When President Harry S. Truman came into office in 1945, one of his first priorities was restoring the U.S. Department of Labor as the central administrator of all national labor programs.
Along with his desire for a more efficient department, his sympathy for labor stemmed from his years in local government in Missouri.
He appointed a Senate colleague, Lewis Schwellenbach as secretary of labor, replacing Frances Perkins, who retired when President Roosevelt died. Schwellenbach died three years later. He was replaced by Maurice Tobin, the popular governor of Massachusetts. The Labor Department during the Truman years saw the establishment of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. The Reorganization Act of 1949 renewed DOL's authority as the chief administrator of national labor issues by 1950. With the outbreak of the Korean War, an Executive Order made Secretary Tobin responsible for the wartime labor supply.
Tweet Away For Labor Day!
In advance of Labor Day 2012, America's "job counselor," Secretary Solis, will host a live Twitter chat at 2 p.m. EDT, Thursday, August 30. This is a great opportunity, especially for high school and college students, to ask questions and receive information on entering the workforce, finding job training programs and identifying up-and-coming careers. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #LaborDay2012 or tweet questions in advance to @HildaSolisDOL.
Funding Career Pathways
The department has made millions of dollars available to support innovation and link job training to health care, information technology, clean energy, advanced manufacturing and other industries, Secretary Solis told the 74th quadrennial convention of the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union. In remarks at the convention in Las Vegas on August 10, Solis said the department has provided funds to create career pathways for Americans who are looking for work. "If we're going to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build our competitors, we need to retrain older workers, the long-term unemployed, and young people," she said. Solis was introduced by the union's international president, Bruce Smith, who has been active in GMP for 40 years.
For many of Minneapolis' most disadvantaged citizens, getting involved with the emerging green economy seemed like a pipe dream until the city used a $4 million grant from the department through the Pathways Out of Poverty Grant program to create Renewable Energy Network Empowering Workers, or RENEW. But at Applied Energy Innovations in South Minneapolis last week, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates was able to see how the city of Minneapolis and Ramsey County Workforce Solutions are using their Recovery Act funding to create training pathways and support networks for high-quality, living wage jobs.
AEI, a locally-owned mechanical, plumbing and general contractor, specializes in renewable and energy-efficient building integration and is one of the many businesses partners involved in the effort. "RENEW provided the program infrastructure and necessary tools to partner with local colleges and graduate students licensed and accredited for our particular trade," AEI President Dustin Denison explained. Nearly 500 participants who were military veterans, unemployed or underemployed, individuals with disabilities, ex-offenders, high school dropouts, or over the age of 55 have since earned an industry recognized credential through the program. RENEW like most federally-funded training providers serves dual customers, addressing the job training needs of participants while also ensuring that the Twin Cities' expanding green businesses have access to skilled workers.
Building for the Future
Investing in the skills of U.S. workers helps expand the nation's manufacturing sector, and sometimes an investment in a cutting-edge workforce training program begins with support from the department. That is part of what Deputy Secretary Seth Harris saw on August 9 in New Hampshire. He met with some of the Granite State's community college presidents to discuss their implementation of nearly $20 million in TAACCCT funding from the department. Harris also visited the site of Great Bay Community College's Advanced Training Facility, where the college prepares workers and students for careers in the advanced manufacturing sector. He also toured the existing production facility of two of the college's employer partners Safran USA and Albany Engineered Composites as well as the construction site of a brand new 340,000 square foot facility that should bring at least 400 new full-time jobs to New Hampshire.
As a former mayor, Jay Williams is well versed in how summer job programs help to provide work experience for area youth. In his current role as director of the department's Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers and deputy director of intergovernmental affairs at the White House, Williams traveled to Fresno, Calif., to see one of those programs in action. Thanks to a partnership between Pacific Gas & Electric and the Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County, more than 200 young people from Fresno's most underserved neighborhoods were able to participate in career education and job readiness training this summer. In addition, 55 students were selected to participate in a six-week paid internship with area employers, including the Fresno Grizzlies, the local minor league baseball team. The funding provided by PG&E also provided stipends for the purchase of professional work attire and transportation to and from work. For Williams, it was a chance to celebrate the work going on throughout the country as part of Summer Jobs+. For these young people, it was a chance to explore career opportunities.
Green Scene: Philly YouthBuild Completes LEED Home Renovation
More than 125 students from YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School partnered with the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation and in less than 18 months successfully reconstructed a home in Germantown, a historic Philadelphia neighborhood. The renovated home is the first under the organizations' three-year partnership to receive the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. YouthBuild, an alternative education program that provides on-the-job experience through the community, is partly funded by the department's Employment and Training Administration. The home will be sold to a family of low or moderate income and future owners may obtain additional income by renting out a portion of the home.
A community connections workshop was held at the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' Charlotte District Office on August 9. The event, conducted by OFCCP and the Wage and Hour Division, provided an opportunity for several community-based organizations to network and form partnerships. OFCCP staff gave presentations on veterans outreach, mandatory job listings, disability accommodations, complaints and fair pay. A Wage and Hour representative discussed the Fair Labor Standards Act, Family Medical Leave Act, child labor, youth employment, and internships.
Mississippi Job Fair
Staff from the Jackson Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs recently attended the Mississippi Department of Employment Security annual job fair held at the Vicksburg Convention Center in Mississippi. OFCCP provided job seekers and attendees with information on the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, workplace rights and federal employment opportunities. The job fair, which had more than 130 visitors, included 57 local businesses and federal agencies.
Heat Awareness Phone Bank
Spanish-speaking volunteers from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration participated in Univision's Phone Bank Program in San Antonio last week to promote OSHA's Heat Illness
Campaign. The initiative is aimed at decreasing the heat-related hazards associated with working outdoors and the steps to take in order to prevent heat illness. The volunteers from OSHA's San Antonio and Austin area offices answered questions from call-in viewers. OSHA has developed educational materials in English and Spanish and a curriculum for employers and employees.
Maria Rosado, district director of the New York City District Office for the Wage and Hour Division, and Maximo Corcino, the consulate general of the Dominican Republic, signed an agreement on August 13 to protect the rights of migrant workers in the state of New York. The agreement will provide information to constituents on topics such as minimum wage, overtime compensation, child labor standards, farm labor contracting, and migrant labor housing and transportation.
Ensuring the nation's workforce is prepared to meet the needs of employers in the coming decades is a priority for Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. That's why she traveled to Michigan and Wisconsin this week to see firsthand how programs in those states are taking innovative steps to prepare their local workforce. Her first stop was to Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich., where industry and training providers are coming together to develop innovative apprenticeship programs for workers in the pipe trades. She then flew to Wisconsin to tour the Milwaukee Job Corps Center and a Snap-On Tools facility in Kenosha that has established a pipeline for workers at the local Gateway Technical College. Oates capped off her trip in Fond du Lac, Wis., by attending a summit at Moraine Park Technical College. She was joined at the summit by business leaders, educators, and legislators to discuss strategic ways to connect communities to a sustainable workforce.
Coal Miner Rescue
A coal miner trapped underground for nearly four hours was rescued without incident, thanks to the combined efforts of the Mine Safety and Health Administration and New Future Mine in Galatia, Ill. At around 9 a.m. August 14, a miner noticed the roof in the section where he was working begin to fall. While he escaped the collapse, his co-worker was less fortunate, becoming trapped behind tons of fallen rubble. Rescue operations began immediately, with company and MSHA personnel shoring up the roof. "We wanted to make sure the entire area was adequately supported, so no one else would get hurt," said Robert Hatcher, an MSHA inspector who was preparing to go underground when the collapse occurred. Rescuers stayed in constant communication with the trapped miner, and reached him just before 1 p.m. He exited the mine, relieved and uninjured. Without skipping a beat, Hatcher resumed his duties. "When I saw that the miner was safe, I continued with my inspection."
Bluefield Coal Symposium
Mining professionals from across the coal mining industry gathered in Bluefield, W.V., this week for the biennial Bluefield Coal Symposium, sponsored jointly by the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce and "Coal News." The three-day symposium featured a number of presenters and speakers from the industry, and on August 14, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main addressed a post-lunch crowd of more than 150. "As low as the fatalities have come in recent years, we all know that one death is one too many and that mining deaths are preventable. The year the 1977 Mine Act was enacted, there were 273 mining deaths; 139 in coal and 134 in metal nonmetal," said Main. "We've seen those numbers continue to fall since then, and the distance to zero is much shorter than it was in 1977. I believe we all share the goal of zero fatalities."
While perhaps well known for its world-class tennis stadium, Queens, N.Y., is also home to a world-class training facility helping to develop a new generation of automotive technicians. The Lincoln Technical Institute at the Center for Automotive Education & Training, located in the College Point neighborhood, has graduated more than 1,500 new certified technicians since it opened its doors five years ago. Jay Williams, director of the department's Office of Recovery for Automotive Communities and Workers and deputy director of intergovernmental affairs at the White House, visited the facility earlier this week to hear from some of the 750 current students including a number of returning military veterans as well as local car dealers who count on the training center's skilled graduates. Williams highlighted the investments that the Obama administration made to help turn around the American automobile industry and keep dealerships and their service departments in business.
The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs will host two town hall meetings and send its travelling resource center to Albuquerque, N.M., on August 22 to provide former Sandia National Laboratories employees with information about a new class of employees recently added to the Special Exposure Cohort of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.
Jobs, education and training for workers in Nevada, across the country and specifically, women were the themes of two separate conversations Secretary Solis held August 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She outlined the department's efforts to strengthen the nation's economy during remarks to local community leaders at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, emphasizing the importance of education and training in rebuilding the manufacturing industry in the United States. "In order for us to be competitive, we need to have more highly-skilled and trained individuals with credentials and licenses," she said. Later, Solis addressed a crowd of more than 100 participating in the Women's Bureau's Working Women Forum. The event, held at the College of Southern Nevada, explored workplace rights, work-family balance and emerging opportunities for female workers. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels joined Solis on the program, and discussed OSHA's commitment to ensuring safe and healthful workplaces.
"Too often, many workers, particularly those who are struggling to make ends meet, have to choose between taking time off to care for a sick child or losing desperately needed wages," Secretary Solis said in a statement on August 16 after the release of a survey on access to and use of leave by employees. According to the survey, among single jobholders, 83 percent of full-time workers in the highest earnings range had access to paid leave, compared with 50 percent of full-time workers in the lowest earnings range. The research was sponsored by the Women's Bureau and conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey is part of a Women's Bureau workplace flexibility initiative, which kicked off in March 2010 at a White House forum, and includes nationwide education and outreach efforts to bring together employees, employers, advocates, researchers and others. As part of the dialogue on improving workplace policies that promote fairness and flexibility, the research and advocacy community pointed to the need for more data on employee access to and use of paid and unpaid leave. "We are looking forward to engaging in an in-depth analysis of the survey results," Solis said.
In an effort to bring better health care to rural areas, the Mine Safety and Health Administration's training academy in Beaver, W.Va., has formed a partnership with the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. The partnership's goal is to encourage medical students to choose a rural practice and educate them on the needs of rural patients, many of whom reside in coal communities throughout Appalachia. On August 13, 17 medical students spent the day at the academy and were "introduced" to a typical patient in a rural West Virginia town the American coal miner. MSHA personnel set up workshops and presentations about the safety concerns, potential risks and primary care needs of coal miners and their families. During a tour of the academy's mine simulation laboratory a venue for mine rescue teams to prepare for an actual mine emergency Mine Rescue Training Specialist Mack Wright talked to the students about the physical and emotional injuries to expect following a mine disaster and explained how rural communities typically pull together in the aftermath of disasters. Another topic of discussion was black lung disease, still a serious health concern among coal miners. "The students as well as our staff left the Mine Academy feeling like we had a better understanding of the hard work and dedication it takes to work in the coal mining industry," said Janet Hinton, coordinator of the Rural Health Initiative at WVSOM. "I feel strongly that they will be able to use this knowledge to better care for their patients and their families."
Job Accommodation Network Grant Awarded
The West Virginia University Research Corp. was awarded a $2.5 million grant on August 15 to manage and operate the Office of Disability Employment Policy's Job Accommodation Network. JAN is a free and confidential consulting service that provides individualized worksite accommodation solutions and technical assistance to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability-related legislation. WVU was selected by an independent panel.
Nearly $100 Million in Grants Available for 'Work Sharing'
Almost $100 million in grants will be made available to states to implement or improve existing short-term compensation programs, commonly referred to as "work sharing," the department announced on August 13. Work sharing allows employees to keep their jobs and helps employers to avoid laying off their trained workforces during economic downturns by reducing the hours of work for an entire group of affected workers. Workers facing reduced hours can have their wages compensated with a portion of their weekly unemployment compensation payments. "This program is a win-win for businesses and employees alike," Secretary Solis said.
"Every year, hundreds of construction workers die on the job in falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. These deaths are preventable," Secretary Solis emphasizes in a public service announcement. Falls are the deadliest hazard in the construction industry, with more than 250 deaths recorded in 2010. "If you're working from heights, your employer must provide a safe ladder, safety harnesses and lines," Solis said. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has undertaken a nationwide fall prevention campaign with support from organizations, universities and consulates to advocate three simple steps: plan, provide and train.
The deadline for the Office of Disability Employment Policy's disability-related application challenge is fast approaching. The goal of the competition 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. Applications are due August 23. 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.
Innovation has always thrived on the urgency to confront the economic and technological challenges in this nation's communities, classrooms and businesses. So the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a challenge to the public to come up with new ways to educate employers and employees about vitally important workplace safety and health practices. In May, OSHA announced the Worker Safety and Health App Challenge, and the submission period ends on September 16. Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, will be on a panel of judges that includes Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, co-hosts of the popular Discovery Channel show "Myth Busters." A $15,000 award will be given for the "Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award," $6,000 for the "Safety and Health Data Award" and $6,000 for the "Workers' Rights Award." There is also a "People's Choice Award" of $3,000 for the developer of the app that receives the most public votes on the website. The winners will be announced in early October.
The Bureau of International Labor Affairs is soliciting applicants to provide monitoring, evaluation, and training support services. Prospective contractors must develop project-level monitoring and evaluation systems; conduct external implementation evaluations of technical cooperation projects; and provide training to ILAB staff on monitoring and evaluation topics. Applications are due by August 29.
Through a local chapter of the International Association of Workforce Professionals, Department of Labor employees recently joined in "Operation Backpack," providing school supplies to underprivileged area youth. Last week, a contingent of Employment and Training Administration employees stuffed backpacks with binders, calculators, pencils and other school supplies valued at more than $70 per student. In addition, leftover school supplies were donated to the Central Union Mission to be combined with other donations to complete other backpacks. Department employees will join other volunteers on August 18 to distribute the completed backpacks during a "back to school" party.
Job Corps Students Exchange Ideas and Good Will in China
Four Job Corps students are serving as America's ambassadors, currently attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation youth skills camp being hosted by the People's Republic of China through August 19. The participating students were selected by the National Office of Job Corps based on their accomplishments, goals and professional attitude. Matthew Moody of the Long Beach Job Corps Center said he wanted to "teach others in a different country what I have learned in the cement masonry program." Elayna Tucker of the Detroit Job Corps Center said she would use this experience to "eventually look for a job with the Peace Corps or the State Department" after going to college to study international business. The Job Corps students are exchanging ideas on career technical training with youth from 20 other economies. Besides attending workshops, participants will be visiting diesel engine and automotive production facilities and an electronics company, as well as sightseeing at the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
Their travels will
take them to Beijing, Nanjing, Wuxi and Shanghai. Besides Moody and Tucker, the other Job Corps students on the trip are Matthew Johnson of the Treasure Island Job Corps Center in California and Alexander Dwyer of the Columbia Basin Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Washington state. A representative of the department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs is acting as chaperone.
Seniors Program Helps Vermont Native Find Employment
An illness forced Jessica Sanderson of Vermont to leave her job and live off her retirement savings for almost two years. When she was well enough to return to the workforce, she had a difficult time finding employment, even after sending out almost 200 resumes. Acknowledging that she "had reached rock bottom," Sanderson turned for help to Vermont Associates for Training and Development, a grantee of the department's Senior Community Service Employment Program. There she received help in updating her resume, sharpening her interview techniques, and learning new computer skills. The grantee placed her in a paid position with a nonprofit. This experience eventually led her to a full-time position, she said, "in a real job that I love" as an administrative assistant at a local culinary college.
DOL in Action
T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom Ordered to Pay Whistleblower $345,000
Deutsche Telekom AG and subsidiary T-Mobile USA have been ordered by the department to pay $345,972 to a worker in Bellevue, Wash. The employee was fired after raising concerns about the possibility of fraudulent roaming charges levied on hundreds of international corporate customers. The order follows an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Seattle office into alleged violations of the whistleblower protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Syracuse Security Guard Companies Debarred From Federal Contracts
The department has obtained a judgment from an administrative law judge ordering two Syracuse contractors to pay a total of $71,424 in back wages to 21 employees. The judgment also debars Chester Vinch, doing business as Vinch's PI & Security, and his son, Peter Vinch, doing business as Partners Training School, from being eligible to apply for federal contracts for three years. The judgment resolves a complaint filed by the department after an investigation by the Syracuse Area Office of the Wage and Hour Division found violations of the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act. As subcontractors on a federal contract, the companies provided security guard services to the Eljay Apartments in Syracuse that are owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. WHD investigators found that employees were not provided required wages and fringe benefits, and the employers did not create or maintain adequate records of employees' work hours and rates of pay.
Accurate Home Care to Pay $274,000 to 61 Minnesota Workers
Accurate Home Care in Elk Grove, Minn., will pay $274,884 in back wages to 61 home health care workers after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division discovered violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company was found to have violated minimum wage regulations by requiring employees to work without pay in order to make up hours from previous weeks. The investigation also disclosed overtime violations when licensed practical nurses were paid "straight time" rates, without an overtime premium, for hours worked over 40 in a week. For some LPNs, "comp time" hours were banked at straight-time rates, providing time off in subsequent workweeks.
Hebco Products Inc. located in Bucyrus, Ohio, was cited for 14 safety violations, including two repeat violations for failing to guard machines to prevent amputation injuries. Proposed penalties total $95,700. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated an inspection of the screw machine parts manufacturer under the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which targets industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries and illnesses.
Investigators Find Overtime Violations at Houston Ice Cream Parlors
Twelve workers employed at four commonly-owned ice cream parlors in the Houston area, all doing business as Marble Slab Creamery, will be receiving a total of $15,498 in overtime back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division. Investigators found overtime and record-keeping violations. Workers were paid on a semimonthly basis and there was no established workweek schedule to determine when an employee worked more than 40 hours a week.
The department has filed suit against International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 611, located in Albuquerque, N.M. The lawsuit seeks to nullify the local's September 6, 2011, election for the offices of president, vice president, business manager/financial secretary, recording secretary, treasurer and the executive board and seeks a new election under supervision of the Office of Labor-Management Standards. The complaint alleges that one group of candidates used employer email to campaign while other candidates requested, but were not allowed to make similar use of this employer resource, in violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
Investigators Find Casinos Let Teens Operate Trash Compactors
Peninsula Gaming LLC of Dubuque, Iowa, has been assessed $9,300 in civil penalties by the department. Investigators for the Wage and Hour Division found teenagers employed at the company's Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, Iowa, were allowed to load and operate trash compactors in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The investigations also disclosed violations of the FLSA's overtime pay and record-keeping requirements, resulting in back wages totaling $46,531 for 32 employees at the Diamond Jo Casino and the company's Diamond Jo Riverboat Casino in Dubuque. The overtime violations at both casinos were because the company incorrectly classified employees as exempt from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements.
Alabama Furniture Manufacturer Cited for Serious Violations
Scholar Craft Products Inc., doing business as Melsur Corp., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with 25 safety and health violations following an inspection at the company's Birmingham, Ala., facility. OSHA initiated the inspection as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Amputations and Local Emphasis Program on High Noise Industries. The furniture manufacturer faces $94,500 in proposed penalties for several violations, including failing to develop and use lockout/tagout procedures, allowing combustible dust to accumulate on floors, equipment and walls and not protecting workers from falling onto dangerous equipment.
Foundry Workers Exposed to Lead Hazards, Inspection Finds
A Franklin, N.H., foundry's failure to address lead exposure hazards has resulted in $185,900 in proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines. Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry Inc. was cited for willful and serious violations of workplace health and safety standards following an inspection by OSHA's Concord Area Office. The inspection found two employees exposed to excessive levels of lead during foundry operations as well as a lack of sufficient engineering controls to reduce those exposure levels. Management also failed to conduct additional lead exposure monitoring when alloys with higher lead content were used and the ventilation system was not working. In addition, management failed to regularly measure the ventilation system to gauge its effectiveness in controlling lead exposure, and respirators were not used when required.
Complaint Filed to Recover $100,000 for Sushi Restaurant Workers
The department has filed a complaint in federal court seeking back wages for 54 servers and chefs of three Sushi Rock restaurants in Ohio. An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division determined that the employees are owed more than $100,000 because of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements. Investigators found that the three restaurants, located in Cleveland, Columbus and Beachwood, failed to adjust the wages of servers to meet the hourly minimum wage requirement and incorrectly classified sushi chefs as professional employees, resulting in the chefs not receiving overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a week.
Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for five health violations at a facility in Kankakee, Ill., owned by AT&T Inc. The citations include one repeat violation for failing to implement a training program for employees performing Class II asbestos work. OSHA initiated an inspection upon receiving a complaint alleging hazards. Proposed fines total $59,400. Four serious violations related to Class II asbestos work included failing to perform air monitoring and conduct exposure assessments as well as requiring employees to wear appropriate respirators and use protective clothing.
Nebraska Facility Recognized for Safety and Health Program
The management and employees of the Monsanto Gothenburg Water Utilization Learning Center and Breeding Facility have been recognized for excellence in the company's safety and health program. The facility has been designated a "star," the highest honor in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Programs. The program recognizes private and federal work sites with effective safety and health management systems that have maintained injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages. Located in Gothenburg, Neb., the facility employs about 30 workers and conducts corn hybrid testing and development.
Safety Directive Issued for Marine Cargo Handling Industry
A revised directive providing enforcement guidance for inspections of longshoring operations at marine terminals, also known as the marine cargo handling industry, was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The directive is aimed at eliminating workplace hazards by addressing updated requirements for personal protective equipment and the safe operation of vertical tandem lifts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seven workers died and more than 2,900 were injured performing marine cargo handling operations in 2010.
MVP Kosher Foods LLC has been fined $140,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two repeat, 15 serious and four other-than-serious violations at its Birdsboro, Pa., facility. OSHA's inspection was initiated in response to a complaint alleging the hazards. The violations include failing to provide the proper guards for a ladder way and platforms, failing to develop lockout/tagout procedures, failing to provide personal protective equipment for employees working on energized equipment, and electrical hazards.
Z & H Happy Hands Corp., doing business as Happy Hands Carwash, is being sued by the department for willfully and repeatedly failing to pay employees for all hours worked. The lawsuit resulted from an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division that found the Santa Ana, Calif., employer had willfully and repeatedly failed to properly pay employees for all hours worked. The employer manipulated its computer-based timekeeping program to reflect substantially fewer hours worked. Most employees worked more than 40 hours per week without receiving overtime pay, which resulted in earnings of less than $3.50 per hour.
Connecticut Employers Urged to Review Fall Prevention After Fatality
Connecticut contractors are being urged by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to review their fall prevention safeguards, plan their jobs properly, ensure that their employees have the necessary protective equipment, and train their workers to recognize and prevent fall hazards. OSHA is emphasizing its "Stop Falls" campaign to Connecticut employers, noting that it recently cited Bridgeport contractor JC Silva Remodeling Services for fall hazards at three different worksites, including one in Shelton, where a worker fell to his death on Valentine's Day.
Janitorial Employer Faulted for Exposing Workers to Hazards
Healthcare Services Group Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with five safety violations for exposing workers to multiple hazards at the Missoula Health and Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home in Missoula, Mont. The company failed to train new workers on how to prevent exposure to hepatitis B, guard the belts and pulleys of a commercial dryer, and cover the opening of an electrical junction box. OSHA proposed $58,300 in penalties. The Bensalem, Pa.-based Healthcare Services Group employs about 37,000 workers nationwide and provides janitorial services to the healthcare industry.
Sodexho Faces Penalties for Violations During Asbestos Removal
Sodexho Inc. was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 12 serious and one other-than-serious violations involving asbestos removal at Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, W. Va. The company faces $81,000 in penalties for failing to provide respirators, protective clothing and training for employees performing Class II asbestos work, failing to inform workers of the location and quantities of asbestos-containing material, and recordkeeping inaccuracies. Sodexho Inc. is the leading provider of integrated food and facilities management services in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.