Report Air Quality Concerns at USPS Facilities

An Inspector General’s report raised concerns about ventilation and filtration systems at Postal Service facilities, finding problems in on-site inspections and saying air quality officials at Postal facilities do not are not always aware of the extent of these responsibilities.

These systems “must be maintained and functioning properly to ensure the safety of the building and its occupants. Properly functioning ventilation systems can also reduce the concentration of airborne viruses (e.g. the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19), thereby reducing the risk of airborne transmission,” he said. -he declares.

However, in a survey conducted by the IG, most of the 414 postmasters and other senior managers who responded “did not believe they had day-to-day responsibility for ventilation and filtration” – even though they did. were doing – and nearly half “were unaware of updated guidance over the past two years. These updates included “two special bulletins during the COVID-19 pandemic that provided actions to ensure that the ventilation systems were fully functional and provided actions to ensure that the ventilation systems were fully functional.These bulletins included suggestions based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase the volume of outdoor air in facilities .

One problem, the IG said, is that this advice is not directly communicated to those tasked with taking action; these bulletins were “included with COVID-19 related information and hard to find”.

Nearly half of respondents said improvements had been made to the ventilation at their facilities in the past year, including changing filters more frequently and opening doors and windows to improve ventilation. However, while almost half also said their facilities met requirements for maintenance, cleaning and regular filter changes, the IG found that significantly fewer facilities had records of this.

Additionally, an engineering firm the IG hired to assess a sample of eight retail and delivery facilities found problems in all eight, including “lack of maintenance and repairs, extremely clogged, drain pans with standing water, coils clogged with dust and debris, and closed”. outdoor air registers. Additionally, much of the equipment, although generally in fair to good condition, was near the end of its useful life and some of it was not functioning properly.

In response, the USPS promised to review its methods of communication, put in place a process to manage and monitor the maintenance of ventilation and filtration equipment, and explore the development of a system to keep an inventory. permanent use of this equipment.

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