Washington D.C. - Today Senator Mike Enzi's bill S. 2112, the Postal Employees Safety Enhancement Act, was passed unanimously by the Senate.
If passed by the House and signed by President Clinton the United States Postal Service will be required by law to pay penalties issued to them by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Senator Enzi believes that government should play by its own rules and the Postal Service is no exception. The bill would result in a safer working environment for the more than 800,000 postal employees. Moreover, he believes this bill would drastically cut the Post Office's annual contribution to their workers compensation program. For the past five years the Postal Service costs in worker compensation have amounted to almost one-third of the federal program's $1.8 billion price tag.
"This bill does not expand OSHA's authority to inspect the Postal Service or even issue citations when something is amiss. What this bill does do though, is make those inspections already being conducted and citations already being issued, mean something more than lip service. If the Postal Service has to pay for its problems, the problems will get fixed," said Enzi. "We started with the Postal Service because of the scope of its problems and its size, but I believe workers in other government agencies and the nation as a whole would benefit from the government having to live by its own rules."
In addition, the bill would prevent the Postal Service from closing or consolidating rural post offices or services simply because it's required to comply with OSHA. Enzi feels that the
quality of the service it provides should not decrease because of efforts to protect and ensure employee safety and health. Along the same lines, the bill would prevent the Postal Rate Commission from raising the price of stamps to help the Postal Service pay for potential OSHA fines.
"The Postal Service should offset the potential for OSHA fines by improving workplace conditions which would decrease its annual $500 million expenditure on workers' compensation claims," said Enzi.
Senator Enzi feels confident that the bill will benefit the Postal Service, its employees and eventually other government workers.
"This is an incremental bill that I hope will lead to all government agencies eventually living under their own rules, spawning a safer, more efficient government," said Enzi.