United States Department of Labor

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July 31, 2014
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By The Numbers By The Numbers: 58% of workplace accommodations cost nothing. The rest typically cost around $500.

Work In Progress: The Best of Our Blog

Each week, this space will bring you the best from our (Work in Progress) blog.

A Bold Idea Endures: 50 Years of Job Corps: Aug. 20 will mark the half-century anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's signing of the Economic Opportunity Act in 1964, which created Job Corps. Here, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Portia Wu writes about the early days of the program and how it has evolved over time to keep pace with a rapidly changing economy.

Protecting Workers & Preventing Unfair Competition: While not a commonly used part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the law's "hot goods" provision is a significant tool in the Wage and Hour Division's enforcement repertoire. Wage and Hour Administrator David Weil describes how the provision helps protect workers and employers from unfair competition and exploitive labor practices.

A New Day for Miners' Health: Black lung is "a preventable disease that we in the mining community can mark for extinction," writes Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main in this overview of a new rule that will provide immediate protection for miners and eliminate loopholes that have masked overexposure to high coal dust levels for years. It takes effect on Aug. 1.

DOL A to Z
S: Silica

This week's phrase is Silica. Found in the air in some workplaces, crystalline silica particles can cause lung cancer, silicosis and other serious diseases when inhaled. It kills hundreds and sickens thousands of workers every year.

Learn More About Silica
Watch Frances Perkins on Silica Hazards
See All the A-Z Terms

Honoring Latino Leaders

Washington, DC - Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez attended the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Event celebrating Latino Cabinet members. Click for a larger photo.

The room was filled with local leaders, elected officials, congressional staff and interns from across the country on July 28 to honor the Latino leaders serving in the Cabinet, including Secretary Perez. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute brought together Perez, newly sworn in Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Administrator of the Small Business Administration Maria Contreras-Sweet, and Director of the Office of Personnel Management Katherine Archuleta to not only recognize the historic diversity in the Cabinet but salute the institute's interns as the future Latino leaders of the nation. Perez told a crowd of about 200 people that "the president wants to make sure everyone has access to the opportunities that will allow them to punch their ticket to the middle class. That's why he wants to provide access to good jobs that pay fair wages."

Apprenticeship Expansion

During a meeting of the National Governor's Association in Louisville, Ky., on July 30, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Portia Wu discussed the Obama administration's recent proposals on job-driven training. Wu focused on the effort to expand apprenticeship that the president called for during his State of the Union address earlier this year. As part of an effort to double the number of apprenticeship programs in the next 5 years, the department will invest $100 million. The grant, to be announced later this year, will help expand apprenticeship into new industries and modernize the program to meet the needs of workers and employers.

Equal Opportunity on a Global Scale

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia A. Shiu (center) speaks at the Minority Corporate Counsel Association's conference on July 24, 2014. From left to right: Larry Turner from Morgan Lewis, Jennifer Prioleau from Hewlett-Packard, Shiu, Derek Cantey from Wells Fargo and Ana Iacovetta from IBM. Photo courtesy of MCCA. Click for a larger photo.

Navigating issues of diversity and inclusion is an increasingly complex challenge for employers confronting different laws and customs in the countries where they do business. On July 24, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia A. Shiu addressed the Minority Corporate Counsel Association's "Creating Pathways to Diversity" conference in Washington, D.C. Approximately 50 conference participants attended the session, where Shiu underscored the responsibility of federal contractors to comply with U.S. equal opportunity laws, even when doing business abroad. "You always hire and promote the most qualified person for the job," said Shiu. "But you have to cast a wide net to be sure that you are finding that qualified worker from a wide array of background and experiences."

Home Care Outreach

As part of its continuing effort to assist stakeholders who are implementing the home care final rule, officials from the department met with members of the National Council on Independent Living on July 27 in Washington, D.C. NCIL advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities. Laura A. Fortman, deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division; Michael Hancock, assistant administrator for policy; and Jennifer Brand, associate solicitor for the Division of Fair Labor Standards, provided an overview of the final rule. According to Fortman, the department remains committed to implementation of the final rule in a manner that achieves two goals. "One, expand wage protections for direct care workers; and two, ensure that Medicaid participants and their families continue to have access to the critical community services supporting innovative models of care that help people with disabilities and elderly people live in the community," she said.

Learn About the Final Rule
Get Guidance on Joint Employment

Celebrating Intern Achievements

The Workforce Recruitment Program helps connect employers with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities. On July 28, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez participated in an awards ceremony celebrating 2014 WRP participants who have spent their summers interning in the federal sector. "You should be very proud of your association with the WRP, because WRP internships lay the groundwork for employment and empowerment," she said. The program is co-sponsored by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Department of Defense's Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity.

Learn More About the WRP

Connecting Veterans to Training

When SAP National Security Services Inc., sought military veterans for a three-month training program, it turned to the Veterans' Employment and Training Service for help. The software and systems firm developed the course in supply chain management and resource planning in order to fill positions with SAP-certified consultants. Through its American Job Center network, VETS identified veterans looking for careers with skills that matched the needs of SAP, and then worked with SAP to select the best candidates for the course. Seventeen veterans entered the program and graduated in mid-May with a "SAP-certified Associate" credential. That led to employment offers from various companies and government agencies. Based on this successful partnership, VETS is again assisting SAP with recruitment of veterans, this time for a training course on business intelligence that begins in September.

Find Training Resources for Veterans

24 Years of ADA

Twenty-four years ago, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, an important piece of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. On July 26, people across the nation recognized the anniversary of this landmark law, which continues to shape the department's work with disability employment issues. "The ADA underpins all we do," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.

Read the Blog Post

Pact on Filipino Outreach

Nettie Lewis, district director in Nashville, Tn.,  Arlene Tullid-Magno, first secretary and consul of the Philippine Embassy in DC, Debra Brown, assistant district director, Atlanta, Ga., sign the formalized agreement. Click for a larger photo.

The Atlanta and Nashville district offices of the Wage and Hour Division have formalized an agreement with the Embassy of the Philippines to educate Filipino workers in Georgia and Tennessee about the laws enforced by the division. The agreement was signed by Nettie Lewis, Nashville district director; Debra Brown, Atlanta assistant district director; and Arlene Tullid-Magno, first secretary and consul of the Republic of the Philippines. More than 300 laborers, military families and professionals attended the July 19 signing in Augusta, Ga.

Meeting at Chinese Consulate

Los Angeles Wage and Hour Investigator Xin Lee provides presentation to more than 75 Chinese Overseas Investment Enterprises and small business attendees at a comprehensive education and outreach on labor and employment laws at the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Los Angeles July 24. Click for a larger photo.

Approximately 80 Chinese Overseas Investment Enterprises and small businesses attended a comprehensive education and outreach on labor and employment laws at the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Los Angeles on July 24. Wage and Hour representatives joined other agencies in giving presentations and answering questions from employers and human resource professionals. Consul General Liu Jian, in his welcoming address, said, "The Chinese Consulate is happy to be the bridge between Chinese enterprises and the governmental agencies to promote compliance and enhance integration to U.S. society."

Older Women and Work

A series of roundtables in Wisconsin and Minnesota united community leaders, organizations on aging, women's advocates and academics to discuss older women and work. The discussions, from July 21 to 23, identified key obstacles women face in an aging workforce and specific initiatives and supports that could help address them. "These discussions help to better understand local-area issues related to this population and provide a pathway to collaborative work to help reduce some of the barriers," said Women's Bureau Regional Administrator Grace Protos. The events were hosted by the Women's Bureau, Wisconsin Women's Commission and Minnesota Legislative Office on the Economic Status of Women.

Read the Fact Sheet

Focus on H-2A in Idaho

Emmanuel Elizondo Leon of Consulate of Mexico in Boise, addresses the participants at the H-2a outreach event in Burley, Idaho. Click for a larger photo.

In an event coordinated by the Portland District Office, Wage and Hour Division employees reached out to agricultural workers in the Burley, Idaho, area with information on securing temporary or seasonal agricultural work under the H-2A visa program. Approximately 30 Spanish-speaking workers and community advocates attended the event at the Community Council of Idaho's Community Resource Building on July 22. Several public and nonprofit agencies participated, including the Mexican Consulate, Idaho Legal Aid Services, State of Idaho Department of Labor, Community Council of Idaho, La Posada Tax Clinic and the Idaho Community Action Network.

In Support of Reservists

During a recent Employer Day at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Mass., regional public affairs director in Boston Ted Fitzgerald was honored for being a supportive employer of a reservist during an activation on base. The award was presented by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for outstanding employers who go above and beyond in ensuring that reservists are able to fulfill the mission they signed up for in their roles as military members. A few months ago, U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Andre Bowser's military supervisor deployed to Afghanistan and, as the only other public affairs officer assigned to Westover, Bowser was tapped to work extra weekends and some weekdays in support of the base's ongoing combat mission. Fitzgerald, his supervisor, made sure that office requirements were met while supporting the reservist.

Weekly UI Claims

The department reported that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance claims was 302,000 for the week ending July 26, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week's revised level. The four-week moving average was 297,250, down 3,500 from the previous week's revised average.

Read the News Release

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities

EBSA — Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business Webcast

August 6 — Washington, DC

EBSA — Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar

August 5 — Santa Fe, NM

OFCCP — AAP: Creating an Inclusive Workforce

August 7 — Houston, TX

OFCCP — Common Problem Areas for Federal Contractors

August 14 — Columbus, OH

OFCCP — Creating an Inclusive Workforce

August 7 — Omaha, NE

OFCCP — Directive 306: Joint Event with the Cara Program

August 14 — Chicago, IL

OFCCP — EXCEL: Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws

August 12 — San Diego, CA
August 13 — San Diego, CA
August 14 — San Diego, CA

OLMS — Compliance Assistance Seminar

August 5 — Nashville, TN

WHD — Emphasis on wage requirements for workers under Section 14(c) of the FLSA

August 5 — Columbia, SC

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What's New

Leveling the Playing Field for Federal Contractors

President Obama, joined on stage by Secretary Perez, delivers remarks before signing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order July 31, 2014. Watch the Video.

Protecting workers on the job by ensuring they are fairly paid and that health and safety violations do not put their lives at risk are part of the department's most critical functions. As part of his Year of Action, President Obama signed an executive order on July 31 that requires companies competing for federal contracts to disclose labor law violations and gives agencies more guidance on how to consider labor violations when awarding federal contracts. The new process imposes minimal burdens on the vast majority of companies that play by the rules. It is designed to bring more companies into compliance, not keep them from winning federal contracts. "Today's executive order is an important step to ensure that workers are protected, businesses have a fair shot to compete, and taxpayers get the best bang for their buck," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Cheaters shouldn't win, and this action ensures they won't. Everyone is welcome to compete — as long as they are willing to do so fairly."

Watch the Video
Read the Fact Sheet
Read the Blog Post

Job-Driven Training Helps Youth Achieve Career Goals

Secretary Perez (3rd from Right) and Sen. Ben Cardin (4th from Right) on their tour of the Biotechnical Institute of Maryland. Click for a larger photo.

When President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act on July 22, the goal was to expand, in part, innovative partnerships between training programs, employers and local workforce systems to prepare workers for in-demand occupations. Secretary Perez, along with Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, traveled to Baltimore on July 25 to tour the Biotechnical Institute of Maryland, a successful program that is helping struggling youth obtain high-tech training for jobs in the biotech industry. BTI is the kind of program that the WIOA legislation will help to replicate across the country. Perez then moved on to Morgan State University to participate in the 21st Century Career Counseling Data Jam, which promoted WIOA's focus on data as part of the Obama administration's broader job-driven training agenda. The event brought together technology leaders, policy experts and Baltimore-area students to identify new ideas for tools, services and apps that will help young job seekers better understand career paths and options, find impactful training opportunities, and explore new industries and occupations.

Read the Blog Post

The Path to Good Jobs Begins in School

Rossford, Ohio - Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez at the Toledo Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, learning safety procedures for working on wind turbines. Click for a larger photo.

Secretary Perez and Education Secretary Arne Duncan traveled to Toledo, Ohio, on July 29 to observe how schools become the starting point for a successful career path. They stopped by the Toledo Technology Academy, a member of the Toledo Public Schools system, that recently was awarded $3.8 million through the Youth CareerConnect grant program. The grant offers students in grades 7 through 12 an intense integrated academic and technical education, focusing on science, mathematics, language arts and social studies, and prepares students for rewarding, life-long careers in engineering or manufacturing technologies. Perez and Duncan then proceeded to the Toledo Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for a tour of its 45,000-square-foot training facilities. Apprentices at this state-of-the-art facility are trained for commercial and residential electrical careers as well as telecommunications jobs. The program is affiliated with Owens Community College, where apprenticeship graduates can apply their training toward college credit at any Ohio community college. The visit concluded with a stop at the American Job Center located at OCC.

Read the Blog Post

Job Center Prepares Inmates for Work and Second Chance

Secretary Perez visits the American Job Center housed in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds, Md. Click for a larger photo.

More than 9 million inmates are released each year from county jails across the country. One of the most successful ways to help them return to their communities is ensuring they have the skills and resources to find a good job. The Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds, Md., is one of a handful of facilities in the nation with an American Job Center housed within the jail. On July 28, Secretary Perez and Attorney General Eric Holder visited the Maryland facility and met with inmates and their career counselors who are making this program a success. During a press conference that followed, Perez announced the department's intention to launch a grant competition later this year that will replicate this model in 10 more jails around the country. "I firmly believe that one of the most effective strategies to keep our communities safe is to make sure when people get out of jail, they have a job," Perez said.

Watch the Press Conference
Listen to the NPR Story

National News

Social Security, Medicare Trustees Issue Annual Reports

Secretary Perez speaks at the release of Social Security and Medicare Trustees Annual Reports at the U.S. Treasury Department, July 28, 2014. On the stage are (L-R) Robert Reischauer, public trustee; Charles Blahous, public trustee; Secretary Perez; HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell; and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. They were joined by Acting Social Security Administration Commissioner Carolyn Colvin.  Click for a larger photo.

The Social Security and Medicare boards of trustees issued annual financial reviews of their respective programs on July 28, showing Social Security's retirement and disability programs have dedicated resources on a combined basis sufficient to cover benefits until 2033, the same year projected in last year's report. However, the trust fund available to pay disability benefits is expected to be depleted in late 2016. Unless Congress reallocates some of the future payroll tax revenue from the retirement program to the disability program, only 81 percent of disability payments can be made after asset depletion. The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will have sufficient funds to cover its obligations until 2030, four years later than was projected last year, and 13 years later than was projected in the last report issued prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act. Secretary Perez, one of the trustees, attributed the health of the programs to 52 straight months of job growth. "Our skills and training agenda — the agenda of job creation — these are critically helpful in strengthening the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds because a strong economy means a strong Social Security and Medicare system," he said.

Read Summary of the Annual Reports
Read White House Blog on Medicare

Mining Deaths Up in First Half of 2014

During the first half of 2014, 22 miners were killed in accidents in the mining industry, marking an increase in the mid-year fatality count and a reversal of the decline in fatal accidents seen in recent years. These figures were released by the Mine Safety and Health Administration on July 28. In May, MSHA launched a number of efforts, including the use of training and enforcement tools, to counteract the spike in mining deaths. In the second quarter of the year alone, 14 miners died. "These deaths should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to keep safety at the forefront at all times," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main.

Read the News Release
Get the Mid-Year Summary of Fatalities

Wage and Hour Investigators in the Fields to Protect Workers

This summer, the Wage and Hour Division is out in the fields, enforcing the law to protect the wages of agricultural workers and ensure a level playing field for growers. According to Administrator Dr. David Weil, who testified before a House panel on July 30, between Fiscal Year 2009 and FY 2013 the agency concluded nearly 7,500 investigations in agriculture, finding more than $20 million in back wages for more than 40,000 workers nationwide. Weil told lawmakers that the agency held nearly 600 outreach events during the same period to help employers understand their responsibilities. "We recognize the importance of the U.S. agricultural industry and the critical role it plays in not only putting food on our tables but also creating jobs and helping our nation's economy prosper," Weil said. "When used carefully, outreach and enforcement tools, including the 'hot good' provision, can achieve the Fair Labor Standards Act's objective of providing a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."

Read Blog Post on Protecting Workers
Read Blog Post on Compliance Outreach

International Scene

Nearly $11 Million in Grants to Support Ethiopia, Georgia Projects

Addressing exploitative child labor practices and advancing workers' rights are the focus of two cooperative agreement solicitations announced by the Bureau for International Labor Affairs. A $10 million grant will support a project in Ethiopia that seeks to provide services to help prevent and reduce worker involvement in hazardous and exploitative labor situations. The project also will help them develop marketable skills needed to secure age-appropriate jobs. The other grant, for a $750,000 project in the country of Georgia, will advance worker rights primarily through activities that allow worker organizations to engage effectively with the government and employers.

Read the Ethiopia News Release
Read the Georgia News Release

Meeting With Human Rights Advocates in Uzbekistan

A delegation from the Bureau of International Labor Affairs returned recently from an eight-day visit to Uzbekistan, where it held a series of meetings on child labor and forced labor in the country. Led by Associate Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs Eric Biel, the delegation represented the first-ever department visit to the country. In the profile on Uzbekistan in its most recent "Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor" report, ILAB noted that the "worst forms of child labor persist, particularly in the cotton harvest," despite the government's 2012 Decree and Action Plan on Additional Measures to address such practices. Uzbekistan and the International Labour Organization recently signed a Decent Work Country Program agreement designed to address child labor, forced labor, and other labor rights and working conditions. The ILAB delegation briefed senior ILO officials in advance of an upcoming two-day ILO roundtable meeting with the Uzbek government, and it will also meet with a group of labor rights and other advocacy organizations in the coming days.

Learn More About ILAB in Uzbekistan

DOL Working for You

Homeless Veteran Program Keeps Former Navy Officer Afloat

Ricardo Blair. Click for a larger photo.

U.S. Navy veteran Ricardo Blair secured a job, a place to live, and restored his dignity through the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program, which is funded by the department. Upon departing the Navy after a 10-year career as a cryptologic officer aboard the USS Saratoga, Ricardo went through a divorce and several layoffs caused by the economic downturn. Unable to find work and with no family to help, he ended up sleeping in his car. With nowhere else to turn, Blair checked himself into a local Jacksonville, Fla., homeless shelter and immediately began working with veteran placement specialist James Frazier to find meaningful work. Within three months, Frazier found Blair a position with the Jacksonville Transit Authority as a bus driver. The Jacksonville HVRP helped him purchase work uniforms and supplies, and shelter employees helped him find an apartment. Blair never gave up hope and worked tirelessly with career counselors and shelter staff to regain his independence. Currently, Blair volunteers at the shelter and serves as a mentor to others facing similar circumstances. "You can't lie down and stay down. Dust yourself off and get back up," he says when encouraging others.

Learn About the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program

DOL in Action

Assistance Available for Mississippi Resort Workers

In response to the closure of Harrah's Casino Tunica resort in Tunica, Miss., the department has announced a $2.5 million grant to assist about 650 individuals who lost their jobs. The grant will provide the affected workers with access to reemployment services, such as career and skill assessments, job search assistance, supportive services and training. "The closure of this resort will have a significant economic impact on the lives of families in the area," said Secretary Perez. "This funding will help provide a wide range of reemployment services to prepare these former workers for good jobs in high-demand industries." In March, workers at Harrah's Casino Tunica were made aware by a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice that approximately 1,384 workers would lose their jobs when the resort ceased operations in June.

Read the News Release

Coal Miners Get New Protections Against Black Lung

Calling it the beginning of a healthier future for coal miners in America, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main heralded the implementation of the final rule aimed at preventing black lung, a debilitating and incurable disease. The first of three phases is effective on Aug. 1 and lowers miners' exposure to coal dust, substantially increases mine operator sampling for respirable dust, and requires immediate corrective action when an operator's sample shows excessive concentrations. "Miners can have greater confidence that the air they breathe at work will not destroy their lungs," said Main.

Read the News Release
Read the Blog Post

Cell Tower Company Cited After Collapse Kills Three

Following the collapse of a Clarksburg, W.Va., communication tower in February that killed two employees and a volunteer firefighter, Oklahoma-based S and S Communication Specialists Inc. was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two serious workplace safety violations. The company was contracted to perform structural modifications to an existing cellular communication tower, including replacing diagonal bracing and installing leg stiffeners and new guy wires on the structure. The tower collapsed while the employees were removing diagonal bracing. Thirteen workers lost their lives in the communication tower industry in 2013, more than the previous two years combined. This year, nine worker deaths have occurred in the industry to date.

Read the News Release
Read Communication Tower Directive

Georgia Contractor Fails to Provide Roofers With Fall Protection

Pablo Lopez of Norcross, Ga., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following inspections at two work sites in Milton and Smyrna, Ga., where employees were performing roofing work without fall protection. According to OSHA inspectors, the employer exposed workers to fall hazards ranging from 14 to 28 feet. The agency initiated the inspections as part of a regional emphasis program on falls in construction. Proposed penalties total $83,930.

Read the News Release

Home Depot in Chicago Faulted on Vehicle Training for Employees

Home Depot USA Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for six violations at its home improvement store in Chicago, including lack of training and maintenance for powered industrial vehicles. Proposed penalties total $110,700. "Employees at this Home Depot store used powered industrial vehicles around the clock to receive stock and transport goods to customers' vehicles. This made maintenance and operator training for these vehicles vital to employee safety," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director for Chicago North.

Read the News Release

Workers Exposed to Possible Electrocution

Employees of Massachusetts contractor P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. were exposed to possible electrocution from working close to energized power lines at a Cambridge work site. An inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that employees used a trench rod and a fiberglass pole with a metal end to lift overhead power lines, so that workers could move excavating equipment under the lines and onto the work site. OSHA cited Gioioso in 2011 for a similar hazard at a Framingham work site. Based on the employer's knowledge of the hazard, OSHA cited Gioioso for a willful violation with $69,300 in proposed fines

Read the News Release
Learn About Electrical Hazards

Myriad of Hazards Found at New York Plant

Workers at Keymark Corp.'s aluminum extruding plant in Fonda, N.Y., were exposed to the hazardous substance chromium, high noise levels and falls of up to 17 feet because of the employer's failure to provide and ensure proper safeguards. The company faces $53,000 in fines following an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Albany office. OSHA found that Keymark failed to determine workers' exposure levels to chromium and ensure that surfaces were free from chromium accumulation. Employees also were exposed to being caught in or injured by the unintended startup of machinery. Keymark failed to check that personal protective equipment, clothing and respiratory devices were provided, used and maintained in a sanitary condition, and that workers were trained to use them. OSHA cited Keymark for 11 serious violations with $53,000 in fines.

Read the News Release

Explosion at New York Plant Leads to $161,000 in Proposed Fines

Tonawanda Coke Corp. and Kirchner LLC face a total of $161,100 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines following a Jan. 31 explosion at the company's plant in Tonawanda, N.Y. The explosion, which collapsed brick walls, damaged electrical equipment and injured three employees, was caused by an overpressured coke oven manifold, which released coke oven gas in an enclosed area where it ignited. OSHA concluded that the company failed to inspect and maintain safety systems properly to ensure their effectiveness. OSHA also identified numerous chemical, mechanical and fall hazards at the plant as well as recurring hazards, such as failure to train employees in procedures for locking out machines' power sources before performing service or maintenance.

Read the News Release

Ohio Company's Culture 'Does Not Value Safety'

Packaging Corporation of America has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for eight safety violations for failing to protect workers from amputation and other serious hazards. OSHA initiated an inspection in January after receiving a complaint that workers were reaching in and trying to un-jam machines without turning off the machinery. The complaint also alleged that the company had workers standing on conveyor belts and operated forklifts without providing proper training. OSHA has proposed penalties of $111,650 for the company's Akron, Ohio, plant. "What is happening at the plant demonstrates a company culture that does not value safety and puts employees at risk each day," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland.

Read the News Release

Ohio Company Failed to Protect Workers From Moving Machine Parts

Major Metals Co. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 10 serious safety violations after receiving a complaint alleging hazards at the facility. OSHA proposed penalties of $41,300 for failing to protect workers from amputation, fall and other hazards at the Mansfield, Ohio-based steel tubing manufacturer. "Failing to protect workers from a machine's moving parts exposes them to risk of serious injuries, such as amputation and lacerations. Despite thousands of injuries each year, lack of adequate machine guarding continues to be one of the most frequently cited OSHA violations," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo.

Read the News Release

Proposed Rule Seeks to Encourage Mine Operator Accountability

In an effort to simplify the process and improve consistency, the Mine Safety and Health Administration published a proposed rule that would amend its existing civil penalty regulations. The proposal, published in the Federal Register on July 31, is structured to encourage mine operators to be more accountable and proactive in addressing safety and health conditions at their mines. Total penalties proposed by MSHA and the distribution of the penalty amount by mine size would remain generally the same; however, the penalty amount for small metal and nonmetal mines would decrease.

Read the News Release
Learn About the Proposed Rule

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