United States Department of Labor

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September 11, 2014
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By The Numbers By The Numbers: 57,000 workers each year are trained through OSHA's Susan Harwood Grant Program.

Work In Progress: The Best of Our Blog

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

10 Million Jobs and Counting: The nation reached another milestone in its recovery from the Great Recession by adding 10 million jobs over the last four and a half years, according to the August Employment Situation report. Secretary Perez issues a response here, writing, "While I remain optimistic about where our economy is headed, there are still 3 million long-term unemployed Americans, and we can do more to help those who are struggling to recover."

Working 'Off the Clock' Is Not OK.: Astor Bruhier, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Mississippi, recounts a recent case that uncovered employees of Pilot Travel Center who were working through lunch without pay, to make the case that not paying workers for all of the hours they worked not only harms them, but also their families, by depriving them of the wages they need to get by.

Number Power: Dr. Cherise J. Hunter, a social science research analyst in the Office of Disability Employment Policy, explains the crucial importance of disability employment data in helping inform a range of ODEP's policy endeavors, all with the common goal of advancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

DOL A to Z
X: X-Ray

This week's term is X-Ray. The Labor Department's recent rule allowing digital X-ray submissions under the Federal Black Lung Benefits Program expands access to medical tests and eases the burden on coal miners filing for the benefits they deserve.

Learn More About X-Ray
See All the A-Z Terms

'Taking Care of Business'

North Carolina business leaders convened in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 9 for the annual "Taking Care of Business" summit. The summit, hosted by the Library of Congress on behalf of the North Carolina congressional delegation, provided an opportunity for employers in the state to meet with federal officials and discuss policies that may affect their businesses and communities. Deputy Secretary Chris Lu spoke about ways to increase employment and the value of raising worker wages. He also discussed the importance of the recent passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and how businesses can benefit from modernized federal job training programs. "The key to making our workforce development investments more job-driven is engagement and partnership with the business community," said Lu.

Meet the DOL Leadership Team

Chief Economist Heidi Shierholz. Click for a larger photo.

We're excited to welcome Dr. Heidi Shierholz as the new chief economist to Secretary Perez. The chief economist plays a critical role in the development of department policy and programs, and is the secretary's primary advisor on national and international economic issues. Shierholz brings a wealth of experience to the job, including expertise on issues such as wage inequality, long-term unemployment, labor force participation, the minimum wage and immigration. She previously served as researcher and economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

Learn More About Shierholz
Read Her Blog Post

Observations on ERISA@40

Assistant Secretary of Labor Phyllis C. Borzi delivers remarks at the Bloomberg BNA, ERISA@40 event. Click for a larger photo.

For all the insight that members of Congress and staff put into the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, they could never have predicted that retirement savings would shift from traditional pensions to a system where trillions of dollars are managed by individual workers, not employers. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi made that and other points at Bloomberg BNA's ERISA@40 event on Sept. 9 in Arlington, Va. Joining Borzi on the panel were retired Internal Revenue Service official Monika Templeton and Scott Macey of the ERISA Industry Committee. The three discussed how legislation, regulation and litigation have played roles in shaping the law over four decades. Borzi recalled a conversation she had in 1986 with then-Sen. Jacob Javits of New York, a pivotal figure in the crafting and passage of ERISA. "I asked the senator, did you ever think the world would look this way," she recounted. "He replied, 'I did not anticipate the shift in responsibility from employers to workers.'"

Learn About ERISA

Workforce Inclusion Forum

Retired Walgreens Executive Randy Lewis (left) and Carol Glazer, president for the National Organization on Disability (right) listen to OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu at a NOD sponsored symposium in Chicago on hiring and including employees with disabilities. Click for a larger photo.

More than 120 business leaders and community advocates attended a symposium on disability employment hosted by the National Organization on Disability and Exelon in Chicago on Sept. 10. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia A. Shiu discussed the agency's rule establishing a 7 percent employment goal for people with disabilities by federal contractors and subcontractors. "The experience of companies has overwhelmingly been that these hires are a source of loyal, hard-working talent that boosts corporate productivity," Shiu said. Retired Walgreens executive Randy Lewis described efforts that led to 10 percent of the company's workforce consisting of individuals with disabilities. "Don't hire people with disabilities because you have to, do it because it will make your company better," he said.

Read About the Rule

Adding It Up With Small Business

The intersection between disability, diversity and America's small businesses was the focus of the annual Add Us In grantee meeting held on Sept. 11 at the World Institute on Disability in Berkeley, Calif. Funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, Add Us In aims to develop effective models for increasing the capacity of small businesses — especially those in underrepresented and historically excluded communities — to hire people with disabilities. Eight community-based consortia currently receive funds under the program, and each is required to have at least one business association member, such as a chamber of commerce. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez kicked off the event, emphasizing the outsized influence small businesses often have on societal attitudes.

Learn More About Add Us In

Grant to Assist Laid-Off Workers

The department awarded a $953,415 National Emergency Grant to the Texas Workforce Commission on Sept. 11 to assist workers who remain unemployed following the closure of the Cargill beef processing plant in Plainview, Texas. This grant builds on a previous $1.1 million grant awarded in June 2013, bringing the total award for these workers to $2,066, 314. "This federal National Emergency Grant, combined with the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, will provide these workers with the reemployment services they need to prepare them for new opportunities in high-demand industries," said Portia Wu, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training.

Read the News Release

Rights for Nursing Mothers

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge will provide secure break time for its employees who are nursing mothers and need to express breast milk, following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division's New Orleans District Office. The investigation found violations of the protections afforded nursing mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The hospital was cited for failing to provide a place other than a bathroom that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, designated as a lactating room, for nursing mothers employed in the hospital's emergency room department. Lactating employees were not provided notice of, or access to, a specified lactation room that nursing mothers could use. The hospital, which employs nearly 7,000 employees, has initiated several steps to ensure compliance.

Learn About Break Time for Nursing Mothers

Oil and Gas Safety Alliance

As part of its efforts to keep oil and gas workers safe, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has renewed its 2008 alliance with the Permian Basin Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network in Midland, Texas. Alliance participants will continue to encourage worker participation in safety and health by holding monthly meetings, sharing best practices and striving to make safety a part of the oil and gas industry culture. Some issues that will be covered include exposure to hazardous chemicals and gas, and fire and explosion hazards. "By joining forces, we will continue to help save lives, prevent injuries and raise awareness in the oil and gas industries within the Permian Basin and West Texas," said Joann Figueroa, OSHA's area director in El Paso.

Read the News Release

Embracing Best Practices

More than 40 staff members attended the Sept. 10 launch of the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Lunch & Learn Series at the department's headquarters in Washington, D.C. "I believe we should embrace opportunities to model best practices for the employers we regulate, workers we protect, stakeholders we engage and people we employ," said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia A. Shiu. The series was designed by OFCCP employees to not only teach ASL, but also to improve understanding of deaf culture and exemplify the department's commitment to promoting inclusion in all workplaces.

Outreach in Queens

Congresswoman Grace Meng (center) is joined by representative from the Women's Bureau, the Wage and Hour Division, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs for an outreach event in Queens, N.Y. Click for a larger photo.

The Women's Bureau brought together the Wage and Hour Division, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other federal and state agencies for an outreach event in Queens, N.Y., on Sept. 4. The purpose of the event, hosted by Rep. Grace Meng, was to advise community members about their labor rights. "The event was critical in reaching out to underserved populations and making sure that the federal government delivers assistance to every part of New York," said Gillian Gutierrez, a program analyst with the Women's Bureau.

ERISA Council Convening

A meeting of the ERISA Advisory Council will take place on Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT. The council will discuss reports and recommendations on the issues of pharmacy benefit manager compensation and fee disclosure, outsourcing employee benefit plan services and facilitating lifetime plan participation. Most council members will participate via teleconference, but members of the public who wish to attend may report to Room 6 of C-5320 at the department's Washington, D.C. headquarters. Written statements, with 30 copies, may be submitted to Larry Good, the council's executive secretary, by Sept. 22.

Read the News Release
View the Federal Register Notice

Weekly UI Claims

The department reported that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance claims was 315,000 for the week ending Sept. 6, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week's revised level. The four-week moving average was 304,000, up 750 from the previous week's revised average.

Read the News Release

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance for New and/or Small Contractors

September 16 — Birmingham, AL
September 16 — Jackson, MS

OFCCP — Construction 16 EEO & Affirmative Action Requirements

September 23 — Atlanta, GA

OFCCP — Introduction to the New Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act Regulations

September 18 — Portland, OR

OFCCP — Introduction to the New VEVRAA Regulations

September 17 — Columbia, SC
September 18 — Portland, OR

OFCCP — Opening Doorways to Diversity

September 24 — Dallas, TX

OFCCP — What to Expect During an OFCCP Audit

September 16 — Atlanta, GA

OLMS — Compliance Assistance Seminar

September 18 — Madison Heights, MI

OLMS — Trustee Workshop

September 17 — Madison Heights, MI

OWCP — Town Hall Meetings to assist nuclear weapons workers

September 23 — Amherst, NY
September 25 — Rochester, NY

WB — Today's Schedules for Today's Workforce: Hourly Employees and Work-Life Fit Webinar

September 16 — San Francisco, CA

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What's New

Meeting in Melbourne With Global Counterparts for the G20 Ministerial

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez (top row, far left) poses with the leaders of the employment ministries of the G20 at the 2014 G20 Labor Ministerial in Melbourne, Australia, September 11, 2014. Click for a larger photo.

Picking up the pace of economic growth and creating jobs in the global economy was the determined focus of three days of meetings between employment ministers of the G20 in Melbourne, Australia, which U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez attended on Sept. 9-11. After arriving and holding a news conference with his counterparts from the United Kingdom and Australia, Perez began a series of bilateral meetings to promote a range of mutual challenges, such as youth unemployment, expanding opportunities for women, and ensuring people with disabilities have the opportunity to realize their full potential. At meetings with Australia and Canada, Perez listened to updates on those countries' recent paid parental leave policies, which have shown that providing women with opportunities to succeed is not only the right thing for women, but, by increasing the female labor participation rate, the smart thing for their economies. A day-two meeting with China's delegation led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will offer opportunities to collaborate on worker rights and employment issues. Perez addressed the full body on the third day and met with leaders from Turkey, Mexico, India, Spain and the United Kingdom. The ministerial precedes the annual G20 Leaders Summit, which President Obama plans to attend in Brisbane in November.

Read the Secretary's Travel Diary
Learn About the G20

Connecting With Homeless Veterans in Atlanta

Deputy Secretary Christopher P. Lu (center) poses for a photo following a tour of the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency with ACSS' (left to right) Aaron Waldron, veterans outreach specialist; Tramaine Isaac, employment specialist; Dana Johnson, president and CEO; Lu; Nickell Durham, veterans coordinator; Michael Jones, life coach; and Gordon Ellis, director of employment & training. Click for a larger photo.

In the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program, military veterans receive job training, tips on how to interview for a job, clothing and transportation to job interviews. During a recent visit to the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency, Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher P. Lu met with veterans to hear firsthand about their experiences. A recipient of HVRP grant funds, the center currently serves more than 120 homeless veterans. The center is in its third grant year and its veterans have achieved an 85 percent employee retention rate. The Veterans' Employment and Training Service awards and manages the HVRP grants. During his visit on Sept. 9, Lu toured the facility, received an overview briefing from the staff, and met with veterans in the program. Dana Johnson, president and CEO of the Atlanta center, said, "ACSS believes that veterans are one our nation's greatest assets. They have done more than their part for society, but so many are underserved. We believe they are capable and deserving of a second chance. This is our motivating principle that guides everything we do."

Learn About Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program

National News

$10.6 Million Awarded in Safety and Health Grants

Seventy-eight nonprofit organizations from across the country were awarded Susan Harwood Training Grants on Sept. 8 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Community- and faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor-management associations, and colleges and universities have received more than $10.6 million from the annual training grant program, which provides funds for safety and health programs that serve vulnerable workers, small businesses and industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates. This year's grantee projects focus on several challenges, including underserved youth and hazards for Hispanic workers in the tree care industry.

Read the News Release
Learn About Harwood Grants

New Reporting Requirements for Fatalities and Severe Injuries

All work-related hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye will have to be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to a final rule taking effect on Jan. 1, 2015. Under the newly revised rule, employers under federal OSHA's jurisdiction will be expected to report any fatality to OSHA within 8 hours, and any in-patient hospitalization, amputation or enucleation within 24 hours. Previously, employers were required only to report fatalities, and when three or more workers were hospitalized. Though all employers will have to adhere to the new reporting requirements for fatalities and severe injuries, the rule also updates the list of industries partially exempt from routinely keeping injury and illness logs. The new rule will help OSHA focus compliance assistance and enforcement resources to better protect workers and prevent more workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

Read the News Release
Learn About Recordkeeping Rule Updates

Improving Job Opportunities for People With Disabilities

More than $8.4 million will be directed toward improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities, the department announced on Sept. 11. "Individuals with disabilities have skills and experiences that employers need," Secretary Perez said. "These federal grants will help connect these workers with employers and put them on the path to economic self-sufficiency." Recipients of the grants include eight organizations participating in the Add Us In initiative, the West Virginia University Research Corp., the Institute for Educational Leadership, the National Disability Institute, and the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America. The grant recipients were announced by the Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Read the News Release

Number of U.S. Worker Deaths Dropped in 2013

According to a preliminary report released on Sept. 11 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,405 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2013, lower than the revised count of 4,628 in 2012. The BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries also reported the rate of fatal work injuries for U.S. workers in 2013 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, down from a final rate of 3.4 per 100,000 in 2012. Final 2013 data from CFOI is expected in the spring of 2015. "We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy," said Secretary Perez.

Read the BLS Release

International Scene

Economic Cooperation in Asia

At the 6th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Human Resource Development Ministerial Meeting, Associate Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Eric Biel joined his counterparts from APEC's 21 economies "to advocate far more strongly for the protection of workplaces, for effective social protection programs, and for greater investments in education and training programs." The meeting took place on Sept. 6 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Human Resource Development Ministerial convenes labor ministers or their designates every four years to discuss policies and initiatives on education, labor and capacity building to further develop human resources. Biel delivered a statement promoting policies that create quality jobs as a necessary element for sustainable economic growth, such as adequate minimum wages, inclusive employment policies, and high occupational safety and health standards. A Joint Ministerial Statement was endorsed at the meeting, which highlighted APEC's priority to promote people-to-people connectivity and improve workforce capabilities, promote decent jobs, strengthen social protection and address inequality.

Read the Ministerial Statement

DOL Working for You

Climbing to Success With Help From YouthBuild

Olvin Foot. Click for a larger photo.

Five years ago, Honduran-born Olvin Foot was in a bad spot with few options for a path forward. Essentially abandoned by his adopted family following their spiral into drug abuse, he was living in a homeless shelter in California's San Joaquin Valley with no identification papers and dim prospects for a high school education. When a friend mentioned a YouthBuild program to him, Foot decided to check it out. Officials at the shelter helped him recover his identification paperwork and, before he knew it, he was at the Stockton YouthBuild facility working in a pre-apprenticeship carpentry program. While there, he earned his high school diploma and impressed fellow students and staff with his hunger for knowledge and resilient spirit. Foot recently left the homeless shelter to start working for the California Conservation Corps as a firefighter trainee at the Tahoe National Forest. He is considering what path he wants to pursue next — stick with firefighting, enlist in the Army, or work as a carpenter. When asked whether others should pursue YouthBuild, Foot adopts a "try-it-you'll-like-it" mantra. "YouthBuild motivated me to become who I am today," he added.

Learn About YouthBuild

DOL in Action

EEO Settlement Includes $1.5 Million in Back Wages, Interest

Federal contractor Westat Inc. has agreed to settle allegations that it failed to provide equal employment opportunities to 3,651 African American, Asian American, Hispanic and female job applicants at its Rockville, Md., headquarters and at sites in seven additional states. Westat will pay $1.5 million in back wages and interest to the affected applicants and make 113 job offers as positions become available. "For more than 50 years, Westat has effectively harnessed the power of data to produce ground-breaking research," said Secretary Perez. "That commitment to data integrity should also be applied to its employment practices so that every worker has a fair shot at getting a good job and company leadership understands exactly who is getting hired and why."

Read the News Release

VA Employees Exposed to Asbestos, Other Hazards

Employees at the Aleda E. Lutz Veterans Administration Medical Center in Saginaw, Mich., were exposed to asbestos, bloodborne pathogens and unsafe operation of powered industrial vehicles, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection found. OSHA issued six notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions following the March inspection initiated as part of its Federal Agency Local Emphasis Program.

Read the News Release

Lawsuit Filed Against Amalgamated Transit Local Union

The department filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado against Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 in Westminster, Colo., concerning its election of officers last December. An Office of Labor-Management Standards investigation determined that the union failed to conduct its election by secret ballot. According to the lawsuit, members were permitted to vote together at large tables; members marked ballots while waiting in line to cast ballots and at the election judge's table, in plain view of election judges; polling places had one cardboard voting partition, which was inadequate to accommodate the large number of voters; and members were never instructed to use the cardboard partitions for voting. The violation may have affected a number of offices.

Ice Manufacturer Faulted for Inadequate Ammonia Release Safeguards

Inadequate safeguards to protect workers against potential ammonia releases at its Brooklyn, N.Y., ice plant have resulted in $264,700 in proposed fines for Arctic Glacier U.S.A., Inc., a nationwide ice manufacturer and distributor. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for 19 violations of workplace safety standards, including several deficiencies in the process safety management program involving the use of 14,757 pounds of ammonia used in the plant's refrigeration system. Since 2011, Arctic Glacier USA, Inc. has been cited for process safety management hazards at its plants in Fairport, Mamaroneck and Newburgh, N.Y., as well as Aston, Penn.

Read the News Release
Learn About Process Safety Management

Fall Hazards Prompt Proposed Penalties for Connecticut Roofer

An Enfield, Conn., roofing contractor faces $294,000 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines for exposing its employees to potentially fatal falls at two worksites. OSHA inspectors found that Gleason Roofing Co. repeatedly failed to use legally required fall protection at two different worksites in New Britain, Conn., in March and April. As a result, its workers faced potentially serious falls. "These employees were one slip, trip or step away from deadly or disabling injuries. Their employer knew this, yet chose to do nothing about it," said Warren Simpson, OSHA's area director in Hartford.

Read the News Release
Learn About Stopping Falls

Fumes and Other Hazards Found at Alabama Manufacturer

Diversified Fabricating Inc. was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 23 safety and health violations following an inspection at the company's facility in Oneonta, Ala. Inspectors found that workers were exposed to iron oxide fumes at levels higher than the permissible exposure limit; fire and explosion hazards from accumulated combustible material; a lack of proper machine guarding; and fall hazards from unprotected ladders and platforms. OSHA initiated the inspection in March as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Amputations. Diversified Fabricating manufactures metal parts for the lumber mill industry. Proposed penalties total $73,500.

Read the News Release

Workers Exposed to Trench Cave-ins While Installing Water Mains

Mt. Pleasant Blacktopping Inc. was cited for one willful and one serious safety violation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration because the company exposed workers to cave-in hazards while installing water mains. OSHA opened the inspection in April after observing employees working in three separate unprotected trenches in Hamilton, Ohio. Proposed penalties total $77,000. "The fact that three separate crews were working simultaneously without using cave-in protection demonstrates that this company does not have an adequate safety program. Trench cave-ins can bury a worker in minutes and result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director for Cincinnati.

Read the News Release

Missouri Union to Rerun Officer Election

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 124 in Kansas City, Mo., has agreed to conduct a new election for vice president, financial secretary, treasurer, business manager and seven executive board positions under supervision of the Office of Labor-Management Standards. An OLMS investigation revealed that the union failed to elect its officers by secret ballot when members stood in line with their completed, unfolded, two-sided ballots, and placed them in an open ballot box. The rerun election will be held by Feb. 6, 2015.

Plant Exposed Workers to Amputation, Crushing Hazards

Following an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Rohn Products LLC has been cited for 11 serious safety and health violations at its steel tower manufacturing plant in Peoria, Ill. Many of the violations involved exposing workers to amputation and crushing hazards during the daily operation of dangerous machinery. Proposed penalties total $66,700.

Read the News Release

Machine Operator Seriously Injured at Ohio Steel Mill

Upon receiving information that a worker had suffered severe injuries when he was crushed between two machines, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Vallourec Star for 22 serious safety violations. The machine operator suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis in the February incident and has been unable to return to work. The investigation found that Youngstown, Ohio, steel mill workers were exposed to crushing, amputation and fall hazards. Proposed penalties total $94,000. "Manufacturers that operate dangerous machinery must be aware of the daily hazards workers face while working with this machinery. Vallourec Star did not prioritize safety," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland.

Read the News Release

Labor Violations Found at American Samoa Hotel

American Samoa-based Dateline Industries Inc., doing business as Sadie's Hotels, has agreed to pay $21,314 in back wages to 89 hotel and restaurant employees. Wage and Hour Division investigators found that the employer improperly deducted costs for required uniforms, causing pay rates to fall below the applicable minimum wage of $4.50 per hour in American Samoa's hotel and restaurant industry. Findings also include overtime violations; employees worked beyond their approved scheduled time without compensation at Sadie's three locations on the island of Tutulia. "An employer cannot pay workers for the hours they believe should have been worked but for the hours actually worked," said Terence Trotter, the division's district director in Hawaii. "We appreciate this employer's cooperation in resolving this matter expeditiously and in fairness to those affected."

No Fall Protection System in Place for Construction Workers in Florida

Justin Construction Co. LLC of Jacksonville, Fla., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with six safety violations after OSHA inspectors observed employees at three area work sites performing residential construction without using a fall protection system. The inspections began in February as part of the agency's Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. Violations included permitting workers to use pressurized nail guns without proper eye protection. Proposed penalties total $188,650.

Read the News Release

Formal Complaint Nets Violations for Illinois Truck Terminal

Central Transport LLC has been cited for five violations at its trucking terminal in Rock Island, Ill., following a formal complaint. OSHA's inspection in March found repeat and willful violations that involved defective powered industrial vehicles and lack of fall protection. Proposed penalties total $108,020. "Yearly, thousands of workers are injured while operating powered industrial vehicles, better known as forklifts. Maintenance for these vehicles, which are used daily, is vital to employee safety," said Thomas Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria.

Read the News Release

Company Cited in Amputation of Worker's Thumb

After an unguarded laminating machine crushed a worker's hand and partially amputated his thumb, Loparex LLC has been cited for one willful safety violation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA initiated the inspection in May after receiving information about the injury at the Hammond, Wis., facility, which makes polycoated and silicone-coated papers and films. Proposed penalties total $70,000. "Allowing workers to operate dangerous machinery without the appropriate safety measures is unacceptable and often results in catastrophic injuries, such as this one," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire.

Read the News Release

GE Lighting Settles Hiring Discrimination Case

GE Lighting LLC has agreed to settle allegations of hiring discrimination following an investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Under the terms of the agreement, the federal contractor will pay $537,000 in back wages and interest to 102 women who were rejected for entry-level attendant positions at the company's Bucyrus, Ohio, facility. GE Lighting will also extend job offers to at least five of the original class members as positions become available. "I encourage women who were previously denied jobs at GE's Bucyrus location to reconsider, secure in the knowledge that they will get a fair shake going forward," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu.

Read the News Release

Safety Hazards Persist at Alabama Condiment Producer

Supreme Oil Co.-South was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 14 safety and health violations following a March inspection at the company's oil production facility in Brundidge, Ala. The citations were issued because the employer exposed its workers to fall, amputation and electrical hazards. Workers also were in danger of being struck-by falling stock from damaged metal shelves. In 2012, the Alabama facility received citations for similar safety violations. Supreme Oil is a salad dressing and mayonnaise manufacturer headquartered in Englewood, N.J. Proposed penalties total $234,960.

Read the News Release

Texas Subcontractor Faulted for Improper Scaffolding

Roma Construction Inc., a stucco plastering subcontractor of Monticello Homes in the San Antonio area, has been cited for five repeat and seven serious violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. According to OSHA, the company exposed workers to fall hazards of up to 20 feet as a result of improper scaffolding at the Hastings Ridge at Kinder Ranch residential development. Investigators found employees applying exterior stucco from a scaffold with little planking or platforms to work from and no railing to protect the workers from a fall. The company also failed to provide guardrails, ensure scaffold platforms and walkways were at least 18 inches wide, provide proper access and egress, and train employees on properly erecting and dismantling scaffolding equipment. The proposed penalty is $79,200. Scaffolding violations are one of the 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards.

Read the News Release

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