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Fargo window manufacturer earns ‘Star’ level designation for exemplary workplace safety, health programs WHO:                         Marvin

                                  Fargo, North Dakota


WHAT:                      Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program

                                  Star Level Designation

BACKGROUND: The company earned recognition for their commitment to safety and health programs leading to designation as Star Level VPP site. Marvin employs about 680 workers at its Fargo plant that manufactures custom windows. Based in Warroad, Minnesota, Marvin is a family owned business with more than 7,000 employees in 16 North American cities. 

OSHA initially approved the Fargo facility as a VPP site in June 2004. The Marvin organization has eight sites in the program.

The VPP evaluation team found the Fargo site has an exceptional orientation program that includes a weeklong training process at a hands-on onsite learning lab that focuses on tool safety and ergonomics. Additionally, ergonomic controls such as lift, turn and rotate tables are used in the plant’s manufacturing processes.

“The employees of Marvin in Fargo work within a very structured and highly effective safety and health management system. A high level of employee engagement and management commitment drive continuous improvements and long-term success workplace safety,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Jennifer S. Rous in Denver. “The site has an excellent training program, and their efforts to address ergonomics are admirable. Star Level designation in the Voluntary Protection Program is the highest safety achievement a company can earn from OSHA. Marvin’s commitment to employee safety and health is very evident at all levels of this workplace.”

OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs recognize and promote effective worksite-based safety and health management systems. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented comprehensive safety and health management systems. Approval into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have created exemplary worksite safety and health management systems. 

Learn more about OSHA.

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US Department of Labor recovers $104K for Tulsa-area security workers after investigation finds employer misclassified workers TULSA, OK – A federal investigation into the pay practices of a Tulsa security company has recovered $103,979, in back wages for 55 current and former employees denied their rights to overtime pay for hours over 40 in a workweek.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined that PHD Security Services LLLP employed security guards up to 45 hours per workweek without paying time and one-half the required rate of pay when the law requires. The division learned that the employer misunderstood its obligation and operated under an inaccurate belief about an industry standard and without regard to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Employers must understand who is, and who isn’t an employee to avoid misclassifying employees as independent contractors. When a perceived industry standard is contrary to the law, employers must follow the law and correctly pay workers minimum wage and overtime,” explained Wage and Hour District Director Michael Speer in Oklahoma City. “The Wage and Hour Division routinely provides assistance and training to help employers understand and comply with federal labor laws and avoid the costly consequences of violations.”

In fiscal year 2021, the division identified more than $6 million in back wages owed to more than 5,300 guard services workers. In its investigations, the division commonly finds violations related to employers failing to pay overtime when required, misclassifying workers as independent contractors and not paying them for time spent on work-related travel, or pre- and post-shift work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in protective service occupations is projected to grow 2 percent from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations; though slow, the increase is expected to result in about 72,600 new jobs over the decade. The median annual wage for this group was $46,590 in May 2021, which was slightly higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $45,760.

“As employers continue to struggle to find the people they need to operate their businesses, those who fail to respect workers’ rights, including their right to receive their full wages, will find it more difficult to retain and recruit workers than those employers who do,” Speer said.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. The division protects workers regardless of immigration status and can communicate with workers in more than 200 languages.

Download the agency’s new Timesheet App Timesheet App for Android devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

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US Department of Labor obtains judgment to recover $9.3M in back wages, damages for 1,756 workers misclassified by Philadelphia staffing company PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment that will recover $9.3 million in back wages and liquidated damages for 1,756 employees of a Philadelphia healthcare staffing company that misclassified them and willfully denied their hard-earned overtime pay.

Obtained by the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Philadelphia on Sept. 26, 2022, the judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania requires U.S. Medical Staffing Inc. to pay $4,650,000, in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, and a civil money penalty of $700,000, for the willful nature of its violations. The action follows a complaint the department filed on Sept. 2, 2022.

“This consent judgment makes clear to all healthcare industry employers that just like U.S. Medical Staffing, they will be held accountable when they fail to pay employees their legally earned wages,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “The U.S. Department of Labor is prepared to use every tool available, including litigation, to prevent employers from violating workers’ rights.”

The judgment follows an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found – from at least Sept. 24, 2017, through at least May 22, 2022 – the employer willfully denied the affected employees their overtime pay. The division determined U.S. Medical Staffing paid the employees straight time for all hours worked and failed to pay time and one-half the required rate for hours over 40 in a workweek, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, in some cases, investigators determined that the employer claimed falsely to be a registry through which the company’s clients solely employed the workers. In other cases, U.S. Medical Staffing misclassified employees as independent contractors.

U.S. Medical Staffing provides staff to various agencies, including schools and group homes for individuals with disabilities. The employees worked in numerous occupations, including direct support and intellectual disabilities professionals, residential aides, personal care assistants, home health aides and licensed practical nurses. 

Following the division’s investigation, the department’s Office of the Solicitor engaged in months of negotiation with U.S. Medical Staffing, after which the employer agreed to the complaint’s filing and a consent judgment.

“Too often we find workers denied wage protections, such as the right to overtime pay and other benefits, by employers who misclassify them as independent contractors,” said Wage and Hour Principal Deputy Administrator Jessica Looman. “The Wage and Hour Division will hold employers accountable when they misclassify employees to cut labor costs and gain an unfair advantage over the competition.”

The division’s Philadelphia District Office conducted the investigation. Senior Trial Attorney Andrea Luby with the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Philadelphia filed the complaint and secured the consent judgment.

In fiscal year 2021, the division recovered $13.8 million in back wages for more than 17,000, workers in the healthcare industry, where low wages and high rates of violations are common. As the U.S. population ages and demand for home healthcare services increases, employment in a variety of healthcare sectors is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030 – faster than the average for all occupations – adding about 2.6 million new jobs.  

“As employers struggle to find the people they need to operate their businesses, those who ignore workers’ rights to full wages and benefits are likely to struggle to retain and recruit workers,” added Looman. “Employers who abide by the law will certainly have a greater appeal than those who do not.”

U.S. Medical Staffing Inc. provides mental health, behavioral health and school staffing to clients throughout Pennsylvania in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia counties.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions or concerns – regardless of where you are from – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free.

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El Departamento de Trabajo de EEUU y el Consulado de México en Little Rock renuevan el acuerdo para ayudar a los trabajadores migrantes de la región a conocer sus derechos legales. Lisa Kelly, de la División de Horas y Salarios de la oficina de Nashville y Carlos I. Giralt Cabrales del Consulado de México en Little Rock se unen a Michael Speer y Hanz Grünauer de la división para renovar una alianza para proteger a los trabajadores mexicanos.

Participantes:  División de Horas y Salarios del Departamento de Trabajo de EE. UU.


Consulado de México en Little Rock

Descripción del acuerdo: La División de Horas y Salarios y el Consulado de México han renovado un acuerdo existente para proporcionar información, guía y acceso a la capacitación de derechos laborales para trabajadores hispanohablantes en Arkansas, Oklahoma y Tennessee.

Renovado el 2 de septiembre de 2022, durante la Semana de los derechos laborales nacional, el acuerdo de tres años busca reducir infracciones al localizar y educar a los trabajadores en riesgo y con salarios bajos sobre sus derechos y protecciones otorgadas por la Ley de Protección de Trabajadores Migrantes y Temporales en la Agricultura y la Ley de Normas Justas de Trabajo, incluidas las responsabilidades de los empleadores para pagar los salarios obligatorios por ley.

Contexto: El acuerdo es una relación cooperativa para proporcionar capacitación, educación y divulgación, y para promover el diálogo sobre las leyes y normas que aplica la División de Horas y Salarios. En conjunto, la agencia y el consulado coordinarán oportunidades para alcanzar a los trabajadores mexicanos en la región de tres estados con información sobre los derechos y protecciones en el lugar de trabajo.

Cita: “El conocimiento es crucial para la capacidad de los trabajadores para comprender sus derechos y buscar asistencia para asegurar que se protejan estos derechos. Al renovar nuestro acuerdo con el Consulado de México, continuaremos proporcionando asistencia a los trabajadores mexicanos y empleadores en la región”, dijo el Director del distrito de la División de Horas y Salarios, Hanz Grünauer en Little Rock, Arkansas. “Los esfuerzos detallados en este acuerdo demuestran nuestro compromiso con los trabajadores migrantes y que hablan español”.

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Demolition company in fatal Government Center garage collapse in Boston faces nearly $1.2M in fines for willfully exposing workers to hazards BOSTON – A heavy equipment operator doing demolition on the eighth floor of the Government Center garage in downtown Boston died on March 26, 2022, when the partially demolished floor collapsed, and the 11,000-pound excavator and its operator fell 80 feet. It was the employee’s first day on the job.

An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Brockton-based contractor JDC Demolition Company. Inc. failed to adequately train its workers on the demolition plan and safety management system to help them recognize and avoid unsafe conditions.

Specifically, on the morning of the collapse, another heavy equipment operator, who had started demolition on a concrete beam on an upper floor bay, told the foreman they had concerns about the floor’s safety. Despite the employee raising safety concerns to the foreman, a second employee was assigned to operate the excavator. That worker, the deceased, never received a safety briefing and was not trained to follow the engineer’s demolition plan.

OSHA also found that JDC Demolition deviated from the demolition plan by imposing unsafe loads, in the form of heavy equipment, on the partially demolished seventh, eighth and ninth floors. The demolition plan prohibited the placement of heavy equipment on partially demolished floor bays.​

As a result, OSHA cited the company for eight egregious-willful violations, two serious violations and one other than serious violation of workplace safety standards and proposed a total of $1,191,292 in penalties. The willful citations address the training and loading violations; the serious and other than serious violations are regarding the inadequate accident prevention program, uncovered floor holes and insufficient recordkeeping.

View the JDC Demolition Company Inc. citations.

“JDC Demolition Company Inc. knew the heavy equipment on the partially demolished floors were over the weight limits and still allowed a worker, unaware of the hazards, to do demolition work,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton in Boston. “This willful and egregious disregard for safety cost a workers’ life and exposed other employees to potentially fatal hazards.”

OSHA also cited John Moriarty and Associates Inc., the demolition  project’s general contractor, for four serious violations, with $58,008 in proposed penalties, for failing to ensure that:

Partially demolished precast concrete floors were of sufficient strength to support the imposed load of mechanical equipment.
Employees were trained to recognize and avoid overloading of floors during demolition.
Cover or secure floor holes.
A competent person had adequately inspected the jobsite during demolition.

View the John Moriarty and Associates Inc. citations.

Both employers have 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Learn more about OSHA, demolition, cleanup and controlling silica dust when using heavy equipment and utility vehicles used during demolition activities.

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