THE MAGAZINE

Mail Handling Reviewed

Mail handling procedures at the U.S. Postal Service need improvement, according to an analysis of the Postal Service’s handling of the October 2003 incident in which an envelope marked “Caution: Ricin Poison” was discovered in an airmail facility.

For example, postal inspectors or emergency responders were not consulted for 12 hours, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. In addition, the GAO found that Postal Service managers were not adequately trained

Acting Assistant Chief Inspector Zane Hill says that since the ricin incident, managers and lower-level personnel have been given more training on the proper escalation procedures and on who to call to the scene.

Managers should not be put in the position of determining whether a substance is dangerous, says Hill. That decision should be made by postal experts and first responders. @   Read the full report via SM Online.

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