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May 4, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created by Congress to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. 

OSHA is part of the DOL, whose administrator answers to the Secretary of Labor, a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.  OSHA’s jurisdiction covers private sector employers and assists Federal Agency Programs.

When we think of OSHA, we often think of penalties and violations.  OSHA’s goal is to provide training and awareness to reduce and eliminate the need for penalties and violations.  Although a large part of their organization covers inspections, which are conducted without advance notice by highly-trained compliance officers, OSHA offers much more than that. 

When disaster strikes, OSHA assists in providing information to help workers stay safe during cleanup efforts.  With the recent sweep of tornadoes through the Southern United States into New York, many cleanup workers are facing floodwater, mold, animals and insects, and contaminated water.  OSHA offers tips and factsheets on its website at www.osha.gov/OshDoc/flood-tornado-recovery.html#guides to help employers protect disaster site workers.   The fact sheets cover topics such as chain saw safety, heat stress, working safely around electricity, along with activity sheets listing possible hazards that may be encountered.   Take a look at this website – there is an abundance of topics covered!

It is through OSHA’s efforts that many workplaces operate safe and healthful working conditions.  So we should think of OSHA as our friend, keeping our workplaces and employees safe!!

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April 6, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – DOL

This week’s weekly acronym is one we are most likely very familiar with – DOL – the (dreaded) Department of Labor.  In fact, you may have their website bookmarked on your computer for quick reference. 

As you know, the DOL is the federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing a large quantity of federal labor laws.  Below is a partial list of agencies and labor laws the DOL is responsible for (which you will note contains even more acronyms):

  • Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
    • Continuation rights for benefits (COBRA), privacy rights for benefits (HIPAA)
  • Wage & Hour Division (WHD)
    • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – overtime pay, child labor
    • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  •  Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
    • Workplace health and safety, whistleblower protection
  • Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
  • Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP)
  • Veterans’ Employment and Training Services (VETS)
    • Veterans’ rights to reemployment (USERRA)

It is obvious there isn’t much in our human resources world that doesn’t involve the DOL in some way, shape or form.  The DOL has issued a number of “Fact Sheets” which are very helpful in understanding and interpreting the various labor laws.  I would encourage you to visit their website, as it is a great resource for human resource professionals.  Their homepage is http://www.dol.gov, and for a complete summary of the DOL’s areas of responsibility, please visit http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/lawsprog.htm.

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March 14, 2011

Did You Know the DOL May Have Your Organization’s Profile in Their Database?

In today’s social media environment, you probably are aware of your personal profile on “Facebook” or “Linked In”.  However, you may not be aware the DOL has a new online resource, that may house a profile of your organization.  This public database contains information from multiple agencies including Wage and Hour records, OSHA Compliance records, OFCCP Audit results, and Pension Retirement Benefit Agency audit results, just to name a few.  The database is searchable by industry, zip code, company name, and the DOL has plans to increase the search engine to include other factors.

As part of the federal government’s effort to be more transparent, the DOL made this database public so that not only the Labor Department enforcement agencies use it, but other government agencies can also access the data.  This may lead to employers with reported violations being targeted by another agency that assumes they may not be compliant in other areas. So what should you do?  It is recommended that employers check their database information to know what is in their profile, and be aware that profiles may be used by other agencies.

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April 25, 2008

HR Fact Friday: OSHA Releases Annual Enforcement Statistics

Filed under: OSHA7:17 am

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released its annual enforcement statistics.

In fiscal 2007, OSHA conducted 39,324 total inspections, a 4.3 percent increase over its stated goal of 37,700.  Total violations of OSHA’s standards and regulations were 88,846, a 6 percent increase from fiscal 2006.  The agency cited 67,176 serious violations, a 9 percent increase from the previous year and a more than 12 percent increase over the past four years.  The number of cited repeat violations also rose, from 2,551 in FY 2006 to 2,714 in FY 2007.    

Fatality and injury and illness rates have continued to decline to record lows.  The injury and illness incidence rate of 4.4 per 100 employees for calendar year 2006 was the lowest that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has ever recorded.  Workplace fatality rates hit an all-time low in calendar 2006 with 3.9 fatalities per 100,000 employees.

Source: SHRM.org

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February 26, 2008

HR Fact Friday: OSHA Releases Its Annual Enforcement Statistics

Filed under: OSHA2:15 pm

Who says government programs are not effective? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released its annual enforcement statistics. Inspections and cited violations are on the rise. Employee illness and injury at the workplace is on the decline.

In fiscal 2007, OSHA conducted 39,324 total inspections, a 4.3 percent increase over its stated goal of 37,700.  Total violations of OSHA’s standards and regulations were 88,846, a 6 percent increase from fiscal 2006.  The agency cited 67,176 serious violations, a 9 percent increase from the previous year and a more than 12 percent increase over the past four years.  The number of cited repeat violations also rose, from 2,551 in FY 2006 to 2,714 in FY 2007.    

“The fact that OSHA surpassed its inspection goal for FY 2007 proves our enforcement commitment remains strong,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.  “The significant increase in citations for serious and repeat violations documents OSHA’s focus on identifying and eliminating severe hazards in the workplace.”

Fatality and injury and illness rates have continued to decline to record lows.  The injury and illness incidence rate of 4.4 per 100 employees for calendar year 2006 was the lowest that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has ever recorded.  Workplace fatality rates hit an all-time low in calendar 2006 with 3.9 fatalities per 100,000 employees.


Source: SHRM

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