It had been only seven weeks since President Kennedy's death when President Lyndon B. Johnson went before Congress to deliver a sweeping vision for economic and civil rights reforms during his 1964 State of the Union address. The primary work before them would be the continuation of Kennedy's policies "not because of our sorrow or sympathy," Johnson said, "but because they are right." Many of the bold economic measures that he identified increased investments in job training, education grants, an expanded national volunteer service, rural and urban renewal programs would be enacted when Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act 49 years ago this week, on Aug. 20. A centerpiece of the law was the creation of the Job Corps, which today serves 60,000 young people a year and has served some 1.5 million since its creation. Overseen by the Labor Department, Job Corps provides a second chance and renewed
hope, opening doors of opportunity that had been bolted shut. At the time, Johnson said the act that created Job Corps would provide "the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity." Today, graduates launch careers in everything from auto maintenance to IT, from health care to hospitality, from construction to finance. On Aug. 20, Secretary Perez commemorated the 49th anniversary of the program by breaking ground on the newest Job Corps center in Manchester, N.H.
Myth: The Affordable Care Act harms small businesses.
Not true: Hundreds of thousands of small-business owners have taken advantage of the law's tax credit worth up to 35 percent of their premium contribution this year, and increasing to 50 percent in 2014 to help them provide coverage for their employees. For small businesses that buy coverage on their own and are looking for better deals, the law will provide better options through the Marketplace starting in 2014. And the Small Business Health Options Program will allow small employers to pool together to access more affordable plans. Because of the ACA, millions of small businesses, as well as their employees and customers, are enjoying better choices, more control and greater certainty.
• For New Hampshire Youth, Job Corps Offers New Path to Opportunity: In this post, which first appeared as an op-ed in the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, Secretary Perez reflects on the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which established a wide-ranging series of employment training programs, including Job Corps, which celebrated its 49th anniversary this week. In Manchester, N.H., to break ground on the newest Job Corps center, Perez writes about the life-changing impact that Job Corps has made on the 1.5 million young people it has served in its history and celebrates the potential opportunities for success that will soon be available to New Hampshire youth. "As a matter of the nation's economic competitiveness and its commitment to social justice," Perez writes of the young people that the program is designed to serve, "we must build for them ladders of opportunity, with sturdy rungs that they can reach through hard work, ingenuity and initiative."
• Setting the Wheels of Civil Rights in Motion: Though she was just a child growing up on the other side of the country, the March on Washington 50 years ago had a stirring effect on Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez and her family. Martinez, who was born blind, remembers how the march inspired her deep commitment to principles of inclusion and empowerment and informed the emerging movement for disability rights that she and her colleagues carry on to this day in their work at the department.
• Tearing Down Walls That Keep Veterans From Good Jobs: Among the many obstacles that veterans face when transitioning from military service to the civilian workforce is the disparity between military skills and the civilian credentialing and licensing programs in our states. In recent years, much progress has been made in this area, with many states adopting strategies that will help veterans navigate the process more smoothly. Tony Camilli, a strategic outreach specialist for the Veterans' Employment and Training Service, discusses why these efforts are so important for veterans and what the department is doing to play its part.
Reduction in Fatal Work Injuries
The preliminary results from the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2012 were released on Aug. 22 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last year, 4,383 workers died from work-related injuries, down from a final count of 4,693 fatal work injuries in 2011. This is the second lowest preliminary total since it was first conducted in 1992. "I am greatly encouraged by the reduction in workplace fatalities, even in a growing economy. It is a testament to the hard work of employers, unions, health and safety professionals and the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration," said Secretary Perez. "But to me these aren't just numbers and data they are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, who will never come home again." The department, he added, "will continue to engage with employers to make sure that these fatality numbers go down further. No worker should lose their life for a paycheck."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on August 20 that more than 2 million youth aged 16 to 24 gained employment between April and July 2013, the month when summer jobs are highest. The percentage of youth employed in July 2013 was 50.7 percent, an increase from last year's rate of 50.2 percent. The bureau also reported that the unemployment rate among this group was 16.3 percent in July 2013, the third consecutive annual decline and down 3 percentage points from its July peak of 19.1 percent in July 2010.
Before Aug. 23, 1984, women who left work to raise families lost all the retirement benefits they had earned. That was one issue fixed by the passage of the Retirement Equity Act. As the pension and employee benefit counsel for the House Education and Labor Committee in 1984, Phyllis C. Borzi played an important role in drafting the act's historic pension protections for U.S. workers and their families. The act also lowered the minimum age requirement for pension plan participation and required spousal consent for workers to waive survivor benefits. Now the assistant secretary of labor for employee benefits security, Borzi says, "I'm proud of the role I played."
Landscape students at California's Inland Empire Job Corps Center recently put their skills to work mowing, trimming, raking, edging and weeding the grounds of the Rowe Branch Library in San Bernardino, Calif. Instructor Nick Schneider said that, because of local budget constraints, maintenance by city crews was difficult to come by. Schneider said Inland's actions "will help free the city's parks and recreation employees to take care of other much-needed areas." DeChaunce Veasley, one of Inland Empire's students, said, "I think when other people see what we have done, it will inspire them to take pride in their community." Student Elizabeth Jansky added, "We did our very best to make the library look as pretty as possible. It feels good to use what we have learned at the center to help our community."
An alliance focused at protecting women in construction was signed on Aug. 21 between the National Association of Women in Construction and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. During the two-year agreement, the alliance will develop training resources on musculoskeletal and sanitation hazards, personal protective equipment selection and other issues specific to female construction workers. "Safety and health problems in construction create barriers to women entering and remaining in this field," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Through this alliance, we will work together to forge innovative solutions to improve the safety, health and working conditions for women in the construction trades and retain them during a critical time of job shortages in this industry." A signing ceremony with NAWIC representatives was held on the eve of the public launch of OSHA's Women in Construction website.
Miners across the country hope they will never have to conduct a mine rescue operation after a mine accident, but that doesn't mean they don't spend time preparing for one. Nearly 30 local mine rescue competitions have been held this year, including the 50th Annual Pennsylvania State Mine Rescue, First Aid, Pre-shift, and Bench Contests held Aug. 20-22 in Carmichaels, Pa. Fifteen teams from Pennsylvania and West Virginia comprised of more than 100 miners were on hand for remarks by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main during the competition, which took place at Carmichaels Jr./Sr. High School. The competition, which includes emergency scenarios posed to the teams, is designed to better prepare rescue personnel for the possibility of a mine catastrophe. The contest comes just over 11 years after the July 2002 Quecreek mine rescue in Somerset County, Pa., in which nine miners trapped underground for more than 78 hours were rescued.
The department awarded a grant of $332,576 to Oregon on August 19 to assist the state in its efforts to expand and enhance its Self-Employment Assistance program. The funding will be used to implement intensive training and one-on-one counseling to assist aspiring entrepreneurs in launching their companies. Participants will receive financial assistance equal to their UI benefit while they receive important entrepreneur training and access to resources that can help them start their business. The program is available on a voluntary basis and open to Oregon residents eligible for unemployment insurance.
The Women's Bureau's Boston regional office held an Aug. 21 roundtable focusing on career opportunities for women in the green and clean energy fields. It brought together 35 representatives from government, academia and business plus students and job seekers. Speakers outlined innovative efforts such as the University of Massachusetts' green internship program, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's use of paid internships. Attendees shared their personal stories of how they obtained their jobs in the green and clean energy sectors, and several participants expressed interest in mentoring and networking for advancement in green careers.
Workers in coal mines continue to suffer exposure to respirable coal dust, which can result in pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease, a debilitating illness that can kill. On Aug. 22, the 2013 Central Appalachian Regional Work Safety & Health Symposium focused on efforts to end the dreaded disease. In keynote remarks, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main touched on the department's initiatives, including MSHA's "End Black Lung ACT NOW" campaign, and a proposed rule to lower miners' exposure to respirable coal mine dust. "While we have made progress and are moving mine safety and health in the right direction, there is much more to do to provide miners the opportunity to go to work, put in their shift and return home safe and healthy each day," said Main. "That is our mission and our goal. Together we can make that happen. We owe the nation's miners that much."
An open meeting of the ERISA Advisory Council will take place at department headquarters in Washington, D.C., Aug. 27-29. Advisory Council members will hear testimony and receive an update on Employee Benefits Security Administration activities. The meeting will cover successful retirement plan communications for various population segments, locating missing and lost participants, and private-sector pension de-risking and participant protections.
Partners in the Employment, Education and Outreach alliance welcomed Laura Fortman, principal deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, at a meeting held at the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles. The alliance is one of the department's most successful outreach efforts and the meeting provided Fortman with the opportunity to meet representatives of federal and state agencies, Mexican and Central American consulates and nonprofit organizations that make up the EMPLEO alliance. The alliance facilitates vital workplace protections for the Spanish-speaking community in Southern California. Since the program's inception in 2004, $14 million in back wages has been collected for more than 9,000 workers.
Weekly UI Claims
The department reported that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance claims was 336,000 for the week ending August 17, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average was 330,500, down 2,250 from the previous week's revised average.
On the very day that the Job Corps program was established 49 years ago, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez and New Hampshire leaders lined up with shovels for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Manchester Job Corps Center. In his remarks at the Aug. 20 event, Perez invoked the success of Job Corps as one of the nation's most enduring training programs for disadvantaged youth and said the program's past should be celebrated "with an eye on the future, right here in front of us, toward the young people that it will empower and will continue to empower and the lives it will change and the businesses it will help right here in the Granite State." The secretary was joined at the groundbreaking by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, Gov. Maggie Hassan and Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas. The new Job Corps center is scheduled to be completed in December 2014 and enroll 150 students by June 2015. The secretary then visited Manchester Community College, toured an advanced manufacturing training facility made possible through a 2011 department grant with college president Susan Huard, and participated in a roundtable discussion with employers and students about the importance of skills development. Over the last few years, Perez said, the Obama administration has made unprecedented investments in community colleges because it believes they are at the center of today's demand-driven approach to workforce development.
On his 29th day as secretary of labor, Thomas E. Perez traveled from east to west as he continued his "house calls" in Las Vegas. The Nevada AFL-CIO welcomed Sen. Harry Reid and Secretary Perez to their Constitutional Convention on Aug. 21. In their remarks, both emphasized the important role organized labor has served in helping workers achieve the American dream. The hardworking staff of the 2,600 American Jobs Centers across the country is also helping to create ladders of opportunity, by connecting the unemployed and underemployed with job search tools and job training. Director LaVerne Kelley introduced the secretary to center clients, including O'Mar Williams, an underemployed father of four who recently obtained both his commercial driver's license and a job with Werner Trucking Co. Because the unemployed are often uninsured, job center staff are uniquely positioned to share information about the health-care exchanges that will open for business Oct. 1. Perez helped lead a webinar, viewed by more than 850 American Job Center staffers from across the country, on the features of healthcare.gov. He later walked a job center client through the process of shopping for health insurance using the website. Then it was on to a tasty visit at the Culinary Academy, a best-in-class partnership between Las Vegas employers and the Culinary Workers Union. At the academy, Perez learned the secrets behind making a hotel bed in less than 5 minutes; sampled fresh ravioli crafted by students training to be chefs, and spoke with students practicing proper serving techniques. Perez ended the day with a roundtable discussion with local business leaders. The group shared their thoughts regarding how comprehensive immigration reform would positively impact their businesses, and the urgent need for congressional action.
American Job Centers Preparing for New Health Insurance Options
"The unemployed are very often the uninsured as well," said Secretary Perez during a webinar with American Job Center staff and employment advocates from around the country. With the enrollment period for the new health care exchanges to begin on Oct. 1, 2013, American Job Centers are preparing staff to provide their clients with critical information about coverage options, how to enroll for coverage, and insurance subsidies. The training webinar was hosted by the Department of Labor and included a presentation from the Department of Health and Human Services. Perez, while touring an American Job Center in Las Vegas, Nev., also provided participants in the webinar with a demonstration of how to access and use the healthcare.gov website to assist clients.
With the summer agricultural season in full swing, and the Department of Agriculture predicting a record-breaking corn crop in 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to educate the agri-business community and workers about dangers in the grain handling industry, especially in the storage of grain. "A worker can be completely submerged in a storage bin in less than 60 seconds. More than half of all engulfments result in death by suffocation," said Nick Walters, OSHA regional administrator for six Midwestern states. After 26 workers died in 2012, OSHA developed a local emphasis program across 25 states to address the recurring number of preventable injuries and deaths that occur each year. The major hazards in the industry include engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, struck by, combustible dust explosions and electrocution. In July, a 55-year-old worker was fatally engulfed in a grain bin in Sidney, Ill., among other incidents this year prompting investigations and underscoring the urgency of OSHA's grain bin safety initiative.
Webcast: Workers, Families and the Affordable Care Act
How does the Affordable Care Act affect you? The Employee Benefits Security Administration will host a webcast from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT on Aug. 29 to help workers and families understand the impacts of health reform. EBSA staff will discuss the ACA's effects on employment-based group health plans. Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services will explain how to purchase coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace. The webcast will also cover new consumer protections that will become available in 2014.
Secretary Wilson Descendants Visit Department Headquarters
The family of William B. Wilson, the first secretary of labor, marked their inaugural visit to the Frances Perkins Building during a recent trip to Washington. Secretary Wilson's great-great-grandson, Daniel, is moving to Alexandria, Va., and preparing for a new job at the Department of Defense. Daniel and his parents, William B. Wilson IV and Jean, pored over archival documents, books and photographs from Secretary Wilson's administration in the Wirtz Labor Library and at the William B. Wilson kiosk. The family's connections to the Labor Department don't end there. William B. Wilson IV attended high school with Secretary Perez's brother, Rafael, in Buffalo, N.Y. William B. Wilson III is still living and resides in Buffalo.
Back to School Means School Supplies and Backpacks
The D.C. Chapter of the International Association of Workforce Professionals sponsored "Operation Backpack," a community service project to assist children from disadvantaged homes so that they start the school year prepared. The local IAWP Chapter, with the support of generous contributions from department employees, provided 28 backpacks filled with all of the supplies needed for 3rd and 4th graders. In addition to the completed backpacks, two boxes of school supplies were collected to contribute to other backpacks and delivered to the Central Union Mission on Aug. 16.
DOL Working for You
Funding Leads Alabamian to Health Care Career
Alabama's Precious Perdue wanted to have a better life and be able to provide for her two daughters, so she decided that a health-care career would be the ticket to her success. Perdue enrolled in a three-week life skills and career readiness training program offered by departmental grantee the Dannon Project. It gave her occupational classroom training towards a career as a certified nursing assistant in phlebotomy. Thanks also to funding from the Employment and Training Administration's Young Parent Demonstration program, Dannon set up Perdue with jobs as a phlebotomist at two local health-care centers. "I love helping doctors find out what is wrong with the patients," Perdue said.
DOL in Action
Trustees of Union Pension, Other Funds to Repay Nearly $2.3 Million
The trustees of the pension plan, annuity fund and vacation fund of Exhibition Employees Local 829 of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees in New York have repaid $2,256,817 to the funds, with an additional $50,000 scheduled to be paid, as a result of a consent judgment. The department first filed suit against the defendants in 2012, alleging numerous violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act following an investigation by the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration. "This case involved pervasive and serious diversions of retirement plan assets," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi. "Trustees must carry out their fiduciary duties solely in the interests of plan participants who have invested their funds and trust in them."
Ohio Auto Parts Plant Cited for Multiple Serious Violations
Okamoto Sandusky Manufacturing LLC has been cited for 15 health and safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at its Sandusky, Ohio, vinyl automotive products manufacturing facility. OSHA initiated the inspection after receiving a complaint and has proposed fines of $58,500. Fourteen violations were deemed serious and included failing to conduct periodic inspections or training for the lockout/tag out program, not developing an emergency response plan and training, lack of machine guarding on rollers and conveyors, and failing to implement comprehensive respiratory protection and hearing conservation programs.
Inspection Finds Safety Hazards at Texas Senior Living Center
Williamsburg Village Healthcare Campus, a senior living center near Dallas, was cited for seven serious safety violations and proposed penalties of $46,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A variety of safety hazards were found at the campus' York Drive facility in DeSoto, Texas, during an inspection begun on June 6. It was conducted under OSHA's national emphasis program for nursing and residential care facilities, which is focused on protecting workers from serious safety and health hazards that are common in medical industries.
Florida Company Failed to Pay Overtime, Investigation Finds
C&B Electrical Contractors of Florida Inc. has agreed to pay $124,638 in back wages to 59 workers following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Investigators from the Jacksonville District Office determined that C&B Electrical Contractors failed to pay overtime to employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek. The company paid employees on a piece rate, but not at one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40. Additionally, the employer failed to maintain accurate records of hours worked and payments made to its employees.
Railway Companies to Pay $263,000 in Work-related Injury Cases
Two subsidiaries of Canadian National Railway have been ordered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pay more than $263,000 in back wages, interest, attorney's fees, compensatory and punitive damages to two employees who were disciplined for reporting work-related injuries, in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act. One employee will also be reinstated to his position. The employees worked for Illinois Central Railroad Co. and Wisconsin Central Ltd., wholly-owned subsidiaries of Canadian National Railway.
New Jersey Manufacturer Cited for Repeat Worker Hazards
Royal Aluminum Co. Inc., a vinyl window manufacturer, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 18 alleged safety and health violations, including three repeat, at its Newark, N.J., facility. OSHA opened the inspection in June in response to a complaint alleging hazards. The repeat violations were due to the company's failure to implement a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to noise above 85 decibels, implement a written hazard communication program for workers using hazardous chemicals, and train workers on the hazards of the chemicals involved in their duties. Penalties of $57,400 have been proposed.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Upper Marlboro, Md., has agreed to conduct new nominations and a new election for the offices of international president, general secretary-treasurer and eight general vice presidents under Office of Labor-Management Standards supervision. An OLMS investigation of a February 2013 election revealed several issues. The union failed to provide notice of nomination to the membership regarding the nomination of international officers; local lodges did not provide notice of their nomination meetings to all members; and members were denied a reasonable opportunity to nominate candidates. The new election must be held before June 2014.
New York Manufacturer Faulted for New and Recurring Hazards
New and recurring safety hazards have resulted in $69,244 in proposed fines for a Plattsburgh, N.Y., manufacturer of Fiberglas-reinforced plastic panels. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Solve Composites LLC for seven repeat and three serious violations. The recurring hazards include explosion hazards from an inadequate system to collect and dispose of combustible dust, and also fire, chemical and electrical hazards. New hazards include inadequate safeguards for workers exposed to high noise levels.
Approximately 220 workers and displaced homemakers affected by the closure of the Kewaunee Power Station in Kewaunee, Wis., will benefit from an $807,193 National Emergency Grant. The grant, awarded on Aug. 21 to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, will be administered by the Bay Area Workforce Development Board Inc. Under the grant, eligible individuals will have access to services, including career and skill assessments, job search assistance, support services and training. "These workers have specialized job skills needed in the nuclear power industry, and this federal funding will provide a range of re-employment services and opportunities," said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Eric Seleznow.
Inspection Reveals Hazards for TSA Workers at Boston Airport
Following an inspection at Boston's Logan International Airport, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 14 notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions to the Transportation Security Administration. OSHA's inspection found TSA employees exposed to various hazards at inspection rooms, break rooms and other locations where TSA employees worked. The hazards included unguarded machinery, misused electrical equipment, defective or deficient ladders and lack of protective clothing.
Lawsuit Filed Against Michigan Farm for Migrant Violations
The department is taking legal action to protect migrant workers at Kaleva, Mich.-based Grossnickle Farms following an investigation conducted by its Wage and Hour Division. A complaint has been filed in federal court against the farming operation and its two owners, Allen and Corinne Grossnickle, alleging violations of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act for failing to maintain migrant agricultural housing facilities and the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage and record-keeping provisions. Grossnickle Farms is a strawberry, asparagus and cucumber farm. The company had 49 migrant and seasonal farm workers during the 2012 cucumber harvest.
Logging Company Cited for Tree Felling Hazards Following Fatality
Best Logging, a company based in Ripley, W.Va., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 14 alleged serious and four other-than-serious violations including tree felling hazards found at a Rock Castle, W.Va., work site. OSHA's February inspection was initiated following the fatality of a worker, who was struck by a tree during logging operations. Cited violations include the company's failure to ensure employees wore proper protection and boots while operating a chain saw and performing logging operations, provide training to employees involved in logging operations, and develop and implement a written Hazard Communication Program. The company faces $39,000 in proposed fines.
A $250,000 National Emergency Grant announced on Aug. 19 will assist West Virginians with cleanup and recovery efforts following severe storms and flooding that struck the state on June 13. The funds, awarded to WorkForce West Virginia, will be used to create temporary jobs for eligible individuals who will assist with the cleanup and recovery efforts.
Pipefitting Manufacturer Faces Fines for Workplace Hazards
Pipefitting manufacturer Flowline, a division of Ezeflow USA Inc., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 12 alleged serious safety and health violations at the company's New Castle, Pa., facility. OSHA's February inspection was prompted by a complaint and resulted in $48,000 in proposed penalties. The serious violations include workers not provided with personal protective equipment for the eyes, face, hands and body, inadequate machine guarding, and a lack of lockout/tagout procedures to prevent inadvertent machine activation. Flowline manufactures stainless steel, aluminum, and nickel alloy corrosion resistant butt weld pipe fittings.
Cooper Natural Resources was cited for 13 safety violations and proposed penalties of $58,100 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing workers to chemical hazards at its Loop, Texas, salt manufacturing plant. The complaint inspection, which began in March, was initiated under the agency's complaint process and expanded to the Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program. PSM encompasses a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards proactively that are associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals. This case involved the use of anhydrous ammonia. Seven of the 12 serious violations involve deficiencies in PSM.
Corn Mill Employer Cited, Worker Fatally Asphyxiated in Grain Bin Silo
In February, a worker inside a grain silo, attempting to move clumped corn byproducts, was engulfed, asphyxiated and died. Following the death, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Azteca Milling LP in Edinburg, Texas, for seven serious safety violations. The serious violations include failing to provide an adequate emergency action plan; train workers about entering the grain silo; issue a permit for silo entry; test the atmosphere condition prior to silo entry; provide a body harness or lifelines that limit the worker from sinking further than waist-deep; provide an observer stationed outside of the grain silo for assistance; and provide suitable equipment for rescue operations.
Candy Maker Failed to Protect Workers From Ammonia Exposure
Russell Stover Candies Inc. was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for eight serious safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $44,005 for exposing workers to chemical hazards at its candy manufacturing plant in Corsicana, Texas. The May inspection came under the agency's Process Safety Management Covered Chemicals National Emphasis Program. Some of the PSM violations include failing to confirm that process equipment complies with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, compile written process safety information for ammonia relief system header and emergency cutouts and establish and implement written procedures to maintain the ongoing mechanical integrity of the process equipment.
Lumber Manufacturer Failed to Train on Combustible Dust Hazards
Keadle Lumber Enterprises Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 10 serious safety and health violations following an April inspection at the manufacturer's facility in Thomaston, Ga. The serious violations include the company's failure to train workers on the hazards associated with combustible dust; ensure that shavings, dust and wood chips did not accumulate in the work area; ensure the dust collector system was grounded and bonded to prevent an explosion hazard and not posting danger signage to warn workers of a confined space. OSHA initiated the inspection as part of its national emphasis program on amputations and regional emphasis program on noise hazards. Penalties of $46,970 have been proposed.
Penn Hills, Pa.-based N.E.J. Abatement Group Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with six serious violations involving lead hazards at a Pittsburgh work site. An April inspection was prompted by a referral from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and conducted by OSHA under its National Emphasis Program on Lead. The violations include exposure to lead above the permissible exposure limit, a lack of adequate engineering and administrative controls, lack of a lead compliance program, and failure to conduct initial biological monitoring. Penalties of $16,800 have been proposed.
Hagel Metal Fabrication Inc., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 12 safety and health violations after a 23-year-old worker was fatally crushed on Feb. 22 by an automated laser-cutting machine at the East Peoria, Ill., metal manufacturing plant. OSHA has placed Hagel Metal Fabrication in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The violations cited include bypassing safeguards on two laser-cutting machines and the failures to lock out sources of hazardous machine energy.
Lack of Machine Guarding Found at Dayton Superior Corp.
Dayton Superior Corp. of Braselton, Ga., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two repeat and five serious safety and health violations following a complaint received concerning workplace hazards at the manufacturing facility. The repeat violations were cited for the employer's failure to provide machine guarding against in-going nip points on the press machine and on the point of operation on several pieces of equipment throughout the plant. Other violations include failing to protect workers against sparks; perform periodic inspections of the energy control procedures with authorized workers and not maintaining a certification of inspection for the presses. Penalties of $80,025 have been proposed.
Chemical Manufacturer in Georgia Faces Penalties for Safety Violations
Biolab Inc., a manufacturer of pool chemical products, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with one repeat and six serious safety violations following a March inspection at the company's facility in Conyers, Ga. The repeat violation involves the employer exposing workers to chlorine above the ceiling limit. The serious violations include the employer exposing workers to electrical hazards from openings in a junction box and electrical panels, failing to provide machine guarding on a chain and sprocket and not providing training for workers required to operate powered industrial trucks. Penalties of $46,250 have been proposed.