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May 24, 2012
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Meet Our Ultimate 'Work Horse'

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

You never know what you'll find when you search the Internet. That's how we discovered this fascinating video clip, excerpted from a 1963 film produced in commemoration of the US Department of Labor's 50th anniversary. The 20-minute history, titled "Challenge of Change,"

DOL's 'Mike,' The department's original work horse.

explores the department's founding in 1913 and its efforts on behalf of workers during its first five decades. We were delighted to learn about one of the department's first employees: Mike, the Horse (yes, a real horse!), who pulled the freight wagon that delivered office supplies to the department's first headquarters building.

Honoring UFW's Huerta

Secretary Solis inducts Dolores Huerta, co-founder of UFW and recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom, into the US Department of Labor Hall of Honor. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

"Si se puede!" Secretary Solis proclaimed in her heartfelt closing remarks at the United Farm Workers Convention in Bakersfield, Calif., on May 20. Founded in 1962 by Cesar Chavez, the UFW is the nation's first successful and largest farm workers union. Thousands of union delegates, farm workers and their families gathered to hear Solis' remarks. The convention came just one week before UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. As such, Solis thought it would be the perfect opportunity to induct her mentor into the Department of Labor's Hall of Honor. "Dolores is a trailblazer who has been here from the very beginning," said Solis. "She's a fearless woman who had her bones broken in the struggle for farm worker rights — but never her spirit. I'm so fortunate to call her my teacher, role model and mentor. And I'm proud to induct her into our Hall of Honor where she so clearly belongs."

A Second Chance

Secretary Solis addressed the audience. Click on photo for a larger image.

The men and women who help formerly incarcerated persons find employment after they are released from prison are keeping America's streets safer, making our justice system more humane, helping our economic recovery and doing difficult and noble work. That was Secretary Solis' message May 22 when she addressed re-entry practitioners at the Second Chance Act Conference in Washington, D.C. "You have a special calling — to give hope to those who are trying to make amends and turn their lives around," Solis said. "Your work won't make you rich or earn you front-page headlines. But you are changing lives, and you can't put a price on that." More than 600 people in the audience who work in the re-entry field listened to Solis report on the success of department programs serving this population. Solis announced the fifth generation of Reintegration of Ex-Offenders-Adult program grantees, totaling $20.5 million, and said that an additional $62 million focusing on the unique needs of women and young people would be announced next month.

Dep Sec Talks Innovation in NY

Deputy Secretary Harris (right) toured the facility. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

At the invitation of Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Deputy Secretary Seth Harris met with stakeholder groups in Rochester, N.Y., on May 21, highlighting innovative Labor Department grant programs. In the morning, Slaughter and Harris met with local growers regarding recent changes to the federal H-2A visa program for agricultural workers, including changes aimed at making it a more customer-friendly experience. In the afternoon, Harris toured the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology, focusing on innovative programs at the university that support small businesses. In 2011, RIT received a joint Jobs Innovation and Accelerator Challenge Grant from the departments of Labor and Commerce and the Small Business Administration to support the Finger Lakes Food Processing Cluster Initiative. It provides training and start-up assistance to more than 100 local food and beverage companies in western New York. After the tour, Harris held a roundtable discussion with RIT administrators, industry representatives and local business owners to discuss the strengths of the industry cluster approach and the benefits of university-business partnerships in developing successful programs to support local businesses.

Asian American Conference

OFCCP's Patricia A. Shiu delivers the keynote address at the conference. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Last week, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia A. Shiu delivered the keynote address at the Asian Americans for Equality conference, "Mobilizing Our Community from the Margins to the Center." Speaking before 300 local leaders at New York University's Kimmel Center, Shiu said, "As an Asian American, I stand on the shoulders of giants – from the Chinese immigrants who built our railway system to the Japanese survivors of internment. I stand on the shoulders of Filipino soldiers who fought under our flag and South Asian Americans who refused to let that flag be tarnished by racial profiling. We stand on their shoulders this month and every month of the year."

'Employees of First Choice'

John Moran. Click on photo for a larger image.

Veterans should be "employees of first choice because they bring teamwork, integrity and loyalty to the workplace," John Moran, deputy assistant secretary of labor for the Veterans' Employment and Training Service, told a Michigan workforce development audience this week. The department offers a number of education and training programs, including the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, which offers education benefits to unemployed veterans, and My Next Move, which matches military skills to civilian jobs. The nation's workforce development community is "positioned on the front lines" to educate companies that it is a "wise business decision" to hire a veteran, Moran said. As service personnel come home and the veteran population increases, "the ability to have meaningful employment is part of the continuum to help our veterans achieve their dreams and make America grow," he said.

Oates Meets with Workforce Partners, Tours Technology Center

Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, last week spoke at the Pennsylvania Partners 28th Annual Employment, Training and Education Conference in Hershey, Pa. Close to 1,300 workforce development professionals attended the conference to discuss obstacles to economic growth, the skills deficit for in-demand jobs and the need to accelerate job growth for unemployed Americans. The event was co-sponsored by federal and state agencies that are partners in the workforce development system. Following the conference, Oates toured the mechatronics lab at the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center in Mount Joy, Pa., with program graduates and representatives from companies that benefit from the mechatronics training program.

Secretary's Representative Meets With Denver Latino Community

Labor Department representatives discuss how their agencies protect workers' unpaid wages. Click on the photo for a larger image and caption.

Secretary's Representative Dusti Gurule, representatives of the Women's Bureau, Wage and Hour Division and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration met with leaders of the Denver Latino community on May 22 to discuss efforts to protect vulnerable workers. Denver Councilman Paul Lopez voiced his support for efforts that help his constituents recover unpaid wages. The meeting followed the Women's Bureau's Vulnerable Women Workers Series webcast held last month.

Ohio Brownfield Conference

Jay Williams, director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, opened the 2012 Ohio Brownfield Conference with the keynote address in Columbus, on May 23. Brownfield sites are abandoned or underused industrial facilities that are often marked by environmental damage that must be cleaned up prior to re-use. "This is not a neighborhood problem, or even a problem for the city. These closed facilities can have lasting effects on a region, reaching far beyond the immediate proximity of the original problem," Williams told conference attendees. Following his remarks, Williams teamed up with Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Environmental Protection Agency, to lead a roundtable discussion focused on current issues, accomplishments and challenges relating to jobs, energy, the environment and conservation efforts. Attendees included local government leaders, environmental groups and business representatives.

Attorney Honored at AU

Doug White. lick on photo for a larger image.

Doug White, associate regional solicitor in Arlington, Va., was awarded the Peter Cicchino Award for Outstanding Advocacy in the Public Interest from the Washington School of Law at American University in Washington, D.C. The award is presented each year to an alumnus of the school in honor of a beloved former professor. White, who was nominated by his colleagues in the Office of the Solicitor, will celebrate 45 years of federal service this June.

Information for At-Risk Youth

Staff from the Stonewall Jackson center pause for a photo. Click on the image for a larger photo.

The department recently reached out to graduates of the Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center in Concord, N.C., with a reminder to "Know Your Rights." Representatives from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Wage and Hour Division made the presentation, and the Wage and Hour Division also discussed child labor laws and other information useful to young people in the workplace. North Carolina's Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention operates the development centers to help prepare young people for a fresh start when they re-enter their communities.

NACOSH Meeting in June

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health on June 19 and 20 in Washington, D.C. The committee, active for 40 years, meets twice annually to advise the secretaries of labor and health and human services on worker safety issues. The tentative agenda includes discussions on globally harmonized systems and emerging issues, a presentation on OSHA's campaign to prevent falls, and a new work group that will recommend effectiveness measurements for OSHA strategies and programs.

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities

EBSA — COBRA Compliance Workshop

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

EBSA — Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar

EBSA — HIPAA and Affordable Care Act Compliance Workshop

OASAM — Vendor Outreach Session

OFCCP — AAP Development & Preparing for a Desk Audit

OFCCP — Beyond the Written AAP

OFCCP — Building Community and Veteran Partnerships

OFCCP — Construction Seminar

OFCCP — Community Based Education & Outreach

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance Seminar for Construction Contractors

OFCCP — Get the Inside Scoop

OFCCP — How to Prepare Affirmative Action Programs

OFCCP — National Origin Discrimination

OFCCP — Retaliation Complaints

OFCCP — Supply and Service AAP Seminar for Small and New Contractors

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

OFCCP — Technical Assistance Seminar

OFCCP — Workplace Accommodations

OLMS — Compliance Seminar

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What's New

Jobs Are Job One

Secretary Solis is greeted by Telemundo's José Díaz-Balart. View the slideshow for more images and captions.

NBC Today news anchor Natalie Morales and Telemundo news anchor José Díaz-Balart sat down with Secretary Solis in Miami on May 21 to discuss the role of education in the workplace. Solis discussed some of the efforts the department has in motion to improve the workforce. "President Obama and I are trying to make sure that workers are getting the skills employers need right now," she said, "so businesses can create good-paying, secure jobs, that lead to career paths." The interview was part of a nationwide tour sponsored by the NBC News "Education Nation" initiative, an effort by NBC News to engage the country in a productive conversation about American education. As part of the effort, local businesses and employers from across the country have engaged in important discussions about the critical role education plays in finding a career. The "Education Nation" tour stop in Miami took place from May 18-25.

Encouraging the Entrepreneurial Among the Unemployed

In the latest in a series of reforms to the Unemployment Insurance program, the department announced on May 24 the availability of $35 million in funds to develop, enhance and promote Self-Employment Assistance programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Participants in these voluntary programs are provided with financial assistance equal to their Unemployment Insurance benefits while they receive entrepreneurial training and resources to help launch their own businesses. In order to allow participants to devote their full-time attention to creating a new business that has the potential to create additional jobs, state work search requirements are also waived. The changes were made possible through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

National News

Study Confirms OSHA Saves Lives and Jobs

A study published in "Science," one of the world's top scientific journals, reiterated what we always knew: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn't kill jobs, it helps prevent jobs from killing workers. The study, conducted by faculty at the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard business schools, found that workplace injury claims dropped 9.4 percent at randomly chosen businesses in the four years following an inspection by the California OSHA program, compared with employers not inspected. Those same employers also saved an average of 26 percent on workers' compensation costs, when compared with similar employers not inspected. Michael Toffel, associate professor of business administration at Harvard, estimates OSHA inspections nationwide could be saving employers $6 billion. "The findings should finally put an end to the criticisms that OSHA inspections make running a business more expensive without adding value," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "The results are in: OSHA saves lives and jobs."

# VetsTownHall, a Village for Women Veterans

WB's Latifa Lyles and VETS's Ismael Ortiz, Jr., confer on twitter postings relating to women veteran issues. View the slideshow for more images and captions

Nearly 260 Twitter followers participated in an hour-long conversation this week on the resources available to assist women veterans. The Women's Bureau teamed up with the Office of Veterans' Employment and Training Service, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Employment and Training Administration to discuss a range of topics, such as hiring opportunities for veterans, the Women Bureau's guide to educate social service providers about trauma, and OFCCP's enforcement efforts to address pay discrimination. Special guests for the discussion included officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs; Business and Professional Women's Foundation; John 14:2, Inc. and Final Salute, Inc.

International Scene

Making a World of Difference

The Secretary (first row, third from right) reunited with other G20 Ministers at the event in Mexico. Click on the image for a larger photo.

Labor and employment ministers from the G20 countries met in Guadalajara, Mexico, last week for their third annual summit. The U.S. Department of Labor hosted the historic first meeting in 2010. For two days, the ministers discussed how to achieve quality employment for more of the world's population, explored ways to create employment opportunities for young people and examined the prospects for employment in emerging high growth sectors. Mexican President Felipe Calderon joined the meeting for the concluding session at which Secretary Solis, speaking on behalf of all the G20 ministers, said, "The crisis our young people face also threatens our national social protection floors and has a damaging effect on all workers." The ministers' conclusions noted that employment rates have not yet returned to pre-crisis levels and that in some countries unemployment and the number of people in informal and precarious jobs continues to require ongoing attention. They noted the need to promote employment policies for youth and other vulnerable groups, agreed that green growth may be a source of job creation, and that the creation of quality jobs would contribute to poverty reduction and social inclusion.

Secretary Solis signed an MOU. Click on the image for a larger photo.
They also called upon the G20 leaders to strengthen the relationship between labor and finance ministers to address links between growth and employment. While in Mexico, Solis participated in a bilateral meeting with Brazil's Labor Minister Carlos Brizola Neto. The two signed a memorandum of understanding that strengthens collaboration on employment discrimination, collective bargaining, safety and health, child labor, forced labor and other issues.

News You Can Use

Introducing the Disability Employment App Challenge

The first disability-related application challenge was launched May 23 by the department's Office of Disability Employment Policy. "Using today's technology, we hope to inspire creative and innovative solutions to the pressing employment-related problems faced by people with disabilities," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, in announcing the app challenge. The goal of the app challenge is to promote recruitment resources for employers, develop job training and skill-building tools for job seekers, facilitate employment-related transportation options, and expand information communication technology accessibility. Awards with cash prizes totaling $10,000 will be given to the top three submissions, and the winners will be featured on ODEP's website and in public outreach efforts.

DOL Working for You

Job Corps Grad Serves Up Organic Cooking

Jeremiah Boyd. (Photo by Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News.)

During a visit to Bushel & Peck's, a popular Beloit, Wis., market and restaurant specializing in organic foods, diners can savor the soulful Cajun cooking of Job Corps grad Jeremiah Boyd. Boyd said after experiencing troubled teen years, his life turned around while attending the Joliet Job Corps Center in Illinois. There he blossomed, serving as dormitory and student government president, peer counselor and student ambassador. The culinary program "allowed me to express myself freely and grow as an individual," Boyd said. Today, with a good job in a career that he loves, Boyd said his future plans include opening his own restaurant and mentoring disadvantaged youth to finish their education, "avoid distractions" and be successful in life.

Department's Grant Helps Returning N.Y. Veterans

. Click on photo for a larger image.

The department's funding of a "Jobs for Veterans State Grant" is helping returning New York State National Guard service members reintegrate into civilian life and find employment. Guard members returning from abroad are contacted via e-mail, given reintegration information, asked about their future employment and education plans and then contacted by their local One-Stop Center for career counseling. The approach was the brainchild of Army veteran Marty Selleck, now the New York State Deputy Veterans Program Administrator. Selleck administers the grant for about 80 One-Stop Centers and its 75 Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists and Local Veterans Employment Representatives. The work of the staff tells service members "someone cares about their situation," Selleck said. In the past year, about 3,000 veterans received help. On behalf of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Guard Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy awarded Selleck a Conspicuous Service Medal for "exceptionally meritorious service" to veterans.

DOL in Action

Storm Recovery Assistance for Hawaii

The Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations was awarded a $400,000 National Emergency Grant by the department on May 21 to assist with clean-up and recovery efforts in the wake of the severe storms, flooding and landslides that hit Kauai and Maui in March. Kauai has been targeted by the state for assistance under this grant, and Maui may be included later. "Under this grant, the people of Hawaii will receive much-need storm relief for the island of Kauai," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates. "The Labor Department's funding is part of the federal government's commitment to assist the state with clean-up and repair of its infrastructure, and help those affected by the severe storms return to normalcy."

Millions in Retirement Plan Assets Freed for NJ Workers

The department has obtained a court order appointing an independent fiduciary to manage the abandoned 401(k) plan of Worldwide Trade Resources Inc., formerly located in Weehawken, N.J. As of Jan. 31, 2011, the latest information available, the plan had 52 participants and assets totaling approximately $2.2 million. "Retirement savings are extremely important to workers and their families, especially to those who have left the workforce and are relying on those savings as their primary source of support," said Secretary Solis. "We are pleased that these plan participants soon will once again have access to the hard-earned savings they entrusted to the plan established by their former employer." The order resolves a lawsuit filed by the department in October 2011 that was based on an investigation conducted by the New York Regional Office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Texas Company Placed in Severe Violator Enforcement Program

Western Extrusions Corp. has been cited with two willful and 13 serious violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing workers to a variety of safety and health hazards at the company's aluminum products manufacturing facility in Carrollton, Texas. Due to the willful violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA has placed Western Extrusions in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. "This company has a history of failing to implement effective safety measures, such as lockout/tagout procedures, to prevent employees from coming in contact with moving machine parts during servicing and setup," said Stephen Boyd, OSHA's area director in Dallas.

Ex-Union Official Sentenced in Embezzlement of $561,000

James J. Kearney, Jr., former financial secretary-treasurer of Iron Workers Local 45 in Jersey City, N.J., was sentenced on May 10 to 30 months of incarceration and ordered to make full restitution after being found guilty of embezzlement. In November 2011, Kearney pled guilty to one count of embezzling $561,365 in union funds. The sentencing follows an investigation by the Office of Labor-Management Standard's New York District Office. The investigation found that from January 2009 through September 2010, Kearney withdrew about $471,000 from the union's account and failed to deposit an additional $90,365 in receipts from dues and other union money.

Cooks, Dishwashers to Receive $73,132 in Back Wages

An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found that Carlos Miguel's Mexican Bar & Grill in Denver violated the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act at six Colorado restaurants. The company will pay $73,132 in minimum and overtime back wages to 58 cooks and dishwashers. "The restaurant industry employs many low-wage and vulnerable workers, such as those with limited English proficiency and others who are not aware of their rights under federal law. We are pleased that these workers finally will be paid their rightful wages," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest.

Fines Proposed for Hazards at Pennsylvania Company

Bear Ridge Machine & Fabrication has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 31 serious safety and health violations at its Frackville, Pa., shop. OSHA proposed $70,000 in penalties for electrical hazards, failure to implement a respiratory protection and hazard communication program, failure to provide personal protective equipment for welders, a lack of machine guarding and other violations.

OSHA Issues 'Call to Action' After N.J. Incidents

Following four recent construction incidents, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is calling on New Jersey construction companies to ensure that employees working above 6 feet have the proper equipment to protect themselves from falls on the job. Within 11 days, OSHA opened investigations into four falls in northern New Jersey.

Tennessee Company to Pay Nearly $217,000 in Back Wages, Damages

Bierlein Cos. Inc. in Clarksville, Tenn., has agreed to pay 147 employees $108,453 in back wages, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages, after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found overtime and record-keeping violations. "Employers are legally obligated to maintain accurate records and pay for all hours worked, including overtime when employees work more than 40 hours in a week," said Sandra Sanders, director of the Wage and Hour Division's Nashville District Office. "Other similar employers in the construction industry should take notice and ensure that their policies are in compliance with federal law."

Scrap Metal Recycler Cited for Safety, Health Violations

Park Stein Inc., doing business as Parkway Iron and Metal, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for three repeat and 16 serious violations at the company's Clifton, N.J., facility. OSHA opened an inspection in response to a complaint and proposed $77,770 in penalties. The violations include the company's failure to provide proper personal protective equipment, conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace and provide hazard communication training.

Suit Filed Against Limousine Service for Underpaying Drivers

The department has filed a lawsuit against S.D. Transportation Services LLC, doing business as Premier Limousine, and its owner, Stephen DiMarco, of Berlin, Conn., for alleged violations of the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found that the defendants have been underpaying more than 50 drivers who regularly operated Lincoln Town Cars and sport-utility vehicles by paying them straight time rather than the legally required overtime. The suit seeks back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for the workers.

Contractor Cited Following Brighton Beach Building Collapse

SP&K Construction, a Brooklyn contractor, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for alleged safety violations in connection with a structural collapse in Brighton Beach, N.Y. The contractor was erecting a multistory building when the front bays of the third, fourth and fifth floors collapsed as concrete was poured onto the fourth and third floors. "This employer clearly knew the steel erection was incorrect and unstable, which led to the death of one worker and the hospitalization of four others," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "Had proper procedures and safeguards been followed, this fatal collapse could have been prevented."

Asbestos Removal Contractor Cited for Hazards

Aria Contracting Corp., an asbestos removal contractor, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for eight alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards at a Buffalo, N.Y., worksite. An inspection by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office found that Aria Contracting employees removing asbestos and asbestos-containing materials were working in ripped and torn protective suits and were not wearing respiratory protection. They also had not been adequately trained on asbestos hazards. OSHA has proposed $56,000 in fines.

Judge's Ruling Affirms $191,400 in Civil Penalties in FLSA Case

An administrative law judge in San Francisco granted a motion for a summary decision on May 18 affirming the full $191,400 in civil money penalties assessed by the department against Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments, Ltd. and its president, Kwan Man. The ruling, which follows an investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division into pay practices at Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino, confirmed Wage and Hour's determination that the employer's violations were both repeat and willful, and therefore subject to the civil money penalties as assessed. Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino is one of the largest private-sector employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. The investigation found the employer withheld the overtime earnings from 348 employees when they failed to pay these workers over four bi-weekly pay periods. The back wages were subsequently paid in full. "We are very pleased with this decision," said Ruben Rosalez, acting regional administrator of the division's Western Region.

Pallet Repair Services in Converse, Texas, Faulted on Safety

Pallet Repair Services S.A. Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with 13 serious and three other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to amputation hazards and other safety violations at its Converse, Texas, facility. Serious violations include failing to provide machine guarding to prevent amputations while working with rotating blades. Proposed penalties total $48,900.

Frozen Food Manufacturer Cited for 23 Safety Violations

Rich Products Corp. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 23 safety violations following an inspection that began after the agency received complaints about the frozen food manufacturing facility in Brunswick, Ga. The violations involve exposing workers to slip and fall hazards, failing to ensure lockout/tagout procedures completely isolated energy sources, unguarded equipment and electrical hazards. Proposed penalties total $80,385.

Unsafe Working Conditions Found at VA Hospital, Clinics

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 30 notices of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions for violations found during inspections of four Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities in California. OSHA inspected the VA hospital in Mather, near Sacramento, and outpatient clinics in Martinez, Fairfield and Oakland. All are part of the VA's Northern California Health Care System. The agency issued notices for 25 serious violations involving blocked emergency exit doors and routes, multiple electrical hazards, a lack of proper machine guarding and exposure to contaminated needles. The agency also issued a notice for a repeat violation involving the improper storage of biological hazardous waste at the Mather hospital. Federal agencies must comply with the same safety and health standards as private-sector employers covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

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