Labor and Industry July 2016 News

Below is a recap of recent news from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. DLI oversees the state's programs for apprenticeship, construction codes and licensing, occupational safety and health, wage and hour standards, and workers' compensation.
Recognizing symptoms, preventing heat-related illnesses
Minnesota OSHA urges caution for those working in heat, humidity

Heat stress -- resulting from a combination of internal (body) heat production and external heat exposure from the environment -- can occur year-round in foundries, kitchens or laundries, or only for a few days during the summer in almost any work setting.
It can be as much of a problem in Minnesota as in other regions of the country where high temperatures are common during the summer, because workers usually do not have the opportunity to become and stay acclimatized in Minnesota's climate, where daily high temperatures can vary up to 30 degrees from one day to the next during the summer.
To combat heat-related disorders, workers should drink enough fluids to stay properly hydrated and work at a moderate rate until they are more used to working in the heat.
PIPELINE Project receives State Government Innovation award
Dual-training, apprenticeship to be highlighted at Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota PIPELINE Project was recently awarded a 2016 State Government Innovation Award. The award recognizes "the great work of state government entities and encourages an environment of experimentation and innovation in Minnesota." The award was provided by the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Nonprofit Leadership Center.
The goal of the Minnesota PIPELINE Project is to integrate and expand the dual-training and registered apprenticeship system in Minnesota through the industry-based, employer-driven, work-based learning. Dual-training programs offer employment, education and training to deliver industry-required skills today for the high-demand, high-wage occupations of tomorrow.
Downward trend continues for number of workers' comp claims 
Annual Minnesota Workers' Compensation System Report released
The number of paid workers' compensation claims in Minnesota fell 49 percent relative to the number of employees from 1997 to 2014, according to the 2014 Minnesota Workers' Compensation System Report, just released by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).
"Again this year, medical treatment for injuries was the chief cost driver for the system, increasing annually per claim by 4.6 percent above average wages since 1997," said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner. "To curtail rising medical costs, legislation was approved in 2015 to control increases for inpatient hospital charges and our agency hopes to pass similar controls for outpatient charges during the 2017 session."
Minnesota's minimum-wage rates increase Aug. 1, 2016.
  • Large employers must pay at least $9.50 an hour (annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more).
  • Small employers must pay at least $7.75 an hour (annual gross volume of sales made or business done of less than $500,000).
  • The training wage rate is $7.75 an hour (90-day training rate paid to employees who are younger than 20 years of age).
  • The youth wage rate is $7.75 an hour (may be paid to employees younger than 18 years of age).
Storm damage? Do your homework before hiring a contractor
Whether a remodel or clean-up, DLI has resources for consumers

The Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) reminds homeowners to do their homework before hiring a building contractor after a storm ... or anytime.
"There are many companies in Minnesota that specialize in repairing roofs, siding and windows resulting from storm damage. Most of these contractors are reputable and licensed," said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner. "However, after storms, unscrupulous operators may try to take advantage of storm victims."
After neighborhoods experience a wind or hail storm, homeowners may find salespeople for these companies going door-to-door soliciting repair work.
New edition of CCLD Review sent to subscribers

CCLD ReviewA new edition of the CCLD Review -- the quarterly newsletter of DLI's Construction Codes and Licensing Division -- was recently sent to subscribers.
Some of the stories in the new edition include:
  • Building official forum draws dozens to Camp Ripley
  • Reminder:  Boiler and pressure vessel codes in effect
  • DLI electrical staff share information at Upper Midwest Expo
  • New signs warn of electric shock drowning
  • New electrical bulletins about wiring, LEDs online
  • Building Code requirements for solar panel installations
  • Plumbing:  Frequently asked questions and answers
  • And more ...
Injury, fatality investigation summaries available

Minnesota OSHA Compliance has investigated 11 fatalities since Oct. 1, 2015, the beginning of the current federal-fiscal-year.
Workplace fatality and serious-injury investigation summaries are available each month from Minnesota OSHA Compliance. The reports contain basic information about the business involved, a description of the event and the outcome of the investigation.
The summaries, plus other helpful workplace safety and health information from Minnesota OSHA, are online at
Industry-specific reports highlight importance of illness, injury recordkeeping

The Department of Labor and Industry's Research and Statistics unit has produced three industry-specific presentation reports highlighting the importance of consistent injury and illness recordkeeping in the workplace and explaining how recordkeepers in those industries can improve their skills.
The OSHA log recordkeeping system is a nationally standardized tool for understanding a workplace's injury and illness experience, for comparing it with state and national statistics and for tracking trends. Recordkeepers at the worksite provide critical information for evaluating and guiding safety and health programs in their worksite.
The most recent of the reports focuses on fabricated metal product manufacturing. In 2014, Minnesota's 1,600 fabricated metal product manufacturing facilities employed 42,500 workers and accounted for 14 percent of Minnesota's manufacturing employment; its 2,500 recorded injury and illness cases represented 19 percent of the OSHA recordable injury and illness cases in manufacturing. Two previous reports looked at recordkeeping practices in hospitals and nursing homes.
"Labor and Industry is committed to ensuring equitable, healthy and safe work and living environments in Minnesota. Through outreach, education and compliance efforts, we strive to improve the quality of life for Minnesota workers and their families."
-- DLI Commissioner Ken Peterson
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