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Workplace Issues Today: New labor chief continues fight against workplace injuries

After less than a year in office, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has already made good on her promise to crack down on rates of workplace injuries and fatalities. In October, she levied the largest OSHA fine ever given against BP for failure to improve safety procedures since its 2005 Texas explosion. In December she hired 250 new workplace investigators to deal with wage and overtime cheats and started a committee to review workplace safety reports for accuracy. This fiscal year has already seen citations for six major violations – only four were recorded in the entire previous year. The National Federation of Independent Business’ is not entirely happy with Solis’ methods, saying that they prefer to work more cooperatively, in a ‘compliance assistance’ relationship instead of an aggressive ‘gotcha’ situation. For 2010, Solis has named over 90 regulations and laws that will be examined, including some regulating workers’ knowledge of the pay process, employer and anti-union regulations, etc.

See “’New sheriff’ moves quickly on job safety,” by Sam Hananel, Houston Chronicle, The Associated Press, Jan 05 2010 (JKW)

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