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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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DOL Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2004
Performance and Accountability Report

Strategic Goal 3: Quality Workplaces

Foster Quality Workplaces that are Safe, Healthy and Fair

All workers are entitled to safe, healthy, and fair workplace environments. DOL has committed to achieving this goal by promoting work sites where safety and health hazards are minimized, and where working people have equal opportunities and are treated fairly.

Significant progress has been made in protecting workers from occupational safety and health threats. In the past thirty years, workplace fatalities have been cut in half and occupational injury and illness rates have declined forty percent. However, rapid technological advances and dynamic workplace environments have changed the nature of work, leading to new health and safety issues. DOL promotes equality and fair play through its administration of anti-discrimination and equal employment opportunity regulations that deal with Federal contracting practices, jobs and training services for disabled workers, and the employment/reemployment rights of veterans. DOL has also recognized and addressed the increasing importance of ensuring respect for internationally recognized core labor standards.

Agencies with programs supporting this goal are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Employment Standards Administration (ESA), the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM), the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), and the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB).

The Department's performance in achieving this goal is determined by accomplishments organized at the outcome goal level and measured at the performance goal level. Three broad objectives — Outcome Goals 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 — support Strategic Goal 3, and they contain eleven performance goals (see table below). In FY 2004, the Department achieved eight of these goals, and in so doing marked the following improvements in working conditions: mining fatality incidence and the all-injury incidence were the lowest recorded in MSHA's history; occupational fatalities were the lowest ever recorded by the fatality census; evaluated Federal contractors' compliance with non-discrimination laws exceeded 90 percent; and, in developing countries, DOL-funded programs protected thousands more children from exploitive labor and introduced HIV/AIDS workplace education.

Outcome Goal 3.1 − Reduce Workplace Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities
3 performance goals achieved & 3 not achieved17

MSHA fatality and injury reduction (3.1A) — not achieved

According to estimates using data through the third quarter, MSHA reached its fatality incidence rate target, but did not reach its injury incidence rate target. However, both the fatal incidence rate and the all-injury incidence rate are the lowest recorded in MSHA's history.

MSHA dust and noise reduction (3.1B) — achieved

According to estimates using data through the third quarter, MSHA reached targets for reductions in coal dust, silica dust and noise overexposures.

OSHA occupational fatality reduction (3.1C) — not achieved

OSHA did not reach its workplace fatality reduction target. Workplace fatalities increased slightly to 1.67 (per 100,000 workers) from the baseline of 1.62.

OSHA occupational injury and illness reduction (3.1D) — achieved in 2003 and 2004, not achieved in 2002

In both FY 2003 and FY 2004, OSHA reached its targeted reductions in the rate of days away from work resulting from workplace injuries. In FY 2002, OSHA did not reach its target to reduce illnesses and injuries by ten percent over the previous year's rate in four high hazard industries.

Outcome Goal 3.2 — Foster Equal Opportunity Workplaces
3 performance goals achieved

ESA Federal contractors' compliance with equal opportunity laws (3.2A) — achieved

Both targets were reached. Incidence of discrimination among evaluated contractors was well below target and compliance with all other equal opportunity workplace standards was 91 percent - 30 percentage points above target.

OASAM non-discrimination in WIA programs (3.2B) — achieved

All three targets were reached. State and local workforce agencies areas have implemented policies and procedures to provide universal access to their customer population, including those with disabilities.

VETS reduce service members' reemployment issues (3.2C) — achieved

The lone target was reached. Four key problem areas with the greatest potential for reduction of complaints were identified.

Outcome Goal 3.3 — Reduce Exploitation of Child Labor, Protect the Basic Rights of Workers, and Strengthen Labor Markets
2 performance goals achieved

ILAB eliminate worst forms of child labor internationally (3.3A) — achieved

ILAB reached all four of its targets, which included the prevention or withdrawal of more than 80,000 children from exploitive child labor.

ILAB improve work conditions internationally (3.3B) — achieved

ILAB reached all five of its targets, which included initiating workplace education projects in eight countries.

The following charts illustrate DOL's strategic goal net costs in FY 2004, with Quality Workplaces shares set apart. The first allocates total Departmental costs of $56.676 billion; the second allocates an adjusted net cost of $11.102 billion that excludes major non-discretionary items associated with Strategic Goal 2.18 Net costs of this goal in FY 2003 were $0.992 billion.

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The outcome goals and programs listed above, along with their results, costs, and future challenges are discussed in more detail on the following pages.

17OSHA is reporting on three years' performance for its occupational injury and illness goal, 3.1D. Results are combined in this table.
18The excluded costs are referred to as Income Maintenance — unemployment benefit payments to individuals who are laid off or out of work and seeking employment ($41.424 billion) plus disability benefit payments to individuals who suffered injury or illness on the job ($4.150 billion).


Outcome Goal 3.1 — Reduce Workplace Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities

The Department strives to help make American workplaces the safest in the world. Through the efforts of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Department has sought to instill a commitment to workplace safety and health in both employers and the public at large.

These two DOL agencies are changing their relationships with employers for the better. Building on a foundation of strong and fair enforcement, OSHA and MSHA also provide employers with outreach, education and compliance assistance, as well as opportunities to join with them in partnerships and other cooperative programs. Additionally, they have increased the availability of compliance assistance. OSHA has deployed compliance assistance specialists in every area office and funded free onsite consultation to small businesses in every state. More compliance assistance resources are available from OSHA than ever before, including a toll-free compliance assistance telephone line, training courses, and an award-winning website that includes safety and health information bulletins, interactive software packages and two new features that allow visitors to personalize the site and navigate more easily.

MSHA now conducts mine inspections with a focus on improving performance and the availability of assistance from training specialists and technical support personnel to the mining industry. MSHA has achieved success through developing strategic partnerships with unions, associations, and State governments. These partnerships foster the sharing of expertise and best practices between MSHA, states, safety professionals, and mine operators. Nationwide, mine operators and miners are provided with compliance assistance, accident reduction, and hazard recognition training materials during the course of MSHA's regular inspections. In addition to onsite compliance assistance, web-based compliance assistance tools are continually being developed and enhanced.

DOL's workplace safety and health agencies continually improve internal efficiency and effectiveness through strategic planning that addresses safety challenges of the 21st century workplace. Both agencies have five-year strategic plans that institutionalize the methods and processes they will use to move toward further reductions in workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Part of their planning is to determine which strategies lead to the biggest return on investment to better focus their efforts and their resources.

The performance goals related to this outcome goal directly measure reductions in workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities, across general industries and specifically within mining.

Goal (Agency) — Period
Goal Statement [Achievement]

Performance Summary

3.1A (MSHA) — FY 2004
Reduce the mine industry fatal injury incidence by 15% from the FY 2003 baseline by FY2008, and reduce the mine industry all-injury incidence rate 50% below the FY 200 baseline by FY 2008.
[Not Achieved]

According to estimates using data through the third quarter, MSHA reached its fatality incidence rate target. However, both the fatal incidence rate and the all-injury incidence rate are the lowest recorded in MSHA's history.

3.1B (MSHA) — FY 2004
Reduce respirable coal dust, silica dust, and noise exposures:

  • Reduce the percentage of respirable coal dust samples exceeding the applicable standards by 5% for designated occupations;

  • Reduce the percentage of silica dust samples in metal and nonmetal mines exceeding the applicable standards by 5% for high-risk occupations;

  • Reduce the percentage of noise exposures above the citation level in all mines by 5%.
    [Achieved]

According to estimates using data through the third quarter, MSHA reached targets for reductions in coal dust, silica dust and noise overexposures.

3.1C (OSHA) — FY 2004
Reduce occupational fatalities by 3% from the FY 2000-2002 baseline.
[Not Achieved]

OSHA did not reach its workplace fatality reduction target. Workplace fatalities increased slightly to 1.67 (per 100,000 workers) from the baseline of 1.62. This amounts to an increase of one fatality for every two million workers.

3.1D (OSHA) — FY 2004
Reduce occupational injuries and illnesses Reduce the days away from work case rate per 100 workers by 4% from CY 2000 baseline.
[Achieved]

OSHA reached its target of a four percent reduction (from CY 2000 baseline) in the days away from work resulting from a workplace injury, by achieving an 11 percent reduction.

3.1D (OSHA) — FY 2003
Reduce the days away from work case rate per 100 workers by 2% from CY 2000 baseline.
[Achieved]

OSHA reached its target of a two percent reduction (from CY 2000 baseline) in the days away from work resulting from a workplace injury, by achieving a 5.6 percent reduction.

3.1D (OSHA) — FY 2002
Reduce injuries and illnesses by 10 % annually in four industries characterized by high hazard workplaces.
[Not Achieved]

OSHA did not reach its target to reduce illnesses and injuries by ten percent over the previous year's rate in four high hazard industries: nursing homes, shipyards, meat products and construction. The injury and illness rate increased in nursing homes and shipyards and decreased in the meat products and construction industries.

Net Cost of Programs
FY 2004 program costs of $812 million supported OSHA and MSHA programs to reduce worker fatalities, injuries, and illnesses, including the Department's expanded and enhanced efforts in compliance assistance. These program costs represent a slight $3 million decline from FY 2003 costs of $815 million.

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Historically, one of the leading causes of mining fatalities has roof falls in underground mines, particularly coal mines. Today, better methods of controlling mine roofs protect miners from the hazard of falling rock. MSHA's Office of Technical Support provides a service to mine safety and health by evaluating and testing myriad mining equipment and products, including roof support systems, for use in underground mines. The two engineers shown in the photo — Raymond on the left and Michael on the right — test roof bolts in actual mining conditions to ensure these devices will actually protect working miners. Securing the roof has been and continues to be one of the most important precautions that MSHA looks for in underground mine inspections.
image of a group of miners
Photo credit: Paul Tyrna

Results Summary
Of the six goals presented in Outcome Goal 3.1—Reduce Workplace Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities, three goals were achieved and three goals were not achieved.

In the mining industry, under the mandate of the Mine Safety and Health Act, the fatality and all-injury safety goal was not achieved based on FY 2004 third quarter data. While the fatality incidence rate of .0163 per 200,000 work hours reached the 3.1 percent reduction target, the all-injury incidence rate result of 3.97 per 200,000 work hours did not meet the 23.7 percent reduction target. The mining health goal to reduce exposures to coal dust, silica dust, and noise was achieved. Coal dust overexposures were reduced to 10.5 percent, silica dust overexposures were reduced to 5.9 percent, and noise overexposures were reduced to 4.2 percent.

For those sectors under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the fatality rate of 1.67 fatalities per 100,000 employees did not meet the target rate of 1.57. The results of the goal to reduce occupational injury and illness rates that cover three reporting years are presented concurrently in this report due to a data lag. For FY 2004 the goal was met with a result of an 11.1 percent rate reduction vs. the target of four percent. The FY 2003 the rate reduction of 5.6 percent also exceeded the target of two percent. The FY 2002 goal to reduce injuries and illnesses by ten percent from the previous year's rate in four industries characterized by high hazard workplaces was not achieved.

Future Challenges
Understanding and addressing workplace demographic trends is a key element in the Department's efforts to improve the safety and health of the American workforce. An increasing share of the workforce is now made up of youthful (16 to 24 year-old) and older (55 and over) workers, with the proportion of older workers growing the fastest. Immigrant, non-English speakers, and other "hard-to-reach" workers and employers are becoming more prevalent. This means that the Department must continue to seek out enforcement, training and delivery systems different from those relied upon in the past.

The Department is also continuing to focus on the most hazardous industries and occupations and to identify emerging safety and health issues. For example, construction and small metal and nonmetal mines have a disproportionate rate of accidents and fatalities and new fibers and ultra-fine particulates need to be monitored for their health risks. To meet current and future challenges, OSHA and MSHA are looking to increase their outreach, assistance, and cooperative programs so that voluntary compliance backed up by strong and fair enforcement ensure that each worker returns home safe and healthy at the end of the work day.


Reduce Mine Fatalities and Injuries
Performance Goal 3.1A (MSHA) — FY 2004

Reduce the mine industry fatal injury incidence rate by 15% from the FY 2003 baseline by FY 2008, and reduce the mine industry all-injury incidence rate 50% below the FY 2000 baseline by FY 2008.

Indicators
Reduce by 3.2% the fatal incidence rate; and

Reduce by 24.2% the all-injury incidence rate.

Program Perspective
The mission of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is to protect the safety and health of our Nation's miners in accordance with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. Through an effective blend of enforcement, technical support, education, compliance assistance, and partnerships with the mining community, mining has reduced fatalities and injury rates for the third straight year. Although the trend has been declining, the rates remain unacceptably high. MSHA's aggressive long-term targeted incidence rate reductions from recent historical lows reflect a commitment to sending healthy miners home healthy....every shift, every day.

Results, Analysis and Future Plans
The goal was not achieved, according to estimates using data through the third quarter.19 DOL reached its fatality incidence rate target. The fatality incidence rate decreased by 28.8 percent (from .0229 to .0163), against a target of a 3.1 percent decrease (to .0222). DOL did not reach its injury incidence rate target. The injury incidence rate has decreased by 22.7 percent to 3.97 (from the FY 2000 baseline of 5.07), 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 against a target of a 24.1 percent decrease (to 3.85).

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Through the third quarter of FY 2004, accidents in the Nation's mines claimed the lives of 35 workers — 17 coal miners and 18 metal/nonmetal miners. In addition, there were 3,644 injuries in coal mines and 4,889 injuries in metal/nonmetal mines. In terms of overall injury rates, both the fatal incidence rate of .0163 and the all-injury incidence rate of 3.97 are the lowest recorded in MSHA history. Similarly, both coal and metal/nonmetal fatality and injury rates reached historic lows.

MSHA's program strategies for FY 2005 should be viewed within the context of the aggressive nature of our goals and record-setting lows for mining deaths and injuries in both FY 2003 and FY 2004. Therefore, MSHA's strategies going forward will be a continuation of what has been successful while taking advantage of new opportunities to build upon past success.

19Performance results for this goal are estimated. The estimating methodology has been reviewed by the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General. The actual performance results for this goal will be published in the FY 2006 Budget.

Efforts to improve safety and health for the nation's 350,000 miners include not only mine inspections but a variety of MSHA initiatives and programs. That agenda is carried out primarily by the agency's district managers who are strategically located in district offices throughout the nation's mining regions. Cheryl, an MSHA District Manager, administers coal mine safety and health improvement efforts for a large area of southern Pennsylvania. She and her 109 colleagues in the New Stanton office helped reduce fatalities and injuries over the last year. Pennsylvania had four fatalities in 2001 and in 2002; Cheryl and her staff helped limit fatalities to one during 2003 — a valuable contribution to MSHA's fatality incidence reduction goal.
Image of a a female miner
Photo credit: Shawn T. Moore

Key to further reductions in deaths and injuries will be continued work with the mining industry and safety organizations. In this regard, MSHA will continue to leverage and extend its strategic partnerships. For example, in FY 2004 MSHA signed two more Alliance Agreements - with the International Union of Operating Engineers and with the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers. The purpose of these agreements is to promote the sharing of expertise and best practices between MSHA, safety professionals, and mine operators to foster a culture of accident prevention where safety is embraced as a value.

MSHA will also continue to work with State governments in partnerships such as the Tri-State Initiative, which focuses on Appalachian coal mining areas in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky, which are historically responsible for the bulk of coal mining fatalities. The Tri-State Initiative is just one example of MSHA integrating its enforcement and compliance assistance activities. Nationwide, mine operators and miners are provided with compliance assistance, accident reduction, and hazard recognition training materials during the course of MSHA's regular inspections. In addition to onsite compliance assistance, web-based compliance assistance tools are continually being developed and enhanced. These include website links to accident prevention ideas from miners, industry, and MSHA officials, and web-based newsletter services for stakeholders which provide instant notification of mining fatalities, hazard alerts, and other safety and health related news.

Management Issues
Accident and injury data are accurate and reliable. MSHA receives employment, injury, and accident data from mine operators and has an audit program in place that verifies the reliability of the data annually.

Going forward, high costs and limited supplies of oil and natural gas into the foreseeable future will result in a higher demand for coal mining. Higher coal prices and increased profit margins will push operators to begin new, expand, or resume mining operations and lead to competitive pressures to increase production while containing costs, including those costs associated with mine safety. Mines also face an aging workforce and replacement of skilled workers with inexperienced workers who are at higher risk of having accidents that cause injury.

During FY 2004, the General Accounting Office issued its report MSHA Devotes Substantial Effort to Ensuring the Safety and Health of Coal Miners, but Its Programs Could Be Strengthened (Study 12 in Appendix 2), which comprised a programmatic review of certain MSHA operations and recommendations to improve program performance. Also, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) conducted a Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) review of MSHA in conjunction with the FY 2005 budget. MSHA received a rating of Adequate.


Reduce Miners' Exposure to Health Hazards
Performance Goal 3.1B (MSHA) — FY 2004

Reduce respirable coal dust, silica dust, and noise exposures

Indicators
Reduce the percentage of respirable coal dust samples exceeding the applicable standards by 5% for designated occupations;

Reduce the percentage of silica dust samples in metal and nonmetal mines exceeding the applicable standards by 5% for high-risk occupations; and

Reduce the percentage of noise exposures above the citation level in all mines by 5%

Program Perspective
In accordance with the Federal Mine and Safety Act of 1977, DOL's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), through safety and health enforcement and compliance assistance, and in partnership with the mining community, works to reduce occupational illnesses and health hazards among our Nation's miners.

Major health hazards to miners include black lung disease, and silicosis. These are disabling and eventually fatal respiratory diseases caused by exposure to excessive amounts of respirable coal and silica dust. In addition, noise exposure above regulatory standards can cause permanent hearing loss. Although the incidence of black lung and silicosis disease has declined over the years, the elimination of black lung disease, silicosis, and hearing loss remains a Departmental priority. Because these conditions develop gradually after repeated exposures, determining the rate at which miners are overexposed to coal dust, silica dust, and noise is a proxy measure of future miner health. Reducing miner overexposures therefore contributes to MSHA's longer term objective of a reducing the incidence of black lung disease, silicosis and hearing loss.

In developing this goal, MSHA targeted five percent annual reductions of overexposures. Experience has shown that these five percent reductions per year, from historical baselines, were not aggressive enough — and MSHA plans to update baselines in future years so that a five percent target is appropriately ambitious.

Recognition of good work is positive motivation. It's one of the concepts MSHA uses to promote good safety and health practices throughout the American mining industry. MSHA officials seek to recognize mining operations like Yavapai Materials, a sand and gravel mining operation situated in the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. Yavapai Materials logged 58,000 employee hours without a single lost-time accident. That was three years without an injury on the job! Obviously, this company employs both good workers and good safety habits—so good that they were asked to provide a program of "Best Practices" for neighboring mining operations. MSHA's Assistant Secretary David Lauriski (center) took time to go out to the Yavapai operation to congratulate Steven, general manager of Yavapai Materials (left) and President Raphael Bear (right), President of Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, and personally tell them what a good job they've done for themselves and for the mining industry. Good safety practices being shared among neighboring mining operations—another innovative way to reduce mining fatalities and injuries in the nation's mining operations.
Image of a Professor Robert Flanagan

Results, Analysis and Future Plans
The goal was achieved, according to estimates using data through the third quarter.

  • For coal dust, sample overexposures were reduced to 10.5 percent, a reduction of five percent from the prior year, and a 30 percent improvement from the FY 2002 baseline.
  • For silica dust, sample overexposures were reduced to 5.9 percent, a reduction of eight percent from the prior year, and a 34 percent improvement from the FY 2002 baseline.
  • For noise, sample overexposures were reduced to 4.2 percent, a reduction of 19 percent from the prior year, and a 55 percent improvement from the FY 2000-2001 baseline.

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As discussed above, results for all indicators Samples Exceeding Noise Standard have greatly exceeded MSHA's expectations over the last two years for coal and silica dust 10% and over the last three years for noise. To 9% establish more ambitious targets, new 8% baselines will be developed for use in FY 2005. While targeted reductions for overexposures will remain at five percent, new baselines will incorporate the substantial reductions in overexposures already achieved. In addition, MSHA will review sampling procedures to ensure that the samples taken by inspectors are commensurate with ongoing 1% mining activity where miners are normally at 0% highest risk of overexposure.

Management Issues
MSHA safety and health compliance specialists conduct dust and noise samples following well established procedures. A quality control process and edit checks assure the accuracy and reliability of performance data. Going forward, high costs and limited supplies of oil and natural gas into the foreseeable future will result in a higher demand for coal mining. Higher coal prices and increased profit margins will push operators to begin new, expand, or resume mining operations and lead to competitive pressures to increase production while containing costs, including those costs associated with mine safety. Mining also faces an aging workforce, and an inadequate supply of skilled workers (including an influx of immigrant workers) who are at higher risk of having accidents that cause injury.

During FY 2004, the General Accounting Office issued its report MSHA Devotes Substantial Effort to Ensuring the Safety and Health of Coal Miners, but Its Programs Could Be Strengthened (Study 12 in Appendix 2), which comprised a programmatic review of certain MSHA operations and recommendations to improve program performance.


Reduce Workplace Fatalities
Performance Goal 3.1C (OSHA) — FY 2004

Reduce occupational fatalities

Indicator
Reduce the rate of workplace fatalities by 3% from the baseline of 1.6220.

Program Perspective
OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing comprehensive compliance assistance, training, outreach, and education; establishing and maintaining partnerships and alliances; providing consultation services and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. OSHA and its State partners have approximately 2,100 inspectors, as well as complaint discrimination investigators, engineers, physicians, educators, standards writers, and other technical and support personnel throughout the country.

Nearly every working man and woman in the nation comes under OSHA jurisdiction (with some exceptions such as miners, transportation workers, many public employees, and the self-employed). OSHA set a challenging goal to reduce workplace fatality rates by 15 percent by 2008. OSHA selected this goal because it exceeds the previous five year fatality rate reduction, but is attainable. OSHA helps reduce on-the-job deaths by intervening at the workplaces where it has evidence that fatalities are most likely to occur and by responding to reports about potentially life-threatening workplace hazards. OSHA uses fatality data from its Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) to track fatalities on a monthly basis, looking for emerging fatality patterns (such as trenching cave-ins) and taking corrective actions.

Results, Analysis and Future Plans
The goal was not achieved. Based on the most recent data, DOL estimates a 3.1 percent increase in the workplace fatality rate — to 1.67 from the baseline of 1.62 (per 100,000 workers).21 This amounts to an increase of one fatality for every two million workers. The tables below show annual deaths, employment, and fatality rates for the construction industry and for all industries for the baseline years and for the current reporting period, and illustrate use of a three-year moving average of fatality rates to smooth year-to-year fluctuations.

Year
(July-June)

Construction Fatalities

Construction Employment

Construction Fatality Rate

Total Fatalities

Total Employment

Total Fatality Rate

2000

736

6,704

10.98

1,729

109,989

1.57

2001

749

6,823

10.98

1,846

111,368

1.66

2002

744

6,774

10.98

1,772

109,524

1.62

2000-2002 BASELINE

NA

NA

10.98

NA

NA

1.62

2002

744

6,774

10.98

1,772

109,524

1.62

2003

741

6,692

11.07

1,828

108,519

1.68

2004

784

6,809

11.51

1,849

108,786

1.70

2002-2004 AVERAGE

NA

NA

11.19

NA

NA

1.67

20For this goal the baseline is the average fatality rate for July 2000 June 2002 and the result is the average fatality rate for July 2002 June 2004.
21Performance results for this goal are estimated. The estimating methodology has been reviewed by the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General. The actual performance results for this goal will be published in the FY 2006 Budget.

Analysis of the IMIS fatality data suggests that the increase in the fatality rate since FY 2000 may reflect OSHA's improvements in managing fatality data, rather than more dangerous workplaces. In response to OSHA initiatives, some states have been entering fatality investigation information into IMIS for an increasing proportion of fatalities they inspect. This increases the count of fatalities recorded in IMIS, even though the number of inspected deaths in those states has actually decreased. In other states, where the proportion of inspected fatalities with entered fatality investigation forms has remained consistent, the fatality rate actually declined every year between FY 2000 and FY 2004.

This unsafe trench has the potential to cause broken bones and severe lacerations from slips, trips, and falls and serious injuries or even death from being crushed or suffocated in a cave-in. In addition to enforcing the regulation on trenching, OSHA reaches out to employers to prevent trenching hazards. OSHA conducts outreach programs to local governments who contract for much of the trenching work in this country. OSHA is working to elicit the cooperation of various stakeholders, including the Associated General Contractors of America, the Building and Construction Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, the National Utility Contractors Association, and the Associated Builders and Contractors to develop an industry-wide trenching safety program. OSHA is also developing training and education materials in English and Spanish for workers involved in trenching and excavation, including Pocket Guides, Quick Cards, posters, and a handbook.
Image of an unsafe trench
Photo credit: OSHA

OSHA is implementing aggressive strategies aimed at preventing future fatalities and achieving the goal of a 15% reduction by 2008. The construction fatality rate is more than five times the total fatality rate. OSHA is addressing the growth in the construction field of immigrant and non-English speaking workers; and hard-to-reach workers. Emerging issues include fall hazards from wireless communications and HDTV tower construction, noise in construction, and the expanding population of mobile workers. To achieve the targeted reductions in fatalities, OSHA will adopt a dynamic approach to identifying and targeting sectors and hazards that require interventions. For example, OSHA's Construction Directorate analyzed fatalities involving cranes, falls from roofs and trenching. The Construction Directorate plans to share their findings with the construction industry to assist construction managers and others in identifying and abating potentially fatal situations. The Agency is also identifying more effective ways of reaching those construction sites that are likely to have the most hazardous conditions. OSHA will take this information to circulate a new construction safety standard for construction cranes and derricks.

OSHA plans to develop Local Emphasis Programs that focus on hazards and industries in specific geographic locations. These programs will focus on hazards such as falls and industries such as tower erection and oil and gas well drilling. OSHA will continue to implement the Enhanced Enforcement Program, which focuses on those employers who have demonstrated a significant disregard for their legal obligation to maintain safe workplaces. This program includes follow-up inspections, targeted inspections, increased corporate awareness of OSHA enforcement, enhanced settlement provisions, and Federal court enforcement under section 11(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Management Issues
OSHA estimates achievement for this goal using data from July of the previous fiscal year to June of the current fiscal year. The Agency relies on its IMIS fatality data rather than the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) because of the one-year lag in BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data. However, the trends shown in the BLS data resemble those of the IMIS data. OSHA is exploring changing the denominator (BLS Current Employment Survey) used to calculate the fatality rate to be more representative of the actual population that it regulates. OSHA IMIS data undergo quality control and edit checking. External risks to accomplishment of this goal include natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes and snow storms) and non-work related deaths that occur on the job. Internal risks to the attainment of this goal include OSHA's ability to obtain and use current injury and illness data to plan strategies and intervene effectively.

In response to a March 2004 GAO report, OSHA's Voluntary Compliance Strategies Show Promising Results, but Should be Evaluated before they are Expanded (Study 13 in Appendix 2), which recommended that OSHA identify cost-effective methods of assessing the effectiveness of its voluntary compliance programs, OSHA is planning to analyze injury and illness data from its VPP sites for the application processing period.

During FY 2004, GAO also issued reports recommending that OSHA ensure that its area offices follow prescribed policies for complaint handling, civil penalty determination and violation abatement (See Studies 14 and 15 in Appendix 2). OSHA is taking action to ensure that its area offices comply with such policies.

OSHA was redesigning its IMIS, but suspended further work and contracted for an independent assessment of the redesign activities pursuant to recommendations regarding the IMIS redesign efforts in a September 2004 DOL Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit report, OSHA's Future System Development Efforts Require Greater Use of Best Practices (Study 7 in Appendix 2).

The Administration conducted a Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) review of OSHA for the FY 2004 President's Budget. OSHA received a rating of Adequate. Through the OSHA Executive Board, the agency is outlining its annual activity plans, including program evaluation, to address the PART recommendation that OSHA develop a plan to evaluate the results and cost-effectiveness of regulatory and non-regulatory programs.


Reduce Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
Performance Goal 3.1D (OSHA) — FY 2002 - 2004

Reduce occupational injuries and illnesses

Indicator
FY 2004: Reduce the days away from work case rate per 100 workers by 4% from CY 2000 baseline.
FY 2003: Reduce the days away from work case rate per 100 workers by 2% from CY 2000 baseline.
FY 2002: Reduce injuries and illnesses by 10 % annually in four industries characterized by high hazard workplaces.

Program Perspective
OSHA is committed to working with employers and employees to reduce the days away from work case rate by 20 percent by FY 2008. OSHA selected this target because it exceeded the previous five year injury and illness rate reductions, yet top managers determined that it would be attainable if the Agency successfully implemented its goal achievement strategies. Strategies for achieving these goals include a balanced use of strong, fair and effective enforcement, outreach, education and compliance assistance, free and confidential consultation services in all states and partnerships and cooperative programs. OSHA managers track Federal inspection activity, number of consultation visits, new participants in Federal Recognition Programs, and new participants in Strategic Partnerships and Alliances.

OSHA's Construction Safety and Health Outreach Program provides online compliance assistance summaries of various OSHA Construction standards, including Welding and Cutting. This outreach document is available on the web (http://www.osha.gov/doc/outreach
training/outreachtraining.html) and it explains the provisions of the OSHA Welding and Cutting standards in easy to understand language.
Image of an a welder
Photo credit: OSHA

Results, Analysis and Future Plans
This section includes reporting for 2002, 2003 and 2004 injury and illness performance data. OSHA is reporting on 2002 data that were not previously available. Also, in this section, OSHA provides estimates for 2003 and 2004 performance that were necessitated because of the new annual reporting schedule.22

FY 2003-2004
The indicator for both years was percent change in the days away from work case rate per 100 workers. Targets were a two percent decline from the CY 2000 baseline in FY 2003 and four percent in FY 2004.

FY 2004 Results: The goal was achieved. The days away from work case rate declined 11.1 percent from the baseline, compared to the four percent target. OSHA estimated this goal by comparing data from CY 2002, which BLS published in December 2003, with a CY 2000 baseline.

FY 2003 Results: The goal was achieved. The days away from work case rate declined 5.6 percent from the baseline. OSHA estimated this goal by comparing data from CY 2001, which BLS published in December 2002, with a CY 2000 baseline.

22The estimating methodology has been reviewed by the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General. The actual performance results for this goal will be published in the FY 2006 Budget. 2.0

FY 2002
Indicator: Reduce injuries and illnesses per 100 Days away from work per 100 workers in four industries (shipyards, meat products, nursing homes, and construction) characterized by high hazard workplaces.

Target: Ten percent decline from previous year.

Results: The goal was not achieved. The chart below indicates that the nursing homes and shipyards industries experienced increases in their rates of injuries and illnesses of four percent and eight percent, respectively. The meat products and construction industries decreased their rates of injuries and illnesses by seven percent and five percent, respectively. This goal was not previously reported because of the lag time in Bureau of Labor Statistics data availability. This goal was a true "stretch" goal with a higher target (ten percent reduction in one year) than had ever been attempted previously. The rates are estimates because CY 2002 data are not comparable to previous years, due to changes in recordkeeping requirements that were not anticipated when this goal was developed in 1997.

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OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialists (CASs), such as the one pictured below, respond to requests for help from a variety of groups, including small businesses, trade associations, union locals, and community and faith-based groups. CASs provide information about OSHA standards and compliance assistance resources. They work with employers and workers in OSHA Strategic Partnerships. The partners identify safety and health problems to address, agree upon responsibilities, identify strategies, and set goals and performance measures to verify results. OSHA also works with employers and workers to develop Alliances, where OSHA and the participating organizations define, implement and meet a set of goals. Additionally, CASs speak at seminars, workshops, and other safety events. Each OSHA Area Office in states under Federal jurisdiction is staffed with CASs.
Image of an two men on a jobsite
Photo credit: OSHA

Contributing to success to date are OSHA's cooperative programs, such as the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). For example, recently the International Paper Company compared 50 of its VPP sites with 124 of its sites that were not in the VPP. International Paper's VPP sites had a two-year lost workday incident rate that was 48 percent lower than the non-VPP sites and workers' compensation costs that were 58 percent lower than the non-VPP site. International Paper estimated that if their non-VPP sites had performed as well as their VPP sites for the two years studied, they would have saved over $16 million in workers' compensation costs. Through 2008, OSHA will focus these efforts on decreasing the days away from work (case rate per 100 workers).

Management Issues
The BLS data used for performance reporting on this goal provide the most comprehensive and reliable information currently available on national levels of injuries and illnesses. However, because there is a one-year lag in the availability of BLS injury and illness data, resulting in a two-year lag in reporting for this performance report, OSHA is seeking to expand the OSHA Data Initiative to collect data from Federal jurisdiction establishments in industries identified in the OSHA Strategic Management Plan. This would allow OSHA to calculate injury and illness rates for certain industries for the previous year for the GPRA report.

A study completed in July 2004, Evaluation of OSHA's Impact on Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in Manufacturing Using Establishment-Specific Targeting of Interventions (Study 23 in Appendix 2), showed that its targeted inspections in manufacturing produced an estimated three-year reduction in the number of Lost Workday Injury and Illness (LWDII) cases of between 12.0 and 13.8 percent. This reduction is in addition to the industry-wide declines in injury and illness rates, since the analysis controlled for these. A comparison between previous industry-level targeting and establishment-specific targeting shows that establishment-specific targeting is more effective. OSHA is seeking to build on this evaluation to find out more about optimal combinations of interventions to maximize reductions in injuries and illnesses.

In May 2004, OSHA completed Lookback Evaluation of OSHA's Standard for Presence Sensing Device Initiation (PSDI) of Mechanical Power Presses (Study 24 in Appendix 2). The review addressed the continued need for the standard, including whether less burdensome alternatives had been developed, the economic effects of the standard on the regulated community, and the benefits of the standard, including the impact on improved employee safety and health. OSHA concluded that if the benefits OSHA sought in the PSDI standard are to be gained (i.e., improved worker safety and employer productivity), the standard needs to be changed. OSHA has decided to update its Mechanical Power Presses Standard to the most current version of the industry consensus standard or something similar.

Several other studies performed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and DOL's Office of Inspector General, as well as the Administration's Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) review of OSHA, are briefly summarized in this section of the narrative for Performance Goal 3.1C.


Outcome Goal 3.2 — Foster Equal Opportunity Workplaces

DOL is committed to fostering workplaces that guarantee equal opportunities and fairness to working Americans. Outcome Goal 3.2 addresses the issue of ensuring equal opportunity exists within the American workplace. DOL pursues this commitment through three performance goals addressing the needs of workers and promoting equality in the workplace. The Employment Standard Administration's (ESA's) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) administers and enforces three equal employment opportunity laws prohibiting Federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, and protected veterans' status. By increasing equal opportunity compliance in companies doing business with the Federal government, OFCCP functions to protect the employment rights of thousands of able American workers who might otherwise be unfairly excluded from the workplace.

DOL also works to facilitate the transition of persons with disabilities to the workplace. Although many persons with disabilities want to work, they have often been under-represented in the workforce due to attitudinal, physical, and institutional barriers that prevent them from full participation. The Office of the Assistant Secretary and Management (OASAM) administers Workforce Investment Act (WIA) provisions requiring States to establish policies, procedures, and systems reasonably guaranteeing equal opportunity for all in the workplace.

DOL's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) protects the employment and reemployment rights of persons who are current or past members of the uniformed services, and who encounter barriers in civilian employment related to their service. The legislative authority for these rights and their corresponding protections is established by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). VETS investigates complaints filed by veterans who believe their rights have been violated. Recently, all three DOL programs have undertaken efforts to provide compliance assistance to employers about policies and regulations governing equal opportunity workplaces. These activities serve to inform employers about equal opportunity workplace regulations and to promote their awareness of willing and available individuals who can become valued employees.

The table below capsulizes performance goals and achievements supporting this outcome goal, and agencies responsible.

Goal (Agency) — Period
Goal Statement [Achievement]

Performance Summary

3.2A (ESA) — FY 2004
Federal contractors achieve equal opportunity workplaces.
[Achieved]

Both targets were reached. Incidence of discrimination among evaluated contractors was one percent — well below target. Compliance with all other equal opportunity workplace standards increased to 91 percent, 30 percentage points above the target.

3.2B (OASAM) — FY 2004
States that receive financial assistance under the Workforce Investment Act provide benefits and services to persons with disabilities in a non-discriminatory manner.
[Achieved]

All three targets were reached. Most States and their local areas have established policies and procedures to provide universal access to their customer population and programmatic access to customers with disabilities.

3.2C (VETS) — FY 2004
Reduce employer-employee employment issues originating from service members' military obligations conflicting with their civilian employment.
[Achieved]

The target was reached. Four key problem areas with the greatest potential for reduction of complaints were identified.

Net Cost of Programs
FY 2004 program costs of $112 million supported programs to assure that Federal tax dollars are not used to discriminate in the workplace or in the availability of program services. These program costs represent a slight $6 million decline from FY 2003 costs of $118 million.

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A representative from a global human resources outsourcing and consulting firm welcomed participants at Flex-Options: Making Them Work for You, an event in Chicago, Illinois co-sponsored by her firm and DOL's Women's Bureau. The panel featured nationally recognized experts from the workplace flexibility field and Women's Bureau Director Shinae Chun and Region V Administrator, Nancy Chen. The Flex-Options project connects women business owners with corporate executives who provide mentoring on how to develop flexible workplace policies. These panels provide an educational forum for networking among women business owners who have expressed interest in developing such policies for their companies. A minimum of 80 women business owners will develop flexible workplace policies by the end of the project.
Image of a group sitting at a table
Photo credit: Women's Bureau staff

Results Summary
DOL achieved all three of the three performance goals subsumed under Outcome Goal 3.2. In FY 2004, OFCCP completed 6,544 compliance evaluations, focusing on identifying and resolving systemic discrimination violations. This emphasis on compliance encourages Federal contractors to examine their own employment practices.

All WIA State recipients evaluated their largest local workforce investment areas. State and Job Corps Center FY 2003 data show that 1,211 discrimination complaints were filed against the workforce system; of these, 11% were filed on the basis of disability relative to wrongful termination and failure to provide reasonable accommodations.

VETS successfully identified a baseline of key problem areas so that future achievement of Performance Goal 3.2C can be properly assessed. The baseline covers four problem areas that are likely to be the focus of future reduction of complaints: (1) provision of refresher/upgrade training required to qualify for reemployment; (2) prompt reinstatement; (3) seniority; and (4) pension. These will serve as the focus of future measurement of VETS program goals.

Future Challenges
OFCCP has introduced a new contractor selection system based upon a recent program evaluation study of the effectiveness of its civil rights enforcement. OFCCP will gather performance results from completed FY 2005 compliance evaluations23 and use these and forthcoming evaluation results to improve its selection and investigation techniques in identifying non-compliant contractors.

In FY 2005, OASAM's Civil Rights Center will conduct several activities to enhance equal opportunity in the workplace, including expanding the directory of Equal Opportunity (EO) Officers to include local workforce investment area EO Officers; developing training modules on complaint processing and EO statistical monitoring; and providing on-line EO courses for EO Officers and frontline workers.

VETS's compliance assistance activities will emphasize areas that may reduce the number and severity of USERRA complaints. In September 2004, VETS published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) under the authority of the USERRA statute. Stakeholders were offered an opportunity to comment on the proposed regulations prior to publication of a Final Rule that clarifies specific protections, VETS's role in the process, and procedures to be followed to implement the protections of the Act. The regulations that result from this proposed rule will, for the first time, provide clear and consistent authoritative guidance to America's employers on USERRA.

23Data collected from completed compliance evaluations that were scheduled beginning in July 2004.


Foster Equal Opportunity Workplaces
Performance Goal 3.2A (ESA) — FY 2004

Federal contractors achieve equal opportunity workplaces

Indicators
Reduce the incidence of discrimination among Federal contractors to 9%; and

Increase compliance among Federal contractors in all other respects of equal opportunity workplace standards to 61%.

Secretary Chao uses the Secretary of Labor's Opportunity Award, the Exemplary Voluntary Efforts Awards (EVE), and the Exemplary Public Interest Contributions Awards Program to partner with Federal contractors in identifying programs of particular merit for achieving equal opportunity workplaces, thereby encouraging other employers to follow suit. The Opportunity Award was given in 2004 to the SCANA Corporation of Columbia, SC, for its consolidated employment system that fosters fair selection and hiring based on six business-related competencies. The EVE Award winners for 2004 included The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, CA, whose Aerospace Institute helps all employees maintain high competencies in technical and professional skills through computer based curricula. Another EVE Award winner, Dell Computer Corporation of Austin, TX, was honored for its investment in training designed to foster an inclusive environment. LG&E Energy Corporation of Louisville, KY created a Corporate Diversity Council to develop, implement and monitor employment opportunity initiatives. The Tice Electric Company of Portland, OR, another EVE Award winner, provides exemplary support for all employees through pre-apprenticeship education, training, and networking for those who seek employment in the electrical trades.
Image of secretary chao hosting an awards ceremony
Photo credit: Shawn T. Moore
Management Issues

Results, Analysis and Future Plans
The goal was achieved. The incidence of discrimination found among evaluated contractors was one percentage point, or eight percent, below the FY 2004 goal of nine percent. Evaluated contractors' compliance with all other equal opportunity workplace standards increased to 91 percent, 30 percentage points above the FY 2004 goal of 61 percent.

Program Perspective
ESA's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) administers and enforces three equal employment opportunity laws which prohibit Federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, and protected veterans' status. Executive Order 11246, as amended; Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; and 38 U.S.C. 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended also require Federal contractors to take steps to ensure equal employment opportunities. Based on the principle that employment opportunities generated by Federal dollars should be equally available to all Americans, these requirements are an integral part of nearly all Federal contracts and the Federal procurement process. By increasing equal opportunity compliance in companies doing business with the Federal government, OFCCP will protect the employment rights of thousands of able American workers who might otherwise be unfairly excluded from the workplace.

OFCCP typically evaluates between four to six percent of the Federal contractor universe each year and focuses its enforcement activities on finding and resolving systemic discrimination. OFCCP adopts this strategy to: (1) prioritize enforcement resources for the worst offenders; (2) encourage employers to self-audit their employment practices; and (3) achieve maximum leverage of resources. OFCCP completed 6,544 compliance evaluations that focused on identifying and resolving systemic discrimination violations. While OFCCP is responsible for enforcing nondiscrimination and equal opportunity requirements, protection of civil rights and assurances of quality workplaces is not solely dependent on finding violations. OFCCP's compliance emphasis and the assistance it provides encourages contractors to examine their own employment practices. More Federal contractors are complying with the nondiscrimination laws, and the reduced regulatory burden on contractors has paid dividends.

OFCCP has introduced a new contractor selection system incorporating recommendations from a 2003 study on the effectiveness of its civil rights enforcement. OFCCP will gather performance results from completed FY 2005 compliance evaluations24 and use these results to evaluate the impact of those recommendations. OFCCP will also improve its selection and investigation techniques in identifying non-compliant contractors based upon an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Equal Opportunity Survey in identifying Federal contractors who may have discriminatory practices.

24Data collected from completed compliance evaluations that were scheduled beginning in July 2004.

The Department continually seeks to simplify regulations and to reduce the regulatory burden on Federal contractors. The Abt Associates, Inc. study will evaluate the effectiveness of the Equal Opportunity Survey as an instrument for identifying contractors engaged in systemic discrimination. Research results will be used to develop and validate a model to identify workplaces where systemic discrimination persists while at the same time meet the Department's goal of reducing regulatory burden.

Statutory changes stemming from the recent Jobs for Veterans Act affect OFCCP regulations. Prior to this legislation, employers with a Federal contract or subcontract of at least $25,000 were required to take affirmative action to hire and promote qualified, covered veterans. Because this legislation increased the threshold to $100,000, it reduced the Federal contractor universe for veteran coverage. OFCCP will promulgate regulations to implement the change in this threshold.

The Program Assessment Rating Tool review of OFCCP for the FY 2004 budget indicated the agency could not measure the impact of its civil rights enforcement on the reduction of employment discrimination. As a result, DOL asked Westat to evaluate and measure OFCCP's effectiveness in identifying Federal contractors' discriminatory practices. Westat found that OFCCP's concentration on targeting larger employers and those more likely to discriminate was helpful in enforcing equal employment statutes. Study recommendations outlined techniques that could improve employer targeting even more significantly and OFCCP is incorporating these techniques within its current enforcement strategy. For more information, see Study 19 in Appendix 2.

DOL has also secured technical support, beginning in FY 2004, for a feasibility study and design of a secure web-based construction contractor information system using Federal Procurement Data System — Next Generation data. This reporting system will allow the agency to better identify, collect and report on construction contract awards to both prime contractors and subcontractors. This information system will also allow OFCCP to implement OIG recommendations that it design a better system for selecting and scheduling federal construction contractors for compliance evaluations.


Promote Equal Opportunity Under the Workforce Investment Act
Performance Goal 3.2B (OASAM) — FY 2004

States that receive financial assistance under the Workforce Investment Act provide benefits and services to persons with disabilities in a non-discriminatory manner.

Indicators
Desk reviews conducted of a representative sample of States using the WIA Section 188 Disability Checklist;

Initiate technical assistance reviews of the One-Stop Career systems in the cities of Los Angeles, CA and Houston, TX; and

The nature and number of discrimination complaints filed nationwide under Title I of the WIA, Wagner-Peyser Act funded programs, the Unemployment Insurance program, and against DOL-operated Job Corps Centers based on a longitudinal study spanning FY 2002 through FY 2005.

Program Perspective
Historically, people with disabilities have faced attitudinal, physical, and institutional barriers that prevent them from full participation in the mainstream of life, particularly employment. Persons with disabilities are one of the most under represented groups in the U.S. workforce. A substantial number of disabled persons want to work and can greatly benefit from the workforce system in making the transition from government transfer payment programs to the world of work. Over the last quarter of a century, Congress has enacted laws designed to break down barriers to employing persons with disabilities. Under WIA each Governor is required to establish a Methods of Administration, which is the foundation of policies, procedures, and systems that provide a reasonable guarantee of equality of opportunity in the workforce for all, including persons with disabilities.

Results, Analysis and Future Plans
The goal was achieved. All WIA State-level recipients were required to conduct self-evaluation reviews of their largest local workforce investment area, which exceeded the target of conducting only a sampling. The results of these self-evaluation reviews indicate that most States and their local areas have put in place policies and procedures that provide universal access to their customer population and programmatic access to customers with disabilities. This finding is buttressed by the finding from the full technical assistance review of New York and Florida and their largest local workforce areas, New York City and Miami, respectively.

We also initiated disability technical assistance reviews of California and Texas and their largest local areas, Los Angeles and Houston, respectively. DOL provided compliance assistance training on the Federal disability requirements to key State and local staff and front line workers representing every One-Stop Center in these localities.

States and Job Corps centers complaint log data show that 1,211 discrimination complaints were filed against the workforce system. Of the total number of discrimination complaints filed, 137 or 11 percent were filed on the basis of disability. The dominant issues in these complaints were wrongful termination and failure to provide reasonable accommodations.

In FY 2005 DOL will (1) establish a repository of promising practices on the Civil Rights Center's public website, (2) expand the directory of Equal Opportunity (EO) Officers to include local workforce investment area EO Officers in order to facilitate communication and information sharing, (3) develop training modules on complaint processing and EO statistical monitoring, and (4) develop on-line EO courses.

Management Issues
The General Accountability Office (GAO) announced and initiated a study of disability compliance in the workforce system during FY 2004. In many ways, the GAO study is mirroring the Civil Rights Center technical assistance reviews of the One-Stop Career systems. GAO's study will conclude with a series of recommendations, and the final report is expected during FY 2005.


Michael, a Reservist in the United States Army, was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from February 16, 2003 to November 11, 2003. While deployed, Michael became eligible for a career ladder promotion. Upon his return to work, Michael inquired about his promotion. His supervisor informed him that he would have to wait because he was gone for most of the evaluation period. Michael filed a complaint with VETS in February 2004. VETS contacted the employer, outlining the complaint and explaining Michael's rights under USERRA concerning promotions while absent. The employer wrote back still insisting that they had not had sufficient time to evaluate Michael. DVET explained to the employer that they could evaluate him for a short period of time and promote him retroactively. Finally, the employer realized how Michael's career could be affected by the delayed promotion. On March 29, 2004 the employer agreed to promote Michael retroactively and remit $4,589.60 in back pay.
Image of an unsafe trench
Photo credit: Stan Williams

Assist Veterans' Return to Jobs After Military Obligations
Performance Goal 3.2C (VETS) — FY 2004

Reduce employer-employee employment issues originating from service members' military obligations conflicting with their civilian employment.

Indicator
Establish baseline of key problem areas for reduction in USERRA cases filed by veterans or service members

Program Perspective
VETS protects the employment and reemployment rights of persons who are current or past members of the uniformed services, and who encounter barriers in civilian employment related to their service. Legislative authority for protection of these rights is established by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

VETS investigates individuals' complaints alleging their rights have been violated and provides compliance assistance to employers and to protected individuals. Most violations by employers arise from a lack of awareness of the rights and protections established by USSERRA. Similarly, most claims that are found to be without merit result from a lack of awareness on the part of the claimants regarding the specific dimensions of the rights and protections established by USERRA. VETS seeks to reduce both employer violations and the filing of meritless complaints by protected individuals.

Results, Analysis and Future Plans
This goal was achieved. Using DOD's annual survey of the actual experiences of members of Military Reserve and National Guard units, VETS' established a baseline of issues that will help focus activities on improving employer compliance and reducing USERRA complaints.

The first table below summarizes VETS' baseline analysis. Although the 2004 percentages are consistently higher than the corresponding percentages for 2003, this difference needs to be viewed with considerable caution: 1) This question was a "stand-alone" item in the 2003 survey but in the 2004 survey it was the 11th item in a series of 20, all dealing with USERRA. Therefore, the higher percentages may reflect a difference in how those participating in the 2004 survey responded after being "warmed" to the topic by a series of prior questions, as opposed to how those participating in the 2003 survey responded "cold" to a single question. 2) Percentages are small, so the statistical error of these estimates is high relative to their values. Averaging the results of the two surveys offers a conservative estimate of the overall frequency of these issues, as shown in the last column. The second table groups actual complaints by survey categories in the first table.

 

Results from the 2003 and 2004 DMDC Surveys25

Categories of USERRA-Related Problems Experienced by Survey Respondents

Percent
"YES"
2003

Percent
"YES"
2004

Average

Reemployment Issues:

  • Prompt Reemployment: (Failed to receive prompt reemployment upon return from military service)

  • Skill Upgrade and Refresher Opportunities: (Reasonable efforts not made to refresh or upgrade skills to enable you to qualify for reemployment)

4


6

6


10

5


8

Seniority Issues: (Loss of seniority, seniority-related pay, or seniority-related benefits)

7

12

9.5

Health Benefits Issues:

  • Continuation: (Failed to receive option to continue employer-provided health insurance)

  • Reinstatement: (Failed to receive immediate reinstatement of employer-provided health insurance)

6


4

8


7

7


5.5

Pensions: (Military service considered a break in employment for pension benefit purposes)

10

12

11

Type of Service: (Employer differentiated between voluntary and involuntary service)

10

12

11

Prompt reemployment and skill upgrade are key problem areas. Prompt reemployment has long been a priority for USERRA compliance assistance and continuing emphasis upon that issue is likely. However, the percentage of respondents identifying upgrade/refresher training as an issue is higher. Therefore, the provision of skill upgrade/refresher training may be a "sleeper" issue that underlies a number of USERRA reinstatement complaints and is not fully appreciated by VETS or employers.

 

USERRA Complaints in FY 2003, Grouped by Corresponding Survey Categories

Primary Issue Codes Associated with USERRA Complaints in FY 2003

Percent of Issue Codes Associated with Complaints

Reinstatement

19%

Seniority, Status, Promotion, Pay Rate, Vacation

20%

Pension

4%

Military Obligations Discrimination, Discrimination as Retaliation for any Action, Initial Hiring Discrimination, Layoff

40%

Miscellaneous

17%

 

Management Issues
In late FY 2004, VETS published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) under the authority of the USERRA statute. Because the program previously operated without the benefit of regulations, it is expected that a broad spectrum of stakeholders will take the opportunity to comment on the proposed regulations. Among these are likely to be employer associations, labor unions and other employee associations, veteran service organizations, and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which has a role in providing assistance under USERRA. Publishing the NPRM, responding to comments, and publishing a Final Rule will help to clarify issues regarding specific protections, issues regarding VETS's role with respect to interested individuals and organizations, and the procedures to implement the protections of the Act.

25Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) 2003 & 2004 surveys' common question: "In the past 24 months, have you experienced any of the following problems despite your protection under USERRA?"


Outcome Goal 3.3 — Reduce Exploitation of Child Labor, Protect the Basic Rights of Workers, and Strengthen Labor Markets

The continuing evolution of today's global environment has an ever-increasing impact on the 21st century American workforce. The well-being of American workers is increasingly tied to international stability. As our country faces unprecedented international security challenges, the need for broad-based economic prosperity, both domestically and abroad, has become increasingly apparent. Through its complementary missions of supporting the expansion of free and fair trade and providing technical assistance grants to eliminate exploitive child labor and promote basic rights of workers around the world, the Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) strives to secure increased economic well-being both in the United States and abroad. ILAB also continues to provide policy guidance on other labor-related issues.

ILAB-supported international technical assistance programs are unique in that they focus on raising living standards around the world through labor and workplace-related interventions. In FY 2004, DOL's international technical assistance programs focused on supporting the Administration's foreign policy initiatives to combat the trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children; reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on children and workers; promote educational initiatives in the Middle East; and fulfill the Department's role in negotiating international trade agreements.

ILAB's FY 2004 performance goals seek to improve workplaces, strengthen training and skills of workers in developing and transition countries, and promote core labor standards. As the Administration has worked to implement free and open global markets and develop regional and bilateral trade agreements, it has sought to work with its trading partners to improve labor policies and conditions.

Listed in the first column of the table below are the performance goal numbers associated with this outcome goal, the periods being reported on, the goal statements, and indication whether or not they were achieved. The second column provides a summary of targets reached, substantially reached and not reached for the indicators associated with each performance goal, followed by a note of the most significant result(s) for this past year.

Goal (Agency) — Period
Goal Statement [Achievement]

Performance Summary

3.3A (ILAB) — FY 2004
Contribute to the elimination of the worst forms of child labor internationally.
[Achieved]

ILAB reached all four of its targets, which included the prevention or withdrawal of more than 90,000 children from exploitive child labor, and increasing the capacity of 26 countries to address child labor.

3.3B (ILAB) — FY 2004
Improve living standards and conditions of work internationally. [Achieved]

ILAB reached all five of its targets, which include the collection of analytic data that will help ILAB measure the impact of its programs on improving living standards and conditions of work internationally. ILAB also began HIV/AIDS workplace education projects in eight countries.

 

A three-year USDOL-funded project in Mali and Ivory Coast is combating child labor in cocoa production. The Child Labor Alternatives through Sustainable Systems in Education (CLASSE) project promotes training and educational alternatives for children. The project provides alternative curricula and training for teachers, vocational education with an emphasis on agriculture, and youth mentoring. Activities include public awareness campaigns, community focus groups, and interaction with government officials, worker groups, and faith-based organizations to build support for child labor prevention. The photograph pictured here features schoolchildren in a village in Ivory Coast where the CLASSE project is expanding school access.
Image of a children sitting at tables
Photo credit: ILAB
Secondino, age 14 (pictured ) of Constanza in the Dominican Republic, had worked in the fields 10 hours a day from the age of 8, his hands as callused as an old man's, his back aching from bending to cut crops. Secondino began "leveling" classes at age 11 in first grade, and by summer's end had progressed to 4th grade. His mother says, "Now he looks healthier, taller, and I have learned he is very smart." Secondino's younger brother, also in school, is one of Constanza's more than 200 at-risk children protected by the program from entering child labor.
Image of a woman and boy hugging
Photo credit: ILAB

Net Cost of Programs
FY 2004 program costs of $97 million supported the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB's) efforts to reduce the worst forms of exploitive child labor internationally and to address core international labor standards issues. These program costs represent a $47 million (almost 100 percent) increase from the FY 2003 costs of $50 million

The difference in costs between FY 2003 and FY 2004 for this outcome goal is attributable to two factors. First, in FY 2003, ILAB's budget included money for grants that could be awarded in either FY 2003 or 2004. Approximately $35 million of this grant money was awarded in FY 2004. Second, given the late passage of the FY 2003 budget, many of ILAB's grants were awarded toward the end of FY 2003. The recipients spent little of these funds prior to FY 2004.

Results Summary
Both performance goals were achieved. For Performance Goal 3.3A, an estimated 90,200 children were removed or prevented from exploitive work in FY 2004. The DOL target was 70,000. ILAB achieved this performance goal through the provision of education or training opportunities in ongoing programs operated by the International Labor Organization's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC) with oversight and funding by DOL. This year's target was significantly exceeded due to improved program efficiency and larger projects that enrolled greater numbers of children. Since ILAB began tracking this indicator in 2001, USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC projects have removed or prevented approximately 250,000 children from exploitive work and given them meaningful alternatives to child labor.

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Preventing and withdrawing children from the worst forms of child labor in the long-term also depends on a country's willingness and capacity to address the issue and sustain efforts even after projects end. ILAB estimates that 26 countries increased their capacity to address child labor as a result of ILO-IPEC programs funded by DOL, exceeding its target of 15. For this measure, capacity is defined as changes to countries' legal frameworks that reflect international child labor standards; the adoption or implementation of programs or policies to combat the worst forms of child labor; mainstreaming of child labor concerns into relevant development, social, and anti-poverty policies and programs; or the establishment of a child labor monitoring mechanism. ILAB's Education Initiative (EI) funds projects to improve access to basic education in areas where there is a high incidence of child labor. Both of ILAB's EI performance indicators were reached. At least 16 projects established targets for retention and completion rates for projects funded in 2002 and 2003, exceeding ILAB's target of eight. Eight projects have established baseline rates for enrollment and drop out (school retention) of participants for projects funded in 2003, exceeding ILAB's target of seven.

For Performance Goal 3.3B, ILAB reached its target by collecting baseline data for indicators measuring the impact of DOL programs to improve working conditions around the world. These programs encourage the establishment of government regulated pension plans; the adoption of workplace safety and health programs; improved economic and working conditions; and the implementation of HIV/AIDS workplace education projects. These data will help determine challenging but realistic targets in the future. ILAB also funds HIV/AIDS projects in seven countries that include Burkina Faso, China, Cameroon, Gabon, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago, exceeding its target of five countries. These projects aim to decrease employment discrimination against persons affected by HIV/AIDS.


Reduce Child Labor in Developing Countries
Performance Goal 3.3A (ILAB) — FY 2004

Contribute to the elimination of the worst forms of child labor internationally

Indicators
Number of children prevented or withdrawn from exploitive labor and provided education or training opportunities by ILO-IPEC programs funded by DOL in prior fiscal years;

Number of countries with increased capacities to address child labor as a result of ILO-IPEC programs funded by DOL in prior fiscal years;

Number of Child Labor Education Initiative projects that establish targets for education retention and completion rates in project areas; and

Number of Child Labor Education Initiative projects that establish a baseline for rate of enrollment and drop out for targeted children.

Program Perspective
ILAB has worked to reduce exploitive child labor worldwide since 1993, funding and overseeing projects that combat exploitive child labor in 69 developing countries. ILAB's activities include research and reporting on various aspects of international child labor, increasing public awareness and understanding of the problem, and supporting international projects to eliminate exploitive child labor and increase access to quality basic education. Many projects are implemented by ILO-IPEC, a worldwide technical assistance program to progressively eliminate exploitive child labor. ILAB's Child Labor Education Initiative (EI), originating in 2000, provides funds for international projects focusing specifically on access to and quality of basic education as a means of reducing exploitive child labor. A wide variety of organizations implement EI projects.

With financial support from USDOL, children in Ghana who were formerly trafficked for exploitive labor are now receiving an education at the Kokrobite primary school, located an hour outside Accra. The DOL project, implemented by the International Labor Organization's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC), works with government and local non-governmental organizations to provide children rescued from trafficking with the support they need to attend school. The children were trafficked hours away from their homes to the Volta Lake region to work in the fishing industry as divers, net casters and assistants to local fishermen. In addition to Kokrobite, the project provides education to trafficked children in a number of other villages in Ghana. In total, the project will assist hundreds of children who have been trafficked or at risk of being trafficked for exploitive labor. The project in Ghana is part of a nine-country DOL-funded program in Africa to combat child trafficking for exploitive employment. During Secretary Chao's trip to Ghana in December 2003, she visited the Kokrobite school, and met with children assisted by the project, as well as with teachers, families, and community members.
Image of a group of people in ghana
Photo credit: Stan Williams

ILAB measures the progress of its ILO-IPEC projects on two levels: community-based direct interventions benefiting individual children and families; and country-level activities to build capacity and institutional strengthening. EI indicators focus on start-up activities, such as the establishment of baselines and the identification of targets for projects funded in prior fiscal years. For the EI, the indicators will establish baseline data to permit ILAB to set targets for education retention and completion, and enrollment and dropout rates achieved as a result of DOL-funded projects. ILAB establishes its annual targets for its indicators through close consultations with grantees and analysis of baseline information, individual project targets, past performance and external factors.

Various external factors influence ILAB's targeted outcomes, such as the implementing environment of developing countries. ILAB-funded projects work in countries with diverse political, social, and economic environments. Civil unrest, natural disasters, economic shocks, frequent changes in governments and poor infrastructure may impact the timely progress of project implementation.

Results, Analysis and Future Plans
The goal was achieved. ILAB exceeded three out of four performance indicators, and reached the fourth. In 2004, ILAB funded a total of 28 new projects to combat child labor and to increase access to basic education with a special focus on the worst forms of child labor. Many of these projects support the Administration's foreign policy objectives to combat the trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children; to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on children; to promote educational initiatives in the Middle East; and to fulfill DOL's role in negotiating international trade agreements. In 2004, 90,200 children were removed or prevented from exploitive work through the provision of education or training opportunities in ongoing ILO-IPEC programs funded by DOL, exceeding the target of 70,000 children. Since ILAB began tracking this indicator in 2001, USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC projects have removed or prevented approximately 250,000 children from exploitive work and given them meaningful alternatives to child labor. In addition, thousands of parents were provided training and assistance to meet the basic needs of their families and overcome their reliance on child labor.

Preventing and withdrawing children from the worst forms of child labor in the long-term depends on a country's willingness and ability to address the issue and sustain efforts even after projects end. In FY 2004, DOL-funded ILO-IPEC programs increased the capacity of 26 countries to address child labor, exceeding its target of 15. This indicator measures capacity through a standard set of criteria, including: 1) adaptation of a country's legal framework to reflect international child labor standards; 2) formulation of national, sectoral or geographical programs or policies to combat the worst forms of child labor; 3) mainstreaming child labor concerns into relevant development, social, and anti-poverty policies and programs; or 4) establishment of a child labor monitoring mechanism. For example, through DOL funding of the El Salvador Timebound Program, the government reformed the Penal Code to provide judicial authority to investigate and prosecute offenders involved in the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

image of cumulative number of children prevented or removed from exploitiave labor graph

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All projects funded under the EI work to identify targets for rates of retention and completion. At least 16 projects established targets for retention and completion rates for projects funded in 2002 and 2003, exceeding ILAB's target of eight. In addition, eight projects have established baseline rates for enrollment and drop out (school retention) of participants for projects funded in 2003, exceeding ILAB's target of seven. Education targets and rates for both indicators were set relative to results from baseline data collection and historical experience in project implementing areas.

In the future, ILAB will obtain data relating to program performance, implementation plans, and results. ILAB is also working to improve the efficiency of its technical assistance programs.

Management Issues
ILAB continues to enhance its program oversight and management responsibilities by regularly collecting timely project performance information. ILAB receives primary data from its grantees. ILAB staff review and verify the accuracy of the data. Project monitoring systems provide data at the project and country levels. ILAB continues to work with grantees to improve the effectiveness and quality of data collection.

ILAB funds project-specific mid-term and final evaluations for each project. The agency uses the evaluation reports to take corrective actions, when necessary, and to inform approaches and management of ongoing and new projects. Now that the program has been underway for a significant amount of time and a number of projects are being completed, ILAB plans to commission a program-wide independent evaluation in FY 2005.

Delays in the appropriations process continue to be ILAB's primary management challenge. These delays significantly reduce ILAB's timeframe for obligating funds, conducting initial needs assessments, performing government and interagency consultations, conducting competitive procurements, and reviewing and approving grantee proposals. Furthermore one-year obligation authority limits time available for the EI to design complex international projects. To address these challenges, ILAB is streamlining its procedures for obligating funds and supporting fewer, larger projects.

In addition, a shorter time-frame for obligating funds may put smaller organizations at a disadvantage in applying for grants. Groups that may be capable of implementing projects may not possess the infrastructure required to prepare grant applications in short time frames. It remains a challenge for ILAB to obligate funds quickly while striving to establish a level playing field for potential grantees.


The U.S. Department of Labor is funding a $3 million job skills and small enterprise training project to increase incomes and standards of living for the most vulnerable segments of the Afghan population. Many project participants are women, including widows who have lost husbands and sons during over two decades of warfare. They receive literacy and numeracy education; learn marketable job skills; and are trained to start and manage their own small business. Some of the women, such as those pictured here, have chosen to be trained in trades such as jewelry making, that have traditionally been male-dominated areas of work.
Image of a young women working with masks on
Photo credit: ILAB
Virginia Martínez Orellana is one of thousands benefiting from a DOL-funded project to expand employment opportunities in El Salvador for persons with disabilities. Through a grant to the Trust of the Americas, the USDOL provides Virginia with training in Information Technology and ways to seek and obtain employment. After the Center's training job placement assistance, she obtained employment as a Computer Assistant at the Cantón Sitio del Niño school. "Because of the assistance and training they provided me, I was able to obtain a job. It allowed me to grow as a person who is able to overcome many obstacles. In addition to the Trust and DOL, I would also like to thank all the people who trained me to be someone in life and be able to evolve in a job environment. Thank you all for your help."
Image of a lady working on a computer
Photo credit: ILAB

Improving Life for Workers Around the Globe Performance Goal 3.3B (ILAB) — FY 2004

Improve living standards and conditions of work internationally.

Indicators
Number and percent of relevant government officials and members and officials of workers' and employers' organizations who are influential in determining living standards and working conditions and participating in USDOL project activities, who consider the project to have improved their conditions of work;

Number and percent of individuals whose economic situation has benefited from USDOL project assistance;

Number and percent of workplaces exposed to USDOL project assistance that have implemented new measures to prevent workplace accidents and illnesses;

Number of workers participating in pension funds that are government regulated by project partner agencies; and

Number of new countries where HIV/AIDS workplace education projects begin.

Program Perspective
The Department's International Cooperation Program seeks to ensure that the greatest possible number of workers benefit from a more open world economy. Expanding trade and investment and improving working conditions should be understood as mutually reinforcing objectives, not opposing ones — increased trade helps foster economic growth and raise living standards while promoting employment in the U.S. The Department also believes that the creation of more open, stable economies that increase employment and standards of living for people will lead to increased political stability and security.

DOL has been providing assistance to help support these changes since 1950, when it trained German trade unionists to assist with European reconstruction after World War II. The Department has provided technical assistance to developing countries by using DOL experts in areas such as labor inspection, statistics, skills training, and occupational and mine safety and health. In 1995, the Department began receiving appropriations from Congress to fund multi-year projects that provide more focused, intensive assistance to target countries to combat child labor and in 1999, began receiving funds to implement other types of labor projects. Since 1999, the Department has funded 92 projects in over 90 countries as part of its International Cooperation Program.

Results, Analysis and Future Plans
The goal was achieved. ILAB met its target by collecting baseline data for indicators one through four. This type of longitudinal data collection supports managing for results.

ILAB is funding new HIV/AIDS projects in seven countries that include Burkina Faso, China, Cameroon, Gabon, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago, exceeding its target of five countries. These projects aim to reduce employment discrimination against persons affected with HIV/AIDS.

In FY 2004, the Department focused its technical assistance funds on projects supporting the President's international trade and HIV/AIDS initiatives. DOL contributed $2.4 million to projects in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Chile, and China aimed at building trade capacity by improving conditions of work in those countries. DOL also contributed $9 million to the International Labor Organization (ILO) to fund a number of new and continuing workplace-based HIV/AIDS education and prevention projects.

"Improve living standards and conditions of work" is a very broad goal, but the Department has chosen to target its technical assistance to address very specific components of this goal in order to deepen the impact of its assistance:

  • Improved implementation of core labor standards
  • Improvement in people's economic or employment situation
  • Increased efforts to improve safety in the workplace
  • Increased security of pensions
  • Decrease in HIV/AIDS risk behaviors
  • Decrease in employment discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS

ILAB will change its indicators and targets for Goal 3.3B in FY 2005 in response to shifts in the Administration's priorities with respect to international labor projects. Indicator five will be replaced in FY 2005 by two outcome-oriented indicators: 1) Reduced HIV/AIDS risk behaviors among targeted workers, and 2) Reduced level of employment-related discrimination against Persons Living with HIV/AIDS. Baseline data for these indicators will be established by the end of FY 2005.

Management Issues
DOL used two primary sources to collect information for these indicators: a global survey and projects' individual reports against their Performance Monitoring Plans (PMPs). Project implementers are required to develop a PMP for each project. The PMP defines project indicators and identifies data needed to measure progress towards achieving those indicators, and are used to track progress toward meeting project goals. An independent contractor conducted a worldwide survey of project stakeholders to gain baseline and trend data for Indicator One. For Indicators Two, Three, and Four, ILAB collected baseline and trend data through project PMPs. ILAB worked with project implementers to develop PMPs in tandem with project designs in order to facilitate the data collection process, to ensure comparability of data, and to inform data analysis. Project Managers from DOL have an opportunity to verify data when they go on monitoring or evaluation missions.

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