms risked exposing employees to heat illness, an unsanitary work environment and the potential spread of diseases, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration wrote while issuing citations.

Now, the USPS is facing a fine of $13,840 after OSHA inspectors investigated the facility in August 2022.

“Employers must ensure a safe and healthful workplace by making sure workers have access to water for drinking and sanitation,” OSHA Norfolk area director Brian Rizzo said in a statement. “U.S. Postal Service management responsible for this facility should have acted more quickly to protect employee health.”

A USPS spokesperson declined a request for comment from McClatchy News on Feb. 7 and said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

OSHA’s inspection of the Chesapeake facility was launched after reports of no running water or accessible bathrooms, officials said.

One day after the inspection, the facility’s water supply was turned back on, according to the Department of Labor.

Now, the USPS has time to either pay the fine, request an informal meeting with Rizzo or contest the findings of OSHA’s inspection, according to the release.

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