FedEx Ground Vice President Nominated to Head OSHA

President Donald Trump nominated Scott Mugno, Vice President for Safety, Sustainability, and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as Assistant Secretary of Labor and head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

According to his profile from a White House press release, Mr. Mugno was also Managing Director for FedEx Express Corporate Safety, Health and Fire Protection in Memphis, Tennessee. In both of his FedEx positions, he managed the safety and health program and culture of the organization and received the FedEx Five Star Award twice for his safety leadership.

Before joining FedEx, he was Division Counsel at Westinghouse Electric Corporation’s Waste Isolation Division, and Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the Eastern Region U.S. Army Military Traffic Management Command.

Mr. Mugno is an alumnus of Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas, and of St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York.

Three Goals of DOL’s Draft of ‘Strategic Plan’ for FY 2018-2022

The Department of Labor (DOL) has launched a draft of a strategic plan for fiscal years 2018 to 2022 as part of President Trump’s objective to provide jobs to American workers.

The plan outlines three strategic goals:

  • Support the ability of all Americans to find good jobs
  • Safe jobs and fair workplaces for all Americans
  • Promote strong workers’ compensation and benefits programs

The plan complies with the requirements of the Government Performance Results Act Modernization Act and serves as the basis of the DOL’s planning and budget activities.

According to DOL Secretary R. Alexander Acosta, the plan reflects President Trump’s top priorities of providing jobs, more jobs, and even more jobs.

In the Secretary’s Message section, Secretary Acosta notes that though there are over six million job openings in the United States, a skills gap exists, leaving too many jobs open. This gap must be closed, says the secretary, and such is the objective of President Trump’s executive order expanding apprenticeships in America.

Download the strategic plan.

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Report Highlights Vulnerability of Temporary Workers in Pennsylvania

Three law students from Temple University in Philadelphia published a report that explores the extent temporary workers in Pennsylvania face safety hazards in the workplace.

Seeking to obtain a more comprehensive understanding about temp workers’ in the state, they gathered government data, interviewed workers and advocates and analyzed applicable laws and policies.

Here are some of the highlights of their report “Pennsylvania in Jeopardy: The Hidden Problem of Temporary Employment”:

  • Staffing agencies are increasingly placing temp workers in blue-collar jobs, especially in the production and transportation sectors.
  • Fifty-eight percent of temp workers are low-wage workers.
  • Temp workers earn less than direct-hire workers in comparable jobs.
  • Local ‘mom and pop’ staffing agencies frequently target vulnerable ethnic minorities.

According to the report, these workers face safety hazards due to inadequate training, fear of reporting hazards as nonpermanent employees, and the shift of shouldering workers’ compensation to staffing organizations.

In addition to these vulnerabilities, temporary workers face financial harm because host employers turn a blind eye towards staffing agencies that don’t pay the workers minimum or overtime wages. Furthermore, the temporary workers themselves know little about compensation laws or the agency that hired them which hinders their ability to complain.

Read the full report.

Download FREE Report: New Strategies to Prevent and Treat MSDs

The Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) released a report outlining new strategies to manage musculoskeletal disorders. The strategies include ergonomics, joint-friendly workplace design, onsite physical therapy, and value-based surgical approaches designed to maximize outcomes at lower cost.

The strategies fall under a pyramid that includes prevention, non-surgical interventions for acute and chronic pain, and surgery. For each part of the pyramid, the report features case studies that identify the problem, intervention, barriers, and outcomes.

The results show declining MSD rates and/or increased savings in varying degrees.

The report is based on a roundtable, convened by the NEBGH, that features benefits managers from 20 national and global self-insured employers and other stakeholders.

Download report.

NIOSH Launches Robotics Center

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) launched The Center for Occupational Robotics Research, which aims to assess potential benefits and risks of robot workers and develop guidance for safe interactions between human and robot.

According to NIOSH, there have been 61 robot-related workplace deaths between 1992 and 2015. The risk of such fatalities may increase in the future, since more industrial robots are being used in workplaces, and the Center aims to help manage, if not prevent these deaths.

The NIOSH center fills in a gap in safety research as little government guidance or policy exists regarding the safe integration of robots into the workplace. To perform its mandate, the center will partner with the academe, industry, and government, including an alliance with OSHA and the Robotics Industry Association.

Read the press release or visit the website of Center for Occupational Robotics Research.

On-the-Job Learning Can Reduce Workplace Stress

Learning something new on the job helps reduce stress-induced workplace deviant behavior, according to a study by University of Michigan researchers.

In a press release announcing the research findings, workplace deviance was defined as employee behavior such as taking company property, acting rudely, or discussing confidential information inappropriately that threatens the well-being of the organization.

The findings of the study indicate that on-the-job learning was more effective than relaxation in reducing stress-induced behaviors. Relaxation is useful in helping employees reduce fatigue or to calm the mind. But when it comes to applying it to the workplace deviance issues, managers and employees may not find it useful.

Read the press release.

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