Hazardous materials

The Postal Service is bolstering its efforts to safely identify, handle and deliver mailable hazardous materials.

The organization is reminding all employees to always ask customers if a parcel contains anything potentially hazardous, and to thoroughly examine every box for hazmat markings.

USPS has also improved its longstanding hazmat policies and procedures in the aftermath of recent incidents, including fires in packages with lithium batteries that exceed the 100-watt limit, and corrosive fluid and mercury spills.

These efforts include improved communication and coordination with shippers, enhanced systems to accept and process packages that contain hazardous materials, and better use of data to correct deficiencies.

Other measures include refreshed training for employees, improvements to the system used to report hazmat incidents, new signage in Post Office retail lobbies and continued work with the USPS Inspection Service to address hazmat incidents.

In November, the Postal Service is marking Hazmat Awareness Month, including distributing communications to reinforce the organization’s policies and procedures and to recognize employees for the crucial role they play in keeping the organization’s network safe.

This includes promoting the use of Poster 37, Is Your Package Safe to Mail?; Poster 298, Domestic Hazardous Materials — Warning Labels and Markings; and Poster 702, Prohibited in International Mail — Dangerous Goods Warning Labels.

Comparison shopping

To help Postal Service employees compare health plans during this year’s open season, the organization offers access to Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees.

The guide has details about all plans available through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.

The comparison tool includes information on copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs, and whether dental and vision benefits are included in specific health plans.

Checkbook has published its annual guide to federal benefits for more than 35 years.

Employees can access the guide through the Open Season LiteBlue page.

Open season, the annual period when employees can change their health coverage or enroll in a new plan, will conclude Dec. 11.