Washington: With two postal workers confirmed dead of anthrax and
more than 2,000 being tested for exposure at press time, internal
communications at the US Postal Service (USPS) has gone into high
The public/private agency has 800,000 people on its payroll, making it
the second-largest US employer behind Wal-Mart.
David West, writer/editor of USPS publications, said the postal service
added breaking news updates as needed to its existing employee outreach
mechanisms. Internal media includes two electronic newsletters, intranet
and internet postings, broadcast fax, and a round-the-clock cafeteria
and break-room TV service.
A six-month-old toll-free phone service is now offering abbreviated
information from other publications. Supervisors have also been given
daily, mandatory stand-up talks to deliver to workers.
The message in all media is that the mail is generally safe.
"Statistically, the possibility of coming in contact with anthrax is
remote," said West. "It's all about repetitive, persuasive
West said employees are being told the USPS is protecting its workers
and the American public through education, investigation, intervention,
and prevention. He said more then 1,000 inspectors have been deployed in
postal plants to be highly visible, answer questions, and investigate
any illegal activity involving mail.
Employees are also being told of new operating procedures, such as
irradiation, stronger anti-bacterial chemical cleaners, masks and
gloves, and a change in equipment cleaning from blowers to vacuum
cleaners. Two weeks ago, field command centers were established for
employees to call if they are admitted or seek admission to a hospital.