The Resource U.S. Postal Service : better guidance is needed to improve communication should anthrax contamination occur in the future

U.S. Postal Service : better guidance is needed to improve communication should anthrax contamination occur in the future

Label
U.S. Postal Service : better guidance is needed to improve communication should anthrax contamination occur in the future
Title
U.S. Postal Service
Title remainder
better guidance is needed to improve communication should anthrax contamination occur in the future
Title variation
  • United States Postal Service
  • Better guidance is needed to improve communication should anthrax contamination occur in the future
Title variation remainder
better guidance is needed to improve communication should anthrax contamination occur in the future
Creator
Contributor
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
In 2001, letters contaminated with anthrax resulted in 23 cases of the disease, 5 deaths, and the contamination of numerous U.S. Postal Service facilities, including the Southern Connecticut Processing and Distribution Center in Wallingford, Connecticut (the Wallingford facility). GAO was asked to address, among other matters, whether (1) the Postal Service followed applicable guidelines and requirements for informing employees at the facility about the contamination and (2) lessons can be learned from the response to the facility's contamination. The Wallingford facility first tested positive for anthrax in early December 2001. The contamination was found in samples collected from four mail-sorting machines in November. Analyses of the samples produced quantified results, including about 3 million anthrax colonies, or living anthrax cells, in one of the samples. While this was far more than the amount needed to cause death, none of the employees at the facility became sick from the anthrax contamination. The Postal Service's decision not to inform workers about the number of anthrax colonies identified in December 2001 appears consistent with its guidelines because, according to the Service, it could not validate the results, as required. However, its subsequent decision not to release the results after an employee union requested all the facility's test results in January and February 2002, was not consistent with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) requirement for disclosing test results that are requested. An OSHA investigation resulted in the Service's release of the quantitative test results in September 2002--about 9 months after the results were first known. Although OSHA did not issue a regulatory citation, it expressed concern about communication deficiencies. In retrospect, the Service's decision not to release the quantitative test results in December 2001 was understandable given the challenging circumstances that existed at the time, the advice it received from public health officials, an ongoing criminal investigation, and uncertainties about the sampling methods used. However, numerous lessons can be learned from the experience, such as the need for more complete and timely information to workers to maintain trust and credibility and to help ensure that workers have essential information for making informed health decisions. Federal guidelines developed in 2002 by GSA and the National Response Team suggest that more--rather than less--information should be disclosed. However, neither the Service's guidelines nor the more recent federal guidelines fully address the communication-related issues that developed in Wallingford. For example, none of the guidelines specifically require the full disclosure of quantified test results. Likewise, OSHA's regulations do not require employers to disclose test results to workers unless requested, which assumes that workers are aware of the test results and know about this requirement
Cataloging source
GPO
Government publication
federal national government publication
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
  • dictionaries
  • bibliography
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/organizationName
United States
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
United States Postal Service
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • United States Postal Service
  • United States Postal Service
  • Anthrax
  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Bioterrorism
  • Anthrax
  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Bioterrorism
  • United States
Label
U.S. Postal Service : better guidance is needed to improve communication should anthrax contamination occur in the future
Instantiates
Publication
Note
  • Title from title screen (viewed Nov. 22, 2003)
  • "April 2003."
  • Paper version available from: General Accounting Office, 441 G St., NW, Rm. LM, Washington, D.C. 20548
  • "GAO-03-316."
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
online resource
Carrier category code
cr
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Color
mixed
Content category
text
Content type code
txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
unknown
Extent
1 online resource
Form of item
online
Media category
computer
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
c
Note
Hein Online
Specific material designation
remote
System control number
  • (OCoLC)53712425
  • (OCoLC)ocm53712425
System details
Mode of access: Internet from GAO web site. Address as of 11/22/03: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03316.pdf; current access available via PURL
Label
U.S. Postal Service : better guidance is needed to improve communication should anthrax contamination occur in the future
Publication
Note
  • Title from title screen (viewed Nov. 22, 2003)
  • "April 2003."
  • Paper version available from: General Accounting Office, 441 G St., NW, Rm. LM, Washington, D.C. 20548
  • "GAO-03-316."
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references
Carrier category
online resource
Carrier category code
cr
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Color
mixed
Content category
text
Content type code
txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
unknown
Extent
1 online resource
Form of item
online
Media category
computer
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
c
Note
Hein Online
Specific material designation
remote
System control number
  • (OCoLC)53712425
  • (OCoLC)ocm53712425
System details
Mode of access: Internet from GAO web site. Address as of 11/22/03: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03316.pdf; current access available via PURL

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