During any incident involving harmful matter where there is actual or suspected damage to a mailpiece or its contents, Postal Service personnel must follow the specific procedures in Handbook EL–812, Hazardous Materials and Spill Response. The following are general guidelines:
- Isolate the damaged package immediately and restrict the area. If the incident occurs in a facility or on the equipment of an air carrier, immediately brief the carrier on the nature and quantity of the materials released.
- Contact the supervisor or designated qualified employee, who can take prompt and appropriate measures to protect life and prevent injury, loss, or damage. They will determine whether it is an incidental spill that can be handled by the facility spill and leak team or an emergency spill that will require implementation of the emergency action plan. If mail sealed against inspection must be opened for this purpose, act in accordance with ASM 274.
- Remove any injured or contaminated person from the area with as little physical contact as possible:
- Limit any first aid to what is absolutely necessary, until a qualified physician is present.
- Direct all personnel exposed to radioactive materials to wash all exposed body areas immediately with cold water and immediately report to a physician for an examination.
- If the spill is determined to be an emergency, contact the fire department, the police, a qualified physician, and/or the appropriate agencies equipped to handle specific situations.
- Avoid smoke, fumes, or dust. Segregate any clothing or tools used in fighting fires until they can be checked for contamination.
- Do not eat, smoke, or drink in the affected area.
- Do not place involved areas in service until the appropriate authorities have determined that the areas are free of all contamination.
- Notify the PCSC or Postal Service Inspection Service, as appropriate under POM 139.117–118 (see 216). A report must be made for any incident that includes damage to mail or property, or injury to personnel. PS Form 1770, Mail Piece Spill of Leak Incident Report, must be completed and forwarded in accordance with instructions on the form.
- Comply with procedures outlined in MI DM–601–05–1, Hazardous Materials Acceptance and Handling, for reporting hazardous materials incidents that occur while materials are being transported as mail aboard an aircraft.