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May 3, 2012
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Our Third Secretary Was a First

United States Department of Labor: 1913-2013 - 100 Years. Then, Now, Next.

William Doak, our nation's third secretary of labor, served from December 9, 1930, to March 4, 1933. An official with the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen (and editor of the union's magazine), Doak was the first secretary of

Secretary Doak (seated) examines a Television receiver with his secretary W.W. King.
labor born in the United States. (The first secretary, William Wilson was born in Scotland; the second, James Davis was born in Wales.) He's also the first and only journalist to serve in the job. He had better luck as a journalist than he did as a politician. He was an unsuccessful congressional candidate from the Sixth District of Virginia in 1920 and lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 1924.

Honor For Ayers

Secretary Solis inducts Mark Ayres, president of the BCTD, into the Labor Hall of Honor at the event. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

Mark H. Ayers, the recently deceased president of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, has been inducted into the Department of Labor's Hall of Honor, Secretary Solis announced on May 1, during the BCTD's National Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. More than 3,000 union construction workers and leaders attended. In a heartfelt speech, Solis said, "Mark was the quintessential builder. He built coalitions, consensus and a great movement for workplace fairness. He stood proudly on the side of working people. President Obama and I were proud to stand with him. Mark shared our belief that this is a critical moment for working families and for our country. And his voice was instrumental to helping us meet it."

#CC2C Keeps Rolling

As part of the ongoing Community College to Career tour, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Training Jane Oates accompanied Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Biden, for visits to two campuses highlighting the growing role of community colleges as innovative training centers. At Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Mo., they visited the Penn Valley Health Science Institute to learn about MoHealthWINs, a statewide program funded by the department to help colleges develop coursework to meet employer needs in the health services sector. From there it was on to northwest Indiana, home of Ivy Tech Community College, which offers a unique dual credit program that allows current high school students to earn college credit and learn important trade skills through the Steelworker for the Future program. Both of the visits put an important spotlight on the role that employer partnerships play in ensuring access to a trained workforce ready to meet the needs of quickly changing modern industries.

Auto Industry Picking Up Speed

The auto industry is rebounding and with that comes more jobs for American workers. Still, despite the increase in automotive manufacturing jobs, many positions remain unfilled because the available workforce lacks certain skills. That was the message Executive Director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers Jay Williams brought this week to the White House African American Policy Forum in Las Vegas. Panel participants included David Hinson, director of the Minority Business Administration, Department of Commerce; Tricia Kerney-Willis, manager of training and outreach, Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the Department of Treasury; and William Jawando, deputy director of strategic outreach, Department of Education. In November 2011, the White House hosted the first African American Policy Conference with the president and administration officials. Following the 2011 conference, local elected officials, stakeholders, faith leaders and members of Congress have hosted their own conferences around the country.

Community Jobs Forum

Participants included (from left) Linda Woloshansky, Ken Bennett; Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Byron Zuidema, and Dennis Wimer. 
                      Click on the photo for a larger image and detailed caption.

The department participated in a community jobs forum in Gary, Ind., with Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and community stakeholders last week. Secretary of Labor Regional Representative Ken Bennett provided an overview of the administration's investments in jobs and related community priorities, and Employment and Training Administration Regional Administrator Byron Zuidema discussed ETA programs and priorities delivered through partnerships with state and local workforce systems, including discretionary grant opportunities. He also highlighted several recent priorities, including the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011, Veterans Gold Card, VOW to Hire Heroes Act, and the American Jobs Act. The event also featured a round-table conversation with the mayor and key staff, a representative of Indiana Workforce Development and the local WorkOne Center as well as a public information session facilitated by Shelley Gordon of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Stacy O'Keefe of ETA.

Tuning Up Partnerships

It was a busy day of partnership building in Nashville. On May 2, the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships began the day hosting a Job Clubs Roundtable with the Nashville Career Advancement Center at the Goodwill Industries Career Solutions Center. At the session, a group of local churches, nonprofits and government agencies discussed how job clubs are helping Tennesseans get back to work. In the afternoon, CFBNP Deputy Director Ben Seigel served on a panel at the United Way Community Leaders Conference, where he discussed the department's grant programs. He was joined by leaders of the Denver and Cincinnati United Way organizations who discussed their ability to facilitate local partnerships in applying for government grants.

Highlighting Needs of Older Workers

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates this week joined Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee to address national public policy implications of the maturing workforce at the "Tapping Mature Talent: Policies For a 21st Century Workforce" event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Oates discussed ways that employers, workers, the education and training community and public policymakers can improve the retraining and re-employment prospects of older workers. She also talked about the department's efforts to help the workforce system become more effective, particularly in serving diverse demographic groups and achieving closer involvement between training providers and employers. Ray Marshall, former secretary of labor, also addressed the group, and highlighted the value of mature workers.

Spriggs At NAACP

Dr. William Spriggs address the NAACP Region II Training Conference in Elizabeth, NJ. Click on the photo for a larger image and caption.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy Dr. Bill Spriggs addressed the NAACP's Region II training conference in Elizabeth, N.J., last week and spoke about the administration's efforts to improve the economic outlook for African Americans and other underserved communities. Spriggs discussed how Labor Department initiatives are creating a path to employment for many who have been on the sidelines since the start of the recession. Programs such as Summer Jobs+ are helping to reduce high unemployment rates for African American youth, while programs like Reintegration of Ex-Offenders is breaking down barriers faced by many young people.

Employment First

Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez with representatives from Tennessee. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy hosted leaders from the four states selected to participate in ODEP's pilot program to promote community-based integrated employment opportunities for people with the most significant disabilities. Assistant Secretary of Labor Kathy Martinez, the head of ODEP, welcomed the attendees to the April 27 kick-off meeting of the Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program. Integrated employment refers to jobs held by people with disabilities in typical workplace settings where the majority of employees do not have disabilities, and where the workers with disabilities earn at least the minimum wage and are paid directly by the employer.

Career Tips From the Top

Secretary Solis met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellows. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

Secretary Solis hosted young professionals and staff from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities on May 1 to discuss the important work of the Department of Labor as well as provide career advice. The group of young professionals included recent college graduates and graduates from masters' and professional programs in law, public health and education who have worked in congressional and federal offices for the last nine months. Among those joining the secretary for the discussion were Senior Counselor Irasema T. Garza, Chief Economist Adriana Kugler, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Michael L. Davis.

Save Before it's Too Late

Moderator M. Alexis Scott (left), publisher of the Atlanta Daily World, listens as Phyllis Borzi answers audience questions. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

The department's Employee Benefits Security Administration last week teamed with the Economics Department at Spelman College to host the forum, "African Americans and Retirement: What You Should Know Before It's Too Late." The event offered tools and strategies for managing retirement savings and informed the audience of potential pitfalls in the retirement marketplace. African Americans are just as likely as other groups to work for an employer that offers a retirement plan, but less likely to participate. The event was kicked off by Spelman President Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. Assistant Secretary of Labor Phyllis C. Borzi discussed what to watch out for when investing retirement savings. The afternoon featured four speakers split into two panels, focusing on the investment marketplace and the savings challenges that face women, who are in and out of the workforce more often than men over the course of a career and save less as a result. The forum was the second in a series of free public retirement forums hosted by EBSA.

Historic Visit to Tribal Conference

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates addressed the Indian and Native American grantee community and tribal leaders at the 33rd National Indian and Native American Employment and Training Conference in Marksville, La., last week. The conference was hosted by the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana and focused on the challenges facing the American Indian, Alaskan and Hawaiian Native workforce. Topics included education, youth services, and the implementation of Career Pathways strategies. The visit by Oates marked the first time in the conference's 33-year history that an assistant secretary has addressed the attendees in person. In addition, Special Assistant to the Secretary Jeremy Bishop led a Tribal Consultation Policy listening session with tribal leaders. The department's Tribal Consultation Policy was recently submitted to the Federal Register for public comment.

International Workers' Day

WHD's Al Villoch answers questions about federal labor laws. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

Tuesday, May 1, was International Workers' Day and Anna Rodriguez of the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration and Al Villoch of the Wage and Hour Division traveled to the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta to inform workers of their rights under U.S. labor laws governing pay and benefit plans. Both gave presentations in Spanish and answered questions from workers. "American workers' rights are best protected when all workers receive their legally entitled compensation," said Isabel Colon, director of the regional EBSA office in Atlanta. Oliver Peebles III, regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division in Atlanta added that "the Labor Department is committed to ensuring that no worker is exploited by employers who may try to take advantage of their vulnerable situation."

Keeping Up With the Labor Market

Understanding the dynamics of the labor market is key to developing the best policies to help get unemployed Americans back to work, according to the Labor Department's chief economist, Dr. Adriana Kugler. In a recent panel discussion on "The Future of Work," organized by the Carnegie Endowment, Kugler highlighted policies that have helped to address short- and long-term economic challenges, including initiatives to smooth transitions from school to work, such as the Summer Jobs+ program and the Community College to Career Fund proposal.

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities

EBSA — COBRA Compliance Workshop

EBSA — Getting It Right...Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities

EBSA — Health Benefits Coverage Under Federal Law Workshop

EBSA — Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar

MSHA — Mine Rescue Summit

OFCCP — 11th Annual Women Empowered Conference

OFCCP — OFCCP- Building Community and Veteran Partnerships

OFCCP — OFCCP- Community Based Education & Outreach

OFCCP — Community Based Organizations Roundtable Collaboration

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance for First Time Supply and Service Contractors

OFCCP — Construction Seminar

OFCCP — Developing Written Affirmative Action Programs

OFCCP — OFCCP and Industry Liaison Group

OFCCP — Community Based Education and Outreach

OFCCP — Community Outreach and Education Event

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance Seminar

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance Seminar for Construction Contractors

OFCCP — OFCCP and Industry Liaison Group

OFCCP — Service and Supply Seminar

OFCCP — Service and Supply Compliance Assistance Seminar for First Time Contractors

OFCCP — Technical Assistance Seminar

OFCCP — Women in Non-Traditional Occupations

OFCCP — Workplace Accommodations

OLMS — Compliance Assistance

OLMS — Compliance Seminar

OSHA — Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health Meeting

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What's New

Introducing the New Summer Jobs+ Bank

Secretary Solis and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter take a photo with youth who attended the press conference. View the Slideshow for more images and detailed captions.

With summer soon approaching, Secretary Solis traveled to Philadelphia to join Mayor Michael Nutter in announcing the launch of the Summer Jobs+ Bank – a new online search tool to help connect young people to jobs, internships and other employment opportunities. Since President Obama's call to action in January, public and private organizations have stepped up to make nearly 300,000 summer opportunities available to help address the record unemployment rate for the nation's youth. "As a pathway to careers, summer employment is critical to the success of young people, good for business, and important for our country," said Secretary Solis. "There is no replacement for the dignity that comes with earning your first paycheck." Three cities, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco, have partnered with the Obama administration to develop innovative collaboration with the businesses in their communities that provide youth critical life and job skills they need to start their careers.

Helping Vets Transition to Civilian Life

Helping veterans who have sacrificed for our country transition to civilian life continues to be a top priority for the Labor Department. That is why on May 2 the department announced the availability of approximately $12 million in grants through the Veterans' Workforce Investment Program. The grants will provide job training and skills development services to help approximately 6,000 veterans succeed in civilian careers. The department will award at least 10 grants in 10 states on a competitive basis to develop programs that include skills assessments, individual job counseling, labor market information, classroom or on-the-job training, skills upgrades, placement assistance and follow-up services. "These men and women served our country, and now it is our turn to serve them and to support them," said Secretary Solis.

Workers' Memorial Day

Workers' Memorial Day Summit in Los Angeles

Secretary Solis discusses workplace safety and health with members of the media at East Los Angeles College. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

In observance of Workers' Memorial Day, Secretary Solis last week announced a major new outreach and education campaign to prevent deadly falls at construction sites. Solis, speaking at the Action Summit for Worker Safety and Health at East Los Angeles College, said, "This is how we can honor the fallen: by standing up together with courage and conviction and saying two words that will echo across this country: Never Again." The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will lead the awareness campaign. The event brought together business, trade organizations, union and government officials and workers committed to eliminating workplace deaths and the needless suffering experienced by workers and families across the nation.

A Memorial March, and a Powerful Moment

Labor Department agencies and staff joined with the nation last week in commemorating Workers' Memorial Day with events from California to Maine. The events gave worker advocates, union representatives, state and local government officials and others the opportunity to reflect on the terrible costs of unsafe working conditions. At one Philadelphia event, a Workers' Memorial Day procession took on an unexpected, urgent meaning. The event was organized by the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health, and it closed with a march from the Sheet Metal Workers' Hall to Penn's Landing on the Delaware River, where the assembled mourners read the names of fallen workers and floated roses into the river in their honor. Along the way, members of the procession spotted two workers in a forklift elevated 18 feet above the ground, doing electrical work on a lamp in the Penn's Landing parking lot. Neither worker was using proper fall protection. Several Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials immediately left the procession to remove the workers and address safety issues. As the forklift was lowered, a clip snapped that was holding in place the cage being used as the workspace — a potentially fatal incident if not for the intervention of OSHA officials. The incident proved that memory is not always a passive exercise, and the awareness generated by an event like Workers' Memorial Day can ensure the immediate safety of workers.

OSHA's Michaels Honors Fallen Workers

On the eve of Workers Memorial Day, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels gave remarks at the memorial ceremony hosted by the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md., to honor those who have died on the job. Michaels was joined by United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts and the Association of Flight Attendants International Vice President Sara Nelson in a program that also paid tribute to first responders and public employees as part of the college's mission to serve the educational needs of the labor movement. Speaking from the campus' famed National Workers Memorial, Michaels invoked the inspiration drawn from these lives as a driving force behind OSHA's mission to protect workers from preventable workplace hazards. "We must remember that no job is a good job unless it's a safe job," Michaels said. "We resolve to honor their memory by pursuing our shared mission to ensure the safety and health of America's workforce." The event followed an earlier observance at the Labor Department, during which employees observed a moment of silence to honor fallen workers.

National News

Wal-Mart to Pay $4.83 Million to 4,500 Workers

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay $4,828,442 in back wages and damages to more than 4,500 employees nationwide following an investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime provisions. Additionally, Wal-Mart will pay $463,815 in civil penalties. "Misclassification of employees as exempt from FLSA coverage is a costly problem with adverse consequences for employees and corporations," Secretary Solis said. "Let this be a signal to other companies that when violations are found, the Labor Department will take appropriate action to ensure that workers receive the wages they have earned."

News You Can Use

OSHA Forms Alliance with Mexican Consulate in Arizona

VIPs, dignitaries and key staff gather at the signing of the MOU. Click on the image for a larger photo and caption.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration signed an alliance with the Consulate General of Mexico in Arizona on April 27 to work together to increase access to education and training resources that promote workers' safety and health. Zachary Barnett, director of OSHA's Phoenix Area Office, signed the memorandum at the Consulate of Mexico in Douglas, Ariz., along with Victor Manuel Trevino Escudero, consul general of Mexico.

DOL Working for You

Ohioan Lands Bioscience Job through ETA Funding

Wendy Terwillinger.

Just a few years ago, Wendy Terwilliger did not have the training or credentials for a job in the bioscience field. Now she works as a pharmaceutical technician with her education paid by an Employment and Training Administration grant. Terwilliger had been laid off after 13 years of employment, mostly in insurance. Her interest in finding work in the pharmaceutical field was sparked by her daughter's diabetes. Terwilliger graduated with a bioscience certificate from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College through ETA's funding of BioOhio, a training partnership of colleges, educators, workforce agencies and pharmaceutical companies. In her job at a pharmaceutical company, she said, she is "doing something meaningful for those with illnesses."

Gold-Plated Service for Alabama Veteran

Corey Wynn. Click on photo for a larger image.

A trio of veterans' representatives went beyond the call of duty to help Alabama National Guard member Corey Wynn find a job and pay his bills. Wynn qualified for help under the department's Gold Card Initiative, where service members receive intensive career guidance and job search assistance. But Bob Gossett of the state Disabled Veterans Outreach Program said Wynn was in such dire need that "we rallied around him to do whatever we could." Gossett and Local Veterans Representative Janine Jordan assessed Wynn's needs, then helped him file for unemployment compensation, and provided him with donated cell phone minutes and money to cover his past due bills and rent. Their DVOP colleague Willetta Walker also helped deliver donated food and gifts to Wynn and his family. With their help, Wynn landed a job in a restaurant and is interviewing with a company. Wynn, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a deployment to Iraq, said, "Things are looking up for me because the reps went that extra mile."

DOL in Action

Results of March Mine Impact Inspections

Federal inspectors from the Mine Safety and Health Administration issued 249 violations at 11 mines last month as part of its nearly two-year-old impact inspection program focusing on problem mines. Among the targeted operations was Perry County Coal Corp.'s E3-1 Mine in Perry County, Ky. The mine was on a 5-day spot inspection for excess liberation of methane gas. Inspectors found extensive accumulations of combustible materials in the form of loose coal, coal dust and float coal dust and no apparent efforts to control those materials over several work shifts. If left unchecked, such conditions can heighten the risk of a mine fire or explosion.

Adams Thermal Systems Cited Following Worker Fatality

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Adams Thermal Systems Inc. of Canton, S.D., three citations for willful safety violations that expose workers to unsafe conditions at the engine cooling systems manufacturing facility. OSHA's inspection was initiated after an employee was fatally crushed while operating equipment on Nov. 7, 2011. The violations are for failing to develop energy control procedures, provide machine guarding and effectively train employees on recognizing hazardous energy and taking safety precautions.

Carpet Company Faulted on Safety

Nance Carpet and Rug Co. Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 10 serious safety violations following a November inspection at the company's Calhoun, Ga., facility. "This inspection has identified violations that involve possible amputations by unguarded equipment and electrical shock dangers," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "Employers cannot wait for an OSHA inspection to identify hazards that are exposing their employees to serious injuries. It is good business to implement preventive programs and systems that ensure such hazards are identified and corrected as part of day-to-day operations." Proposed penalties total $53,000.

Landscaping Workers to Receive $478,000 in Back Wages

Judge Susan Richard Nelson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota has entered a consent judgment against Hawkins Tree and Landscaping Inc., a Shakopee, Minn., company, and its owners, Michael Hawkins and Dawn Hawkins. The judgment orders payment of back wages and liquidated damages in the amount of $478,000 to 57 current and former laborers, drivers, crew leaders and foremen of the company for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company misclassified workers as independent contractors. Hawkins Tree and Landscaping and its owners also have agreed to pay $22,000 in civil money penalties.

Wood Pellet Manufacturer Cited Following Fire

New England Wood Pellet LLC has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its wood pellet manufacturing plant in Jaffrey, N.H. The agency has proposed $147,000 in fines for fire and explosion hazards in the aftermath of an Oct. 20, 2011, fire at the plant. An inspection by OSHA's Concord Area Office found numerous fire and explosion hazards stemming from the absence of protective devices in the transport system, dust collection duct and conveyor systems that would prevent sparks, embers and fires from spreading throughout the system, as well as a lack of effective explosion protection due to the construction and/or location of dust collection ducts.

Miami Restaurants to Pay Back Wages

Barton G. Inc., operator of three fine dining establishments in the Miami area, has agreed to pay $28,027 in back wages to 99 employees following investigations by the department's Wage and Hour Division, which found violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Repeat Hazards at Cheese Manufacturing Facility

Sorrento Lactalis Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 13 alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace health and safety standards at its Buffalo production facility. The cheese manufacturer faces a total of $241,000 in proposed fines. An inspection by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office identified several deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program, the detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards associated with processes and equipment involving large amounts of hazardous chemicals. The chemical in this case was anhydrous ammonia, which is used in the plant's refrigeration system. OSHA cited Sorrento Lactalis in 2008 and 2011 for similar hazards at its Nampa, Idaho, plant.

Default Judgment against Skokie Maid

Judge James F. Holderman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago has issued a default judgment against Skokie Maid and Cleaning Services Ltd. in Skokie for failing to answer a complaint filed by the department seeking $501,893.44 in back wages and liquidated damages for 75 workers. The lawsuit, which resulted from investigations conducted by the Wage and Hour Division, alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. The suit alleged that the company misclassified 75 current and former cleaning employees as independent contractors and willfully failed to pay them for all hours worked.

Tennessee Trucking Company Ordered to Reinstate Whistleblower

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered Brush Creek, Tenn.-based Mark Alvis Inc., owner Mark Alvis and company dispatcher Jack Taylor to reinstate a former employee and pay him more than $180,000 in back pay, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages. The order follows OSHA's determination that the company violated the employee's rights under the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. "America's truck drivers have the right to refuse to drive when they are fatigued and/or ill and when they may be in violation of hours-of-service requirements, as permitted by current federal trucking regulations," said Cindy A. Coe, OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta.

China Star in Contempt of Consent Judgment

Magistrate Judge Karen M. Humphreys of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas has found China Star of Wichita Inc. and its owners, Hank Luc and Xin G. Chen, in contempt of court for violating a consent judgment approved on May 21, 2008, under which they were required to pay $223,394 in back wages and liquated damages to 11 employees. An investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division found that the buffet restaurant's cooks, dishwashers and busboys were paid a flat rate in cash, without regard to overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a week.

Partnership Seeks to Protect Workers on Hospital Project

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wisconsin Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program have established a strategic partnership with The Samuels Group Inc. to reduce workers' exposure to hazards and the likelihood of serious injuries at the Sacred Heart Hospital Curtain Wall Replacement Project in Eau Claire. Wis. The Samuels Group, a construction contractor headquartered in Wausau, will implement a site-specific safety and health program that will include a weekly safety "stand down," a daily stretch and flex program, and hazard-specific training.

Noise-Related Fines Proposed at Wood Pallet Plant

Kamps Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 10 safety and health – including one willful – violations at its Versailles, Ohio, wood pallet manufacturing facility. OSHA's inspection was initiated on Nov. 4, 2011, under the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which expands the scope of a routine inspection to cover all hazards associated with the employer's industry. Proposed fines total $101,000. The willful safety violation involves a lack of audiometric testing to determine workers' exposure to noise greater than 85 decibels for a time-weighted average of eight hours.

OLMS to Supervise Union Election in Los Angeles

National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 303 has agreed to conduct a new election for union vice president and the position of branch president at the U.S. Postal Service's Los Angeles processing and distribution center. The department's Office of Labor-Management Standards will supervise the new election. The agreement follows an OLMS investigation that found Local 303 had improperly allowed two ineligible candidates to run for office in the union's October 2011 election.

Hospital Cited for Inadequate Workplace Violence Safeguards

Lakeview Neurorehab Center Midwest, which operates as Lakeview Specialty Hospital in Waterford, Wis., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing employees to workplace violence at the health care facility and treatment center. OSHA has proposed penalties of $12,000. As a result of its investigation, which revealed that staff members at the facility had been assaulted numerous times, OSHA cited the employer for a serious violation for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. OSHA initiated an investigation following a complaint that a worker had been severely beaten and threatened by a client at the facility in September 2011.

Workers Found Exposed to Lead

Johnson Controls Battery Group Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 11 alleged health violations – including one willful and two repeat – following an Oct. 25, 2011 inspection that was initiated based on a complaint. Inspectors found workers overexposed to lead at the company's Holland, Ohio, plant due to a lack of engineering controls and poor housekeeping practices. Proposed fines total $188,600.

Union Drilling Cited for Hazards

Texas-based Union Drilling Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with two repeat workplace safety and health violations at the Meyers Unit 1H gas well located near Burlington, Pa. OSHA's inspection was initiated as part of the agency's Oil and Gas Service Industry Local Emphasis Program. The violations include failing to guard a floor hole and provide suitable eye and body-drenching or flushing facilities for employees exposed to corrosive materials. Proposed penalties total $70,000.

IHOP Cited for Chemical Exposures

Country Road 3054 Inc., doing business as IHOP Restaurants, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for five alleged serious safety and health violations at its South Charleston, W.Va., establishment. OSHA opened an inspection when nine employees were sent to the hospital after being exposed to chlorine gas when incompatible chemicals were mixed together. Proposed penalties total $25,000.

OSHA Action After Cave-in Accidents

Georgia Workers Exposed to Trenching Hazards

MVP Piping Co. Inc. of Acworth, Ga., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with one willful and one serious trenching violation while workers were installing sewer lines at a worksite in Rossville, Ga. The violations were for failing to provide workers cave-in protection and exposing employees without head protection to falling material while they were working in a trench greater than 5 feet in depth. Proposed penalties total $45,000.

Gordy's Pump Service Cited After Cave-In Kills Worker

River Falls, Wis.-based Gordy's Pump Service has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with five safety – including two willful – violations as the result of an inspection conducted after a 19-year-old worker died when an unprotected trench collapsed at a Spring Valley job site on Nov. 3, 2011. The 19-year-old and one other worker had just finished locating an existing waterline in the trench using a hand-held shovel when a sidewall caved. The willful violations include failing to provide required cave-in protection and a means of egress from the trench.

Cave-in Hazards Found at Rhode Island Site

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed fines totaling $117,740 against Newport, R.I.-based Raymond J. Cawley Contracting Inc. for allowing cave-in and other hazards while workers were replacing a sewer line in an 8-foot-deep trench that was not properly shored or sloped to prevent its sidewalls from caving in. Excavated materials were placed at the edge of the trench, which also lacked a sufficiently tall ladder that workers could use to exit swiftly and safely; the workers were not wearing protective helmets, which exposed them to being struck by an operating backhoe's bucket and falling material; the workers had not been adequately trained to recognize hazards; and the trench had not been properly inspected.

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