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September Is National Preparedness Month: Is Your Workplace Ready For Severe Weather?

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 1:53pm

This week demonstrates severe weather exposes workers and workplaces across the nation to a variety of hazards.

During National Preparedness Month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds workers and job creators that the time to prepare for severe weather emergencies is now.

President Donald J. Trump is committed to the health and safety of the American workforce. Workers need to be protected before, during, and after storms to ensure they return home safely at the end of each shift. You can keep workers safe by:

  • Developing emergency plans: Job creators should develop emergency plans and ensure workers know how to execute them. Plans should detail suitable places to take shelter, policies to ensure all personnel are accounted for, and procedures for addressing hazardous materials that are on-site.

  • Staying aware and maintaining supplies: OSHA encourages everyone to stay aware of weather forecasts and keep emergency supplies, including a battery-operated weather radio, on hand to be prepared when severe weather strikes.

These general guidelines apply to all severe weather emergencies; however, preparation for specific hazards may vary by event. OSHA provides resources on workplace preparedness and response for specific severe weather emergencies, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. For more information on protecting workers from severe weather events, visit OSHA’s Emergency Preparedness and Response page.

If you or a loved one live in an affected area, please visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service for more information.


Loren Sweatt is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Loren SweattBlog Tags: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)weather emergenciesNational Preparedness MonthHomepage

Safe + Sound Week

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 7:41am
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Across the United States this week and around the world, over 200 organizations – including small businesses, non-profits, and our armed forces – are set to participate in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Safe + Sound campaign (Safe + Sound), an initiative to raise awareness of effective workplace safety and health programs.

Through work-based discussions and activities, Safe + Sound provides an opportunity to demonstrate a strong commitment to safety and to participate in a dialogue focused on finding solutions to workplace safety and health issues. There is a range of ways organizations can participate in Safe + Sound. The 1,800 events worldwide include safety webinars, toolbox talks, roundtable discussions, and more.

Outreach efforts such as Safe + Sound, along with enforcement and compliance assistance, reflect the Trump Administration’s strong commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers. In addition to the critical goal of preventing workplace injuries and illnesses, establishing a culture of workplace safety benefits job creators and workers by:

  • Increasing worker satisfaction: Safety-conscious job creators can help workers stay engaged in their work, which can lead to other benefits, such as reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and improved employee retention.
  • Improving productivity: By preventing accidents, workers can stay safe and businesses can maintain economic outputs and avoid damage to equipment or facilities.
  • Reducing costs: Companies spend $1 billion per week on workers’ compensation, which is money that could be invested in improving safety measures, growing businesses, and creating jobs.

For more information about Safe + Sound, please visit

Loren Sweatt is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Loren SweattBlog Tags: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)Safe + Sound WeekSafe + Sound campaignSafe + Sound Week 2018workplace safety and health programHomepage

After the Army, a New Career in Tech

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 1:08pm

Through hard work and a unique apprenticeship program, Antonio Williams of Louisiana has transitioned from the military to the tech industry after a 22-year career in the U.S. Army as a culinary specialist.

Apprenti is a program of the Washington Technology Industry Association Workforce Institute that addresses the workforce shortage in the tech industry through paid, on-the-job training and education. It began in Washington state and has since expanded nationally through a U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship intermediary contract.

As a first step, Antonio spent 12 weeks in an intensive training program at Honolulu Community College in Hawaii, where he was located at the time he left military service. This “pre-apprenticeship” phase allowed Antonio to learn foundational skills relating to hardware, networking, software deployment, and troubleshooting. He received certifications in A+, Network+, Linux+, and Server+ before being placed as a data center technician apprentice with a technology company in Portland, Oregon.

As an apprentice, he continues to learn and enhance his skills through hands-on work. Antonio’s salary as an apprentice equals about $50,000 annually and he expects to be hired full-time within a year at a salary roughly double his current earnings.

“The program provided a great avenue to change careers after the military,” said Antonio. “I would recommend this program to anyone.”

Leo Kay works for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs in San Francisco.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Leo KayBlog Tags: Apprentiinformation technologytech industryHomepage

3.9% Unemployment Rate, and Five More Things You Should Know From July’s Jobs Report

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 11:33am

This July, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent ‒ only the eighth time that the monthly rate has fallen below 4.0 percent since 1970, and three of those months have been in 2018.

Here are five more things you should know from the July 2018 Employment Situation report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • A total of 3.9 million new jobs have been created since November 2016, including 157,000 new jobs in July. blog-20180807-jobs1.png
  • The Hispanic unemployment rate set a new record low for the second month in a row, at 4.5 percent. blog-20180807-jobs2.png
  • The unemployment rate for workers with less than a high school diploma is the lowest ever. blog-20180807-jobs3.png


  • 932,000 new jobs have been created in goods-producing industries since November 2016, including 431,000 in construction and 412,000 in manufacturing. blog-20180807-jobs4.png

Read U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta’s statement on the July 2018 jobs report

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Office of Public AffairsBlog Tags: Jobs ReportBureau of Labor StatisticsEmployment Situationunemployment rateHomepagefeatured

28 Years of the ADA: Jobs for All Americans

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 10:41am
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This Administration is committed to ensuring all Americans can access good, family-sustaining jobs. As we pursue this goal, it is important to reflect on policy that significantly expanded the opportunity to work for millions of Americans.

This week marks the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA signaled a new era of opportunity for Americans with disabilities. The law prohibits discrimination against job seekers and employees based on disability, and also outlines ways to accommodate those with disabilities in the workplace and in public.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) focuses exclusively on the needs of workers with disabilities, and the job creators who hire them. Through research and technical assistance, and in collaboration with partners, ODEP ensures that:

As we mark 28 years of the ADA, we must move forward together to ensure all Americans succeed in the workforce.

Jennifer Sheehy is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Jennifer SheehyBlog Tags: Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)ADAADA anniversaryworkplace accommodationsHomepage

The Department of Labor Celebrates National Hire a Veteran Day

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 9:29am
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With 6.6 million open jobs across the nation, America’s job creators are ready to hire. As we celebrate National Hire a Veteran Day, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) has an important message for those job creators: America’s veterans are ready to work.

VETS works to connect job creators with talented veterans who can bring their proven skills, experiences, and leadership qualities to the workplace. VETS can also help job creators develop or enhance a veteran hiring program, recruit a veteran from their community, upskill or reskill a veteran who has already been hired, and even provide one-on-one assistance when needed.  

VETS also plays an important role in President Trump’s recent efforts to put more veterans in the workplace. Last year, President Trump signed legislation that created the HIRE Vets Medallion Program, which will recognize job creators for their investments in recruiting, employing, and retaining America’s veterans. The HIRE Vets Medallion Award will signal to transitioning service members and veterans that a company has a proven commitment to hiring our nation’s heroes. Job creators can apply for this program starting in January 2019.

On National Hire a Veteran Day, we are reminded of the importance of ensuring veterans can successfully transition to the civilian workforce. Visit if you know an employer who should apply for a HIRE Vets Medallion Award, and subscribe here to stay up to date with VETS’ upcoming initiatives and events.

By engaging job creators and recognizing veterans’ valuable skills, we can ensure America’s service members and veterans have access to good, family-sustaining jobs.  

Matthew Miller is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department's Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Matthew MillerBlog Tags: Veterans' Employment and Training Servicehire veteransemployer assistanceHomepage

EMT Apprenticeship Program Gives Californian a Career Serving His Community

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 2:30pm

Jason Jones is giving back to the community that raised him, thanks to a unique job training program in Southern California. Raised in Norwalk, Jason now helps others as an emergency medical technician after completing an apprenticeship.

Following high school, Jason attended a local community college for a couple of semesters and worked in a job helping people with special needs transition into mainstream society when he learned about the EMT apprenticeship program from a family member. His previous job was rewarding but he had a long-term goal of a career in healthcare.

The apprenticeship program is operated by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Second Supervisorial District of Los Angeles County, and an ambulance company, with coordination from a local worker resource center. In this unique partnership, young adults from the community develop skills for a high-demand profession, participate in community service projects, and receive mentoring, leadership development coaching, and financial literacy instruction.

Jason spent five months in the intensive apprenticeship program – including mentorship – which prepared him well for the physical and mental rigors of working in emergency medical services.

After completing the apprenticeship program and related coursework, he passed the national registry exam for EMTs and was hired as a permanent employee of the ambulance company he had worked for as an apprentice.

Jason says he enjoyed learning on the job, and implementing the skills he learned in the classroom.

“The transition between book knowledge and practical skills has been incredible,” he said.

Jason is currently interested in becoming a flight EMT but he said he is also considering a number of positions in healthcare, including working as a registered nurse, and is planning to begin taking college classes again.

“My life has changed, I’m on a career path now,” he said. “I can change my community. My family members are very proud of me.”

Leo Kay works for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs in San Francisco.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Leo KayBlog Tags: apprenticeshipemergency medical technicianJob TrainingEducationHomepage

Seeking Mine Safety Solutions Through Technology

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 12:51pm
MSHA is seeking information on technological improvements for powered haulage equipment that can help prevent accidents like this one, in which a large haul truck at a surface mine struck a passenger van. The van driver survived.

Can the technology developed for self-driving cars help save a miner’s life? That is a question we are trying to answer at the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

This week, MSHA published a Request for Information on technological improvements for powered haulage equipment that may have lifesaving implications for the mining industry. Powered haulage equipment transports materials at mines and includes haul trucks, front loaders, and conveyor belts. Unfortunately, accidents involving powered haulage account for a large share of mining fatalities.

One particular safety focus is on collision avoidance at surface mines, where haul trucks can be several stories tall and have blind spots extending hundreds of feet. Many large haulage vehicles used in surface mines are already equipped with backup cameras and warning alarms, similar to what is found in new cars on the road.

However, the latest smart technology developed for autonomous vehicles may be able to go further to increase miner safety. For example, seat belt interlock systems prevent a vehicle from starting if the belt is unbuckled. Additionally, collision avoidance systems use electromagnetic energy to sense the presence of vehicles and people, and alert the operator before accidents occur.

MSHA is seeking to solicit quality and comprehensive information. Representatives will be attending meetings and discussions with stakeholders across the country, including mine operators, equipment manufacturers, trade associations, and miners’ representatives. In addition, the Request for Information, issued through the Federal Register, will be open for public comment through December 24, 2018.

Utilizing technology can improve safety. MSHA is committed to the safety of American miners and look forward to hearing from the public on these important matters.

David Zatezalo is the Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: David ZatezaloBlog Tags: Mine Safety and Health AdministrationMSHApowered haulagesafety tipstechnologyHomepage

Eighty Years Later: The Fair Labor Standards Act

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 8:27am
Eighty years ago, the Fair Labor Standards Act was signed into law – ensuring Americans receive the wages they have earned. 

Eighty years ago today, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was signed, creating the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) at the Department of Labor. This landmark legislation established several long-standing pillars of our modern workplace, including the minimum wage, the 40-hour workweek, and overtime. Though much has changed in the American workplace since 1938, the FLSA endures as a vital piece of legislation that ensures Americans receive wages they have earned.

Today, WHD’s education and enforcement actions work in concert to educate employers about their responsibilities and drive compliance with this law.

The Trump Administration is committed to working with job creators who follow the law. WHD has created new strategies and tools for job creators to ensure they can both comply with the law and correct inadvertent violations. One example is the PAID self-audit program, which allows businesses with such violations to work with WHD to quickly and efficiently pay employees their lost wages. Another helpful tool is the WHD animated training videos, which explain FLSA requirements to employers in plain language.

When violations and bad actors are found, however, WHD rigorously enforces the law. WHD’s data-driven enforcement efforts focus on areas where violations are most likely and most egregious, and where our efforts will have the greatest impact. Last year alone, WHD found more than $270 million in back wages for America’s workers – the second-highest amount ever recorded.

Workers depend on the FLSA to ensure they are paid wages they have earned. Job creators depend on the FLSA to ensure they compete on a level playing field. On this 80th anniversary, and always, WHD’s dedication to its mission remains as steadfast as the day the FLSA was enacted.

For additional information or to speak with a trained WHD professional confidentially, call 1-866-4US-WAGE, or visit

Bryan Jarrett is the Acting and Deputy Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Bryan JarrettBlog Tags: Wage and Hour Division (WHD)compliance assistancewage enforcementFLSAHomepagefeatured

Making Workplace Safety a Family Affair

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 8:06am

Riggio Valve is a family-owned small business in Bayonne, New Jersey, that performs rebuilding, welding, and machining services.

Several years ago, owner and president Vin Riggio set out to improve his company’s workplace safety and health program. After learning about the free compliance assistance services provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) On-Site Consultation Program at a safety conference, he reached out to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to get started.

Through the program, consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide services on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing a safety and health program. OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program is available to employers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.

“We did not have the internal expertise, so the consultation program provided that along with the support we needed,” Vin said.

Riggio Valve in New Jersey improved its safety and health program with support from OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program.

It is critical in every kind of work environment that employees are authorized to stop work at any time upon recognizing a possible hazard or unsafe condition. “Our employees helped to identify areas that needed improvement,” said Vin. Additionally, tests such as noise and air sampling were conducted to proactively ensure employees were not being exposed to hazards. The company also created a safety committee that includes both workers and management.

Since working with the consultation program, Riggio Valve has reduced its injury and illness rates ‒ they have not had a recordable injury in more than three years. As a result, the company has even saved money through lower insurance premiums.

In April 2017, Riggio Valve was accepted into OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). This program recognizes small business employers who have participated in the On-Site Consultation Program and who operate an exemplary safety and health program. Find more resources for small businesses on OSHA’s website.

Jennifer Odiatu, an intern in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs in Philadelphia, helped adapt this story from OSHA’s collection of SHARP success stories.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Jennifer OdiatuBlog Tags: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)small businessOn-Site Consultation ProgramHomepage

Trench Safety Stand Down: Protecting the American Workforce

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:02pm

Few people think about where their electricity or water comes from when they switch on a light or wash their dishes. However, Americans are on the job in trenches every day installing and repairing utility lines to ensure those conveniences are always available. It is critical for these workers to know how to stay safe while they perform their job.

To help reduce the risk of trenching accidents, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) partners with the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) and the North American Excavation and Shoring Association (NAXSA) to promote Trench Safety Stand Down, a week dedicated to trench safety.

From June 18-23, OSHA, NUCA, and NAXSA will encourage companies that use trenches to conduct Trench Safety Stand Down activities, which can include a discussion or demonstration at a work site to illustrate the proper technique to safely dig and use a trench. OSHA regulations require employers to protect workers in trenches with specific slope parameters to avoid collapse and entrapment. When sloping is not feasible, trenches must have the proper cave-in protection.

These five key trench safety tips will help keep workers safe:

  • Ensure there’s a safe way to enter and exit.
  • Trenches must have cave-in protection.
  • Keep materials away from the edge of the trench.
  • Look for standing water and atmospheric hazards.
  • Never enter a trench unless it has been properly inspected.

President Trump’s Administration is committed to the health and safety of the American workforce. Through activities such as the Trench Safety Stand Down, we can assure all Americans can safely return home at the end of their shift.

To report an unsafe trench call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). For more information on trench safety, visit

Loren Sweatt is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Loren SweattBlog Tags: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)trench safetyTrench Safety Stand DownfeaturedHomepageNational Utility Contractors AssociationNorth American Excavation and Shoring Associationsafety tips

Ending Child Labor

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 2:05pm
ILAB’s Futuros Brillantes project is one of several DOL projects designed to root out child labor from coffee supply chains. Credit: Israel Carcamo for World Vision 

Today, 152 million children are exploited worldwide through the deplorable practice of child labor. Children as young as 4 years old are forced to scrub factory floors, fold garments in over-crowded textile mills, pick crops under the hot sun, and work other jobs unsuitable for their age or development.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) is working across the Administration and with stakeholders to advance efforts to end child labor.

As we observe World Day Against Child Labor, one important project to highlight ILAB’s work is coffee production. ILAB’s List of Goods, which identifies supply chains that violate international labor standards, found that 16 countries use child labor in the coffee production process. To end this abhorrent practice, we are working with partners to build coalitions of coffee buyers that support supply chains free of abusive child labor practices. In other countries, we are working with business associations to provide resources to families so that adults can support their families while children pursue an education.

One important part of the Trump Administration’s trade agenda is ensuring that trading partners do not profit from the use of child labor. When other countries fail to uphold their commitments on this issue, it is morally wrong and it harms American job creators and workers.

On World Day Against Child Labor, I hope you will join me in renewing our national commitment to ending child labor for good.

Martha Newton is the Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs at the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Martha NewtonBlog Tags: Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)Child LaborWorld Day Against Child LabortradeHomepage

Ninety-Eight Years Later: Empowerment in the 21st Century Workforce

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 9:15am


Women's Bureau Director Patricia Greene

On June 5, 1920, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau was established to promote the welfare of wage-earning women and to help advance opportunities for gainful employment. At the time, women represented just 21 percent of the workforce.

Today, women comprise 47 percent of America’s workforce. Last month, the unemployment rate for adult women dropped to an 18-year low of 3.3 percent.

President Trump’s Administration is working to help all Americans access good, family-sustaining jobs. At the Women’s Bureau, we are focused on empowering women to thrive in all aspects of America’s dynamic economy.

Apprenticeships ‒ an earn-while-you-learn career pathway ‒ can help women enter careers in which they are historically underrepresented, such as construction, manufacturing, and STEM fields.

As the wife of a retired service member, another priority near to my heart is helping military spouses in the workplace. Ninety percent of civilian military spouses move as a result of their spouse’s military service. Unfortunately, 25 percent report that it took 1 to 3 months to find a new job, 29 percent took 4 to 6 months, and 12 percent took 7 to 12 months.

Occupational licensing can create unnecessary barriers by restricting entry and re-entry into the workforce. The Department of Labor is encouraging states to evaluate and reduce unnecessary licensing burdens for individuals like military spouses who move across state lines with their service member. President Trump also recently signed an Executive Order that advances the Administration’s commonsense efforts to improve the portability of occupational licenses.

Finally, we are working to find the balance between families’ access to affordable, quality childcare and workforce participation. President Trump included a paid parental leave proposal in his Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 budget requests – the first time in history such a proposal was included in a budget request.

Ninety-eight years since our establishment, the Women’s Bureau remains committed to helping women thrive in the 21st century workforce.

Patricia Greene is the Director of the Women’s Bureau.

Blog Featured Image: Authors: Dr. Patricia GreeneBlog Tags: Women's Bureau (WB)apprenticeshipPaid LeaveOccupational LicensingHomepage