Helping hand

The Postal Service is providing customers with additional options for shipping hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes, two products that are widely being used during the coronavirus pandemic.

Most hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes recommended for use during the outbreak contain ethanol or isopropanol alcohol, which are considered flammable hazardous materials in transportation and are subject to mailing restrictions.

Hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes that do not contain alcohol are not regulated as hazardous materials and are allowed in the mailstream.

Shippers that meet certain criteria can request an air-eligible ethanol-based authorization or a special exception to increase the quantity of these products allowed by USPS Product Classification.

If the exception or valid authorization is granted, shippers must present a copy of the approval letter from Product Classification detailing the applicable mailing requirements on the first mailing of these items at each postal facility. Postal facilities should maintain a copy of the USPS approval letter on file for future reference.

Additionally, the shipper must make sure the outer package has text marking the contents, followed by a unique authorization number beginning with HSA, HSB, HSD, HSE or HSS

Retail Digest’s April 7 special edition has more information.

For additional details, refer to Publication 52 Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, Appendix C, Packaging Instruction 3A or 3D.

Employees who have questions should email the USPS Pricing and Classification Service Center at or Product Classification at

Employees should report any improper hand sanitizer mailings to

Reaching out

The Postal Service wants to gauge how it can assist businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

On April 8, the organization will send a COVID-19 response email to its small-business customers, as well as medium-sized firms.

The email will provide an overview of the actions USPS is taking in response to the pandemic; educate customers on precautionary measures to keep employees and customers safe; assure customers that they can expect continued quality service; link to resources for customers to stay updated on potential service disruptions and operational changes; and link to a brief, voluntary survey to help USPS identify how it can support businesses and their customers.

Businesses that reply to the email will receive an automated reply with additional information.

The USPS business customer support centers will also contact some customers by phone.

The email campaign is part of the Postal Service’s ongoing effort to support businesses and consumers as it continues normal operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Private eyes

The Postal Service wants employees to know that Zoom, the new teleconferencing platform the organization uses, features enhanced security to protect online meetings from unauthorized participants.

Recent news reports have cited security flaws in Zoom’s commercial version, which has become a popular video conferencing option for many users sheltered in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

The flaws could allow unauthorized individuals to gain access to video meetings and other information, according to reports.

However, the version of Zoom that USPS uses is different from the one mentioned in the news.

First, the Postal Service has configured Zoom to automatically add a password to all meetings.

Second, the USPS version of Zoom is certified under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRamp), a government-wide program that provides a standardized security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring of products and services like Zoom.

While the FedRamp-certified version of Zoom offers enhanced security features, postal employees can further strengthen meeting security by following these tips:

  • Enable Zoom’s waiting room option to keep participants locked out meetings until admitted by the host
  • Lock meetings after all participants have joined
  • Limit “sharing privileges” to the host only

Meeting hosts also have the option to remove unwanted participants.

The Zoom conferencing Blue page has additional security tips and information.

Cause for celebration

The Postal Service has released a video that shows highlights from the Feb. 14 dedication ceremony for the new Let’s Celebrate! stamp.

The video shows Janice Walker, the organization’s corporate communications vice president, discussing one of her favorite causes for celebration: USPS employees.

“I love to celebrate our Postal Service employees and the hard work that they do, each and every day, delivering our mail and packages across the country. I love to celebrate their sense of service and their dedication to the community and to each other,” she says.

The stamp, which features brightly colored circles arranged in a random pattern to resemble a burst of confetti, was dedicated at a stamp show in Mesa, AZ.

The video also shows remarks from Elizabeth Hisey of Women Exhibitors, part of the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors.

“This stamp is sure to add a dash of celebration on greeting cards, invitations and envelopes,” she says.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

Scanning snapshot. The Postal Service’s national scanning rating was 97.21 percent during the week ending April 3, down from 97.39 percent one week earlier and the third consecutive week that the number fell.

Among the seven areas, only No. 5-ranked Pacific improved its standing during the week. Pacific’s rating was 97.04 percent, up about one-third of a percentage point from one week earlier.

Most of the 67 districts saw their numbers drop, too. The exceptions include No. 62-ranked Santa Ana, which scored a rating of 96.16 percent, up 1.56 percent from one week earlier, and No. 66-ranked Los Angeles, where the rating was 94.98 percent, an improvement of 1.12 percent from a week ago.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.”

Southern stories. The Postal Service recently mailed Southern Area Update’s latest issue to employees in the area.

This edition, which is also available on Blue and LiteBlue, features articles about local stamp dedication ceremonies, workplace safety programs and more.

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