Labor and Industry News November 2016

Greetings! 
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.
 
 
National Apprenticeship Week is Nov. 14 through 20, 2016
 
Read the new edition of our Apprenticeship Works newsletter
National Apprenticeship Week offers business, labor, education, workforce and community leaders throughout Minnesota and the U.S. the opportunity to highlight successes and share their support for registered apprenticeship.
 
Share your National Apprenticeship Week activities
Join the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry in celebrating National Apprenticeship Week by hosting an open house and showcasing your apprentices and apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship events are planned throughout the week in all parts of our state, contact Rick Martagon at rick.martagon@state.mn.us or (651) 284-5345 to share your event plans.
 
Expansion of apprenticeship receives $1.5 million boost

APEX initiative

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) a $1.5 million grant to fund its Apprenticeship Expansion (APEX) initiative, an effort to support the expansion of registered apprenticeship in construction to minorities and women through greater construction-employer engagement, statewide promotion and apprenticeship readiness.

 

"A well-prepared and highly skilled workforce is essential to Minnesota's economic future," said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner.

 

The APEX initiative will engage construction employers, building trades unions, educators and workforce intermediaries to expand apprenticeship recruiting and retention strategies.

 

 
Minnesota OSHA standards update:  respirable crystalline silica
 
Standard effective September 2016 in Minnesota
The Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica; Final Rule, was published in the March 25, 2016, Federal Register, by federal OSHA. The final rule amends the existing standards for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica, including establishing a new permissable exposure limit of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air as an eight-hour, time-weighted average in all industries covered by the rule. It also includes several provisions designed to protect employees, such as requirements for exposure assessment, methods for controlling exposure, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, hazard communication and recordkeeping.
 
The final rule was effective June 23, 2016, at the federal level, with start-up dates for specific provisions set in 1910.1053(l) and 1926.1153(k). Minnesota OSHA Compliance adopted the final rule Sept. 26, 2016.
 
 
Women's Economic Security Act annual report released

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is responsible for the enforcement of five provisions of the Women's Economic Security Act (WESA). WESA is a comprehensive employee protection law designed to protect and promote opportunities for women in the workplace.
 
The five provisions of the law enforced by DLI are:
  1. Wage Disclosure Protection Act;
  2. Pregnancy Accommodation;
  3. Pregnancy and Parental Leave;
  4. Nursing Mothers' Accommodations; and
  5. Sick Leave Benefits; Care of Relatives.
 
DLI enforces employee rights under WESA through investigation of employee complaints, on-site visits to employer establishments and employer/employee outreach about the laws' rights and responsibilities.
 
DLI's annual WESA report provides DLI investigative data and outcomes related to its enforcement.
 
Building a garage, porch or re-roofing your house?
DLI's fact sheets offer details ranging from permits to footing requirements

garage
If you're considering building a new garage, adding on a porch or re-roofing your house, DLI can offer assistance with a trio of fact sheets.
 
These overview guides can help you start researching permit requirements, applicable building codes, required inspections and more. They include sample floor plans often required for local building permits and additional illustrations explaining common construction requirements.
 
Minnesota workplace injury rate sets another new all-time low
 
Minnesota's estimated workplace injury and illness rate for 2015 decreased to its lowest rate since measurement started in 1973. 
 
According to the annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the state had an estimated 3.5 OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers in 2015. The estimated rate was 3.7 cases per 100 FTE workers in 2014 and 3.9 in both 2013 and 2012.
 
The survey estimated Minnesota had 75,000 workers with OSHA-recordable nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2015, compared to 78,700 estimated cases for 2014.
 
Injury, fatality investigation summaries available
 
Minnesota OSHA Compliance has investigated two fatalities during federal-fiscal-year 2017, which began Oct. 1, 2016, and ends Sept. 30, 2017.
 
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 www.dli.mn.gov/OSHA/Information.asp.
 
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.
 
After neighborhoods experience a flood, wind or hail storm, homeowners may find salespeople for these companies going door to door soliciting repair work. DLI has resources available to help consumers choose a contractor for a repair or remodel.
"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
Contact DLI