United States Department of Labor

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April 23, 2015
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By The Numbers By The Numbers: 453,776 academic and industry credentials earned by Job Corps students over the last 5 years.

The Best of Our Blog

Each week, this space will bring you the best from our blog.

What's in Store for This Year's High School Graduates? "Graduation season is fast approaching, and high school seniors all over the country are making plans for what they will do after crossing the stage and picking up that piece of paper," writes Dr. Heidi Shierholz, chief economist at the Labor Department.

Making Workers Whole: "There's no question that a worker deserves a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. Yet every day, workers all across America are denied the wages they have earned and are legally entitled to," writes Dr. David Weil, administrator of the Wage and Hour Division.

7 Things to Know if You're Thinking About a STEM Career: It's probably common knowledge that jobs in science, technology, engineering and math often pay well, and that many STEM fields are growing. Did you know that seven of the 10 largest STEM jobs involve computers, or that the highest-paying STEM occupation is a petroleum engineer?

How to Grow the Economy

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez is interviewed by Margaret Carlson, columnist for Bloomberg View, at The Atlantic Summit on the Economy, April 23. Click for a larger photo.

The Atlantic Summit on the Economy was held April 23 in Washington, D.C., and allowed the magazine's editors to assemble business leaders, advocates and academics to discuss the future of our economy and workforce. A featured guest, Secretary Perez, joined Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg View columnist and former Time magazine White House correspondent, to share his thoughts on striving for full employment in our country. Perez discussed the unfinished business of this recovery and ways to grow the economy. These include upskilling our workforce, increasing the minimum wage, passing a federal paid-leave policy and expanding apprenticeship (which he called "the other college without the debt.") Praising those employers who balance profits with employee prosperity, Perez said: "So many business leaders have proven that the high road is the smart road."

Furthering AAPI Leaders

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in honor of the accomplishments and contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. The celebration includes promoting and supporting AAPI leadership in government. Deputy Secretary Chris Lu did just that in his remarks to the graduates of the 2014-2015 Senior Executive Service Development Program of the Asian American Government Executives Network on April 22. The one-year program includes leadership and public speaking training, networking and individual mentorship to ready civil servants from these areas for leadership positions. "One of the strengths of our country is our diversity," said Lu. "Likewise, the federal government benefits from a diverse group of leaders."

Whistleblower Committee Meets

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels (left) and Whistleblower Protection Program Acting Director Eric Harbin participate in the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee meeting April 20 in Washington, D.C. Click for a larger photo.

Workers, employers and public members on the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee met with Occupational Safety and Health Administration representatives on March 20-21 at department headquarters. Committee Chair Emily Spieler applauded the department for the strides it has made in recent years. The meeting focused largely on committee recommendations to OSHA for model practices companies can adopt. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels discussed the importance of the Whistleblower Protection Program and the committee's support, saying, "Workers have to be able to report hazards without fear of reprisal, and no one benefits if workers are silenced for sounding an alarm when they see a problem that could injure, sicken or kill someone." Michaels also announced that Regional Director MaryAnn Garrahan will be the head of the Whistleblower Protection Program starting in May.

Read About WPAC
Read About the Whistleblower Program

Ensuring a Critical Safety Net

Need Time, The Family and Medical Leave Act. Click for a larger photo.

Attendees at the Disability Management Employer Coalition's conference on April 20 in Alexandria, Va., were reminded of recent updates to the Family and Medical Leave Act. For more than 20 years, the FMLA has provided qualified workers with job-protected, unpaid leave to care for themselves or a family member. Wage and Hour Division Deputy Administrator Laura Fortman emphasized that the FMLA's central guarantee remains the same and new rules protect more workers. "We want to provide you with every piece of assistance we can so that you are fully informed and fully equipped to comply with the law," Fortman said. "Whether you are a single mom caring for a sick child or a same-sex couple needing time to bond with a newly adopted baby, the FMLA's job-protected leave provides a critical safety net for working families," said Fortman.

Learn More About the FMLA

Davis-Bacon Act Compliance

Employers in the construction industry involved with federally funded projects must pay their workers prevailing wage rates. The Wage and Hour Division makes sure workers are paid properly through enforcement and outreach to stakeholders. "We are committed to advancing a very basic idea: making sure that working people in the U.S. receive a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, and that unscrupulous employers do not gain an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding employers by skirting the rules," Wage and Hour Division Administrator David Weil told the annual legislative conference of North America's Building Trades Unions in Washington, D.C., on April 20. "We're serious about enforcement, and I want to make clear the importance of us working together to improve compliance, particularly within the context of our government contract work covered by the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts."

Learn About Compliance Assistance
Find Upcoming Prevailing Wage Seminars

Looking to Job Corps' Future

Braheem Farmer, a culinary student at Philadelphia Job Corps center, presents a tray of desserts during the 'How Sweet It Is' culinary competition, a celebration of 50 years of Job Corps held on April 20 during Job Corps' first-ever all hands meeting for Job Corps employees from across the country. Click for a larger photo.

With a new national director and a rejuvenated emphasis on modernization and reform, Job Corps brought together employees from across the country for a first-ever, all-hands, three-day symposium. Dozens of federal Job Corps employees gathered April 20-22 in Washington, D.C., and heard Secretary Perez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Portia Wu and Job Corps National Director Lenita Jacobs-Simmons describe their shared vision for the program's future. Job Corps is observing the 50th anniversary of the opening of its first center. Attendees learned about a variety of new initiatives to strengthen the program — from safety and security improvements to updated program and data quality policies to increasing nationally recognized credentialing. The forum was highlighted by the "How Sweet It Is" culinary competition, in which local Job Corps culinary students presented their confectionary creations to the staff, who then selected a winner.

Visit Job Corps on Facebook

Training and Equity for Workers

Participating in a panel at Public Policy Day 2015 in D.C. are:  (left to right) Robin Runge, senior policy advisor for the Labor Department's Civil Rights Center; Dr. Avis Jones-Deweever, president and CEO of Incite Unlimited; Seth Galanter, principal deputy assistant secretary, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education; Johan Uvin, acting assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education; and Pronita Gupta, deputy director, Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor. Click for a larger photo.

Equity, high-skills training and innovation were the focus of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity's Public Policy Day 2015 on April 22. In Washington, D.C., Pronita Gupta, deputy director of the Women's Bureau, joined a panel that included Robin Runge, senior policy advisor for the Civil Rights Center, and Johan Uvin of the U.S. Department of Education. Gupta discussed the work the Women's Bureau does to ensure that women achieve equity in the workplace through the promotion of jobs in STEM and in non-traditional fields. She also highlighted the department's American Apprenticeship grants, which support quality and innovative apprenticeship programs that lead to high-growth occupations and industries. "Our goal is to increase the number of women in apprenticeship programs and the American Apprenticeship grants are a fantastic way to increase apprenticeship opportunities for women," said Gupta.

Help for Women Veterans

Dr. Nancy Glowacki, Veterans' Employment and Training Service program manager, praised female service members at the National Association of State Women Veteran Coordinators' 16th Annual Training Conference in Austin, Texas, on April 21. "Women veterans are strong, and when we do face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, it is our determination and tenacity that often carries us through to the other side." Veteran coordinators are designated contacts that help women veterans when and if they have questions or problems accessing the services and benefits they've earned. The organization seeks to give the nation's women veterans equal access to veterans' services, resolve problems or delays in getting service, and educate veterans about the benefits they have earned. Dr. Glowacki encouraged attendees to forge relationships with VETS personnel in their respective states to help women veterans access the employment resources available through the department.

Find Resources for Veterans

Good News for Miners

It's been eight months since the final rule to prevent black lung disease by lowering miners' exposure to harmful coal dust was implemented. The good news is sampling by mine operators and Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors indicates that compliance with the rule's tougher requirements is highly achievable. "This is very good news for coal miners and validates the ability of mine operators to maintain the low dust levels to meet the new standard," said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main. "Better dust control systems are in place than ever before for our nation's coal miners. This rule is working."

Read the News Release

Outreach for Hmong Community

Corey Walton, of the Wage and Hour Division, (third from right) and Nate Jackson, assistant district director for OFCCP (second on right), participate in a community listening session at the Hmong Village Community Center and Mall in Saint Paul, Minn., April 11. Click for a larger photo.

Strengthening worker and labor protections for Asian-American and Pacific Islander workers in high-risk and low-wage industries was the focus of a community listening session held in Saint Paul recently. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs representatives discussed efforts to protect the rights of vulnerable workers through outreach programs such as the one held at the Hmong Village Community Center and Mall in Minnesota. Approximately 40 people attended the discussion, which included representatives from the Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board, and the St. Paul Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity.

Helping Combat Human Trafficking

The fight to end human trafficking brought 300 people to Austin, Texas, on April 17 for The Slave-Free City Summit. The event's host, Allies Against Slavery, builds community networks and works with survivors of human trafficking to educate, support and empower others. Representatives from the Wage and Hour Division's district office in Austin shared information on how it helps the effort. In its investigations of labor abuses, the division sometimes finds immigrant workers and others who are intimidated, threatened, or held against their will. Staff then works with other authorities, agencies and social service organizations to connect victims with assistance they need. The division also helps calculate restitution owed the victims in a criminal prosecution of the trafficker.

Weekly UI Claims

Seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance claims rose to 295,000 for the week ended April 18, the department reported. The advance figure was up 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised level. The four-week moving average was 284,500, up 1,750 from the previous week's unrevised average.

Read the News Release

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities

EBSA — Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar

May 12 — Indianapolis, IN
May 13 — Indianapolis, IN

EBSA — Get Financially Fit Early in Your Career

April 28 — Webcast

EBSA — Getting It Right: Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities

May 7 — Pasadena, CA
May 19 — Philadelphia, PA

OFCCP — An OFCCP Audit Through the Eyes of An Investigator

May 14 — Houston, TX

OFCCP — An OFCCP Compliance Evaluation Through the Eyes of a Compliance Officer

May 7 — Dallas, TX

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance for Colorado Industry Liaison Group (ILG)

April 29 — Denver, CO

OFCCP — Compliance Assictance With the SCILG

April 28 — Aiken, SC

OFCCP — Compliance Assistance Webinar: New Section 503 and VEVRAA Requirements

May 14 — Anchorage, AK

OFCCP — Construction 16 EEO & Affirmative Action Specifications

May 13 — Arlington, VA

OFCCP — Good Faith Efforts Required by OFCCP

May 7 — Orange, CA

OFCCP — New VEVRAA and Section 503 Regulations Affecting Veterans & Disabled Persons

May 21 — Dallas, TX

OFCCP — Protecting Your Workplace Rights

May 4 — Chicago, IL

OFCCP — Scheduling Letter Updates

May 13 — New Orleans, LA

OLMS — Compliance Assistance Seminar

May 19 — Appleton, WI
May 21 — Maple Grove, MN

OWCP — Traveling Resource Center to Assist Nuclear Weapons Workers

April 28 — Newport News, VA

WHD — Employee or Independent Contractor? Employment Relationship under the FLSA

April 30 — Houston, TX

WHD — Executive Order 13658: Establishing a Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors

May 14 — Webinar

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What's New

Leading on Leave, the Philadelphia Way

Deputy Secretary Christopher P. Lu (left) joined White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on April 21 for a conversation on the benefits of paid leave and flexible workplace policies. Philadelphia was the latest stop on the Obama administration's nationwide tour, 'Lead on Leave: Empowering Working Families Across America.' Click for a larger photo.

The need for paid leave brought the Obama administration's nationwide "Lead on Leave: Empowering Working Families Across America" tour to Philadelphia on April 21. Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher P. Lu joined Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and Mayor Michael Nutter to discuss the city's recent paid sick leave law — and the importance of other cities and states taking similar action. A standing-room only audience of 200 people joined in the conversation about the benefits of paid leave to workers, businesses and customers. Three states now have paid family and medical leave laws in effect — Rhode Island, California, and New Jersey — and two states — Connecticut and California — have instituted sick day laws. While cities like Philadelphia and Seattle have acted to give workers access to paid sick leave, businesses across the country also are adopting paid leave policies. They understand flexible workplace policies help recruit and retain employees. "While the progress made around the country is encouraging, we still have a long way to go to achieve shared prosperity for all," said Lu. "And we owe it to American workers to keep fighting so that no one is left on the sidelines."

Read the Blog Post
View the Secretary's Message
Learn More About Paid Leave

National News

50 Years Later, Job Corps Still Packs a Punch

U.S. Secretary of Labor Tomas E. Perez delivers remarks at the Job Corps Association 50th Anniversary Celebration. Click for a larger photo.

Job Corps was created to provide job and life skills to young Americans who otherwise may not receive them, and it has done so successfully for 50 years. At the National Job Corps Association's 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner in Washington, D.C., on April 21, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez discussed the program's rich past and bright future. The audience included student ambassadors, Job Corps staff, center directors, members of Congress and special guest/Job Corps graduate and former heavyweight champion George Foreman. "When we open doors of opportunity, when we help a teenager rise above adversity and unlock her potential, we don't just empower a single person; we strengthen our communities and the entire nation," Perez said.

Learn More About Job Corps

Federal, State Partnership Pays Off for Workers

A nearly five-year investigation of illegal business practices by 16 defendants in Utah and Arizona ended with consent judgements on ordering the defendants to pay $700,000 in back wages, damages, penalties and other guarantees for more than 1,000 construction industry workers in the Southwest. CSG Workforce Partners, Universal Contracting, LLC and Arizona Tract/Arizona CLA misclassified employees and required them to become "member/owners" of limited liability companies, stripping them of federal and state protections that come with employee status. "We will combat schemes like these with every enforcement tool we have, including partnering with other federal and state agencies to ensure that workers are not misclassified as owners or members of LLCs or otherwise. Deceptions like these deny workers hard-earned wages, hurt families who depend most on those wages, and leave workers without important protections if they're injured on the job or laid off," Secretary Perez said in his announcement. The consent judgments were the result of a combined effort of the department, the Justice Department and the state of Utah.

Read the News Release
Read the Blog Post

$12 Million in Grants Awarded for Youth Job Initiative

Three states — Georgia, Michigan and South Carolina — are sharing $12 million in grants designed to improve the employment prospects for youth with juvenile court records. Awarded on April 22, the grants will provide job training and work experiences through the new National Guard Job ChalleNGe program. Cadets, as participants are called, will receive education, learning through experience and be mentored in a six-month residential program at an active or closed National Guard base, training center or school campus. This program expands the existing National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program which began in the 1990s to help high school dropouts stay in the labor market. It builds on President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative to help young people overcome barriers and gain access to entry-level job opportunities that lead to meaningful careers.

Read the News Release
Learn About My Brother's Keeper

International Scene

Worker Exploitation Conference Seeks Solutions

Wage and Hour Division Deputy Administrator Laura Fortman speaks on a panel at the 'Out of the Shadows' conference on federal, state, and local strategies to prevent and mitigate forced labor and exploitative labor practices, co-hosted by the Labor Department, International Labour Organization, Humanity United and the UCLA Burkle Center, April 22, 2015 in Washington, D.C.  Also pictured is David Abramowitz, vice-president, policy and government relations, Humanity United. Click for a larger photo.

Dialogues on federal, state and local strategies to prevent and mitigate forced labor and exploitative labor practices were convened by the Labor Department, the International Labour Organization, Humanity United and the Burkle Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. The first of two conferences was held in Washington, D.C., on April 22. It featured conversations with Laura Fortman, deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division; and Mark Mittelhauser, Eric Biel and Marcia Eugenio of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. Discussions examined strategies for prevention, protection and remedy, as well as existing and potential partnerships to address forced labor and labor exploitation. The ILO estimates that nearly 21 million people are trapped in forced labor or conditions akin to modern-day slavery, which generates $150 billion in illegal profits annually.

Learn More About the Conference

It Happened on the Hill

The State of Mine Safety and Health

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joe Main testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce's Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing April 23. Click for a larger photo.

At a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce's Subcommittee on Workforce Protections on April 23, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main reported on the state of the nation's coal and metal and nonmetal mines. Progress has been made on many fronts in safety and health — particularly in the past five years following implementation of a number of reforms, Main said. "The steps we have taken, along with those in the industry, are laying the foundation for better protection for miners and changing the culture of mine safety in a positive way," he said. In 2014, there were 44 mining deaths, 16 of which occurred at coal mines: the lowest number ever recorded in a year. "At the end of the day, the most important measure of our progress is how many miners go home at the end of each shift safe and healthy," he said.

Watch the Hearing
Read the Testimony

News You Can Use

Stand Proud, Stand Tall, Stand-Down

Learn More About the Stand Down

Leading up to May's 2015 National Safety Stand-Down, Secretary Perez recorded a video message encouraging employers and workers nationwide to participate in these life-saving safety events. This year's stand-down will take place May 4-5 as part of a fall prevention campaign launched three years ago by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The event's partners include the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda and the Center for Construction Research and Training. In the 2014 Stand-Down, 25,000 employers spoke to more than one million workers about fall hazards and prevention. "Last year's Stand-Down was a big success," said Perez. "It was a tremendous commitment on the part of everyone and it was effective because of a partnership and shared dedication to safety on the part of businesses and workers alike. I'm confident that we can do even better this year."

Watch the Video
Learn More About the Stand Down
Read About OSHA's Fall Campaign

Around DOL

Daughters and Sons Come to Work

Secretary Perez speaks to participants at the department's 'Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day' on April 23. Click for a larger photo.

To mark "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day" — now in its 22nd year — more than 100 girls and boys learned about the valuable work their parents do on April 23 at department headquarters in Washington, D.C. In support of the White House effort to expand this year's event to the local community, students from the Charles Hart Middle School and from the Employment and Training Administration's YouthBuild program also participated. Secretary Perez told a packed auditorium full of parents and students that "the most important thing you can learn in the workplace is to believe in yourself and work hard. I hope you find something you are passionate about and turn that dream into a reality." The day's activities included fitness and teambuilding exercises, a cooking demo by students of the Potomac Job Corps Center Culinary Arts Program, and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration video teleconference.

Finding Savings in a Greener Workplace

Chuck Black and Fredy Diaz helped the DOL community recycle and reuse office supplies at the 'Property & Swap Event.' Click for a larger photo.

In support of Earth Day, the department hosted a Property Disposal and Swap Event at the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. From April 20 to 22, agency staff disposed of, shopped for and recycled office supplies, furniture and electronics. This innovative effort produced nearly $120,000 in savings and continues the department's commitment to being a greener workplace.

DOL Working for You

IT Career Gets Rebooted

Edward Scheinfeldt. Click for a larger photo.

Edward Scheinfeldt's life has taken a dramatic turn for the better. After a career in information technology spanning more than 10 years, Scheinfeldt was suddenly unemployed and unable to land a job in his field. Despite all his experience, he was told by potential employers that he lacked current certifications and wasn't marketable. Undeterred, Scheinfeldt spent a year applying for jobs but never received an offer. He then turned to CareerSource Pinellas in Tampa and enrolled in its IT Hi-Tech Training Program, funded by a grant from the Employment and Training Administration. Two weeks before Scheinfeldt completed a four-month Microsoft programming certification course; he accepted a job offer as risk management consultant with Experis. "I thought my time in IT would have guaranteed me a job, but when I kept hearing 'no,' I had lost all hope," he said. "Thanks to this program, I am confident and working in a great career field."

Learn More About the Training Program

DOL in Action

Ringling Bros. to Enhance Safety for Aerial Acts

The renowned Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will make ongoing safety enhancements in its aerial acts to protect workers against injuries like those suffered by circus aerialists in a May 2014 incident in Providence, R.I. The proactive measures are part of a settlement agreement with the department. It concerns an Occupational Safety and Health Administration citation issued to the circus after eight employees were badly hurt and a ninth was injured by falling performers when a carabiner that suspended them failed. In the settlement's provisions, the circus agrees to have a registered professional engineer review all aerial acts, develop a written checklist for equipment and hardware inspections for each act, and have each circus unit conduct an annual safety day. Ringling Bros. also will pay the maximum fine of $7,000 and submit documentation of correction and protective measures.

Read the News Release

$1.4 Million Recovered for Long Island Plumbing and Heating Workers

More than 300 current and former employees of four New York City plumbing and heating contractors will receive $1.42 million in back wages and liquidated damages after a Wage and Hour Division investigation and legal action by the Office of the Solicitor. Investigators found the contractors violated the overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, misclassified employees as independent contractors, and maintained incomplete and inaccurate payroll records. A federal court consent judgment requires Danica Group LLC; Copper Plumbing & Heating LLC; Copper II Plumbing & Heating LLC; Copper III Plumbing & Heating LLC, and owners Thomas Andreadakis, Leonidas Andreadakis and Helen Andreadakis to improve their recordkeeping, ensure employees are paid on time weekly, properly classify employees and pay them correctly.

Read the News Release

Alleged Retirement Embezzler Indicted

A multi-agency effort including investigators from the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service has led to the indictment of a New York produce distributor. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced on April 21 that Thomas Hoey Jr. of Garden City, N.Y., had been charged with multiple counts related to the transfer of more than $800,000 from his company's employee retirement plan to the company's corporate accounts. The money allegedly was used to cover company expenses as well as Hoey's personal costs including international travel for him and his family, limousine service and hotel rooms in Manhattan.

Read the News Release

Safety Gear May Have Prevented Tower Workers' Deaths

An investigation into the deaths of two Michigan men painting a commercial water tower in Oxford, Ohio, found that, if their employer, V & T Painting LLC, had provided required equipment to stop their falls, they might have survived. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors identified 17 serious safety violations in the October 2014 accident. An additional 13 serious violations were found at a second work site in nearby Hamilton, where the company was contracted by the Southwest Ohio Regional Water District to paint water towers. "Making sure protective equipment is in use and working properly is a common-sense way to save lives and prevent injuries," said Ken Montgomery, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati.

Read the News Release

Return Visit Finds New, Recurring Hazards at Sign Manufacturer

Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors who returned to see if a sign manufacturer corrected earlier violations instead found employees exposed to harmful levels of a chemical used to laminate woodwork. MFB Holdings LLC, doing business as M.F. Blouin in Rollinsford, N.H., did not protect workers exposed to methylene chloride and did not provide them with respirators, eye and face protection or medical surveillance. The company was found in repeated violation of six health and safety standards and in serious violation of three others. The company faces proposed penalties of $63,700.

Read the News Brief

California Credit Card Company Fails to Meet Overtime Obligations

A San Rafael, Calif.-based credit card company paid $51,860 in back wages and liquidated damages to 18 employees after a Wage and Hour Division investigation. Central Payment Co. LLC failed to meet the required overtime obligation of time and one-half for hours worked beyond 40 in a work week. Instead, the company paid select employees a salary regardless of the actual hours worked, incorrectly classifying the workers as "exempt" from overtime.

Read the News Brief

Duke Energy Florida Cited in Worker Electrocution

A 36-year-old man who died in Florida while testing an electrical transformer should have had an observer present, Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found. The employee of Duke Energy Florida Inc. received more than 10,000 volts at the Reddick substation when he used a circuit-testing technique that bypassed safety protocols. Inspectors identified five serious violations, including failing to ensure transformers were grounded and safety checks were made between tests; providing training to workers who assisted with transformer testing; and not ensuring controlled access to the test area to protect workers from electrical shock hazards. OSHA assessed penalties of $90,000 and proposed that Duke Energy be placed in the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Read the News Release

Illinois Metal Siding Workers at Risk of Amputation

For the third time in three years, an Illinois maker of metal home siding products ignored safety rules for machinery. By doing so, Rollex Corp. of Elk Grove Village put workers at risk of cuts, lacerations and amputations, Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators report. The company faces $103,000 in proposed penalties after the October 2014 inspection. "More than 200,000 workers are injured by machines in the United States annually. Employees pay the painful price when companies don't follow standards to reduce injuries," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA area director in Des Plaines.

Read the News Release

Fatal Fall at Mississippi Construction Site 'Preventable'

The fatal fall of a 42-year-old worker at a residential construction site in Ocean Springs, Miss., could have been prevented if safety guardrails had been in place. Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators said Thomas Matthews Framing LLC allowed workers to install balcony ceiling planks with no fall protection. One worker lost his balance, fell 20 feet, and died eight days later from his injuries. Two serious citations were issued for failing to provide guardrails on scaffolding more than 10 feet above the lower level and not training workers to recognize and prevent fall hazards. The company was also placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Read the News Release

Dollar Tree Stores Continue to Endanger Workers

Boxes piled at dangerous heights and blocked exit routes were found by Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators in a recent inspection of a Houston Dollar Tree Store. Prompted by an anonymous complaint, the November 2014 inspection yielded proposed penalties of $116,200 for two repeated and four serious violations. Nationwide, Dollar Tree Stores have been cited for more than 200 safety and health violations since 2009.

Read the News Release

Worker's Injury Reveals Workplace Hazards

An Atlanta air filter manufacturer was cited by Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors after an October 2014 investigation. They found that American Air Filter Co. Inc. did not ensure workers were protected from moving machine parts during service or maintenance, did not provide protective guards on equipment to prevent workers from being hit-by or caught between moving machine parts, and did not ensure written procedures were followed by workers during maintenance and servicing of equipment. The investigation began after a 56-year-old worker suffered a broken left wrist and severe lacerations from an unguarded machine. Proposed penalties total $115,500.

Read the News Release

Georgia Lumber Yard Faces $179,000 in Penalties

A Georgia manufacturer of wooden posts for agricultural and highway projects was cited by Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors for exposing workers to hazardous conditions. Dupont Yard received more than a dozen citations for not keeping floors and walkways free of debris, exposing workers to falls due to missing guardrails, and allowing shock and burn hazards to exist due to uncovered wiring in junction boxes and electrical panels. Dupont has received 47 citations since 2010 for safety hazards at its Homerville facility and has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Proposed penalties total $179,388.

Read the News Brief

Workers Face Amputation, Lead Hazards at Steel Wire Maker

Acting on a complaint alleging unsafe machine and lead exposure, Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors visited a steel wire producer in Van Buren, Ark. Bekaert Corp. was issued 12 violations, including eight serious and one repeated. These included failing to prevent lead accumulation and contamination, and not properly protecting employees from machines with cutting blades and moving parts. The proposed penalty totals $76,000.

Read the News Brief

Complaint Prompts Trailer Parts Manufacturer's Inspection

Mid-America Steel Products Inc., which does business as American Sports Medical Industries in Corning, Ark., was found by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors to be in violation of 19 OSHA standards, 17 of them serious. After a complaint alleging that workers faced unguarded machinery and amputation hazards, OSHA began its inspection in December 2014. Proposed penalties total $41,200.

Read the News Brief

Pennsylvania Insulation Contractor Faces $490,000 in Penalties

Three workers were exposed to dangerous asbestos hazards as they removed insulation in a home renovation project in Harrisburg, Pa. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found their employer, First Capital Insulation of York, allowed the workers to remove thermal pipe insulation without wetting it first, not making sure their respirators fit correctly, and not decontaminating employees and their clothing before leaving the work site. First Capital faces a $490,000 penalty for seven willful violations. Asbestos fibers are shown to cause serious respiratory problems and are related to several forms of cancer.

Read the News Release

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