The Postal Service provided inaccurate injury and illness reports to Congress over several years but the discrepancies did not affect any performance-related awards, an IG report has said.
USPS as a semi-corporate entity is required to file to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration the same types of reports as private sector companies on work-related injuries or illnesses that involve medical treatment beyond first aid, days away from work, or death. That “illness and injury,” or I&I, rate is one of several performance indicators in the USPS National Performance Assessment, which it uses to measure progress toward achieving performance goals.
A target rate is established each fiscal year and a snapshot of the actual rate is taken at the end of the fiscal year to determine if the performance goal was met. Results are included in the agency’s annual report to Congress.
The IG found, however, that the reports for FYs 2010 through 2014 included incorrect target rates and the reports for FYs 2013 and 2014 included incorrect actual rates. “Publishing incorrect rates in the reports gave the appearance that the Postal Service awarded salary increases and lump sum payments based on the revised rates. The Postal Service did not award salary increases and lump sum payments for FYs 2011, 2012, and 2013 due to financial difficulties,” the IG said.
“The Postal Service did award salary increases and lump sum payments in FY 2010 and 2014, based on numerous NPA goals, which included actual OSHA I&I rates and not the statistics published in the reports to Congress. We validated the accuracy of the NPA data and determined the data were sufficiently accurate. Although the Postal Service’s I&I rates were used as one of various factors to address performance, the indicators that were used were accurate and not the same erroneous rates used in the reports to Congress. Thus, these erroneous rates did not impact salary increases and lump sum payments,” it said.
It said the errors occurred because the Postal Service did not have written processes to ensure accurate data collection, validation, and reporting and did not make training for responsible employees mandatory—in a sample, nine-tenths had not completed the training. The IG recommended changes to address those issues.