DOL: Get a STEM Job With Less Than a 4-Year Degree

With rising cost of a 4-year degree, more people are asking: is a bachelor’s degree really worth it? The short answer is yes. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that most high-paying jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree for entry.

But there is a growing recognition that what workers really need are the right skills and credentials to fill specific jobs. To that end, more employers are creating apprenticeship programs to train employees on the job, and more workers are turning to community colleges for certificate programs or associate degrees required for certain in-demand fields.

So what are these jobs?

A number of them are in growing STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math. We’ve identified a number of STEM jobs that need less than a bachelor’s degree to get started, and also pay close to or above the median for all occupations in May 2015: $36,200.

Chart showing STEM jobs that don't need a bachelor's degree that are also growing the fastest, 2014-2024

Two different ways to look at which STEM jobs have brightest future over the next decade are to ask what jobs aregrowing the fastest (above) and will have the most openings (below). These numbers are projections calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics every few years. In both charts, we’ve included median pay as of May 2015.

Jobs that fall into both categories are web developerscomputer user support specialists and computer network support specialistscivil engineering technicians; and environmental science and protection technicians, including health.

Chart showing STEM jobs that don't need a bachelor's degree and that have the most projected openings, 2014 to 2024.


Among all STEM jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, most are likely to need an associate degree for entry, butsurveying and mapping technicians may need only a high school diploma and on-the-job training, while computer user support specialists often enter the occupation with only some college.

Photo credit: opensourceway via Foter.com /CC BY-SA


Worker Falls 22 Feet to Death, 4 Months After OSHA Cites Employer for Failing to Protect Workers On The Same Job Site

Addison,IL(WorkersCompensation.com) – Four months after federal safety investigators cited his employer for failing to provide workers with fall protection at a United Parcel Service facility in Addison, a 42-year-old employee of Material Handling Systems/MHS Technical Services, fell 22 feet to his death at the same site.

On July 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the employer for three egregious willful violations for exposing workers to falls over 6 feet, after its investigation of the Feb. 9, 2016, fatality. OSHA also cited three repeated and three serious safety violations.

As the construction industry continues to grow, falls continue to be the leading cause of death. Source: http://www.bls.gov

“A man is dead because this employer decided to break the law over and over again. Before this tragedy, OSHA cited this contractor twice for exposing workers to fall hazards, including at the same site just four months earlier,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor of Occupational Safety and Health. “OSHA is asking companies contracting with Material Handling Systems to take strong steps to ensure that this employer protects its employees, and terminate its contracts if this employer continues to violate OSHA regulations. Material Handling Systems employer must demonstrate it can work safely and stop injuring its employees.”

For more detail: Read the Full Article: Workerscompensation.com

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s North Aurora office at 630-896-8700.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visithttp://www.osha.gov.

WorkersCompensation.com, 08/02/2016.

Photo Credit: Modern Warehouse with Pallet Rack Storage System


Widened Panama Canal benefits Northwest Seaport Alliance

The Northwest Seaport Alliance reports that a new high efficiency vessel designed specifically to take advantage of the widened Panama Canal and reduce its carbon footprint arrived at The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s East Blair One terminal in Tacoma on August 10th.

The first-call visit by the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) MV Thalatta indicates the larger locks in Panama open new opportunities for both roll-on/roll-off (Ro/Ro) and container cargoes moving through the Pacific Northwest. The new locks opened in June and allow transit of much larger vessels.

“The wider Panama Canal provides our gateway with expanded capacity to global markets, particularly in Europe, the Mediterranean and South America,” said Bari Bookout, the NWSA’s chief commercial officer for non-container. “The new locks allow carriers like Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics to develop larger, more efficient vessels to meet customer demand and regulatory requirements.”

The Thalatta is the second in WWL’s High Efficiency Ro/Ro (HERO) fleet, designed to increase capacity and cargo flexibility while reducing emissions. Its sister ship, the MV Themis, is expected to visit the NWSA this fall.

At 650 feet long (200 meters) and 120 feet wide (36.5 meters), the Thalatta has capacity to transport up to 8,000 vehicles. The vessel features five liftable decks to allow for multiple configurations and a wide variety of cargoes. A shallower draft gives these ships access to a wider range of ports globally.

WWL has environmental ambitions for a zero emissions future, and the Thalatta includes several innovations to reduce fuel consumption and its environmental impact. Most notable is the new Exhaust Gas Cleaning System that ensures sulphur emissions comply with the Emissions Control Area (ECA) regulations. The system also reduces particulate emissions by 70 percent, and significantly reduces Sox, CO2 and NOx emissions.

Additionally, the vessel is significantly wider that other Ro/Ro vessels, so it requires less ballast water to maintain vessel stability. That improves vessel efficiency and reduces the environmental risk of invasive species.

WWL expects to deploy a total of eight HERO vessels before the end of 2017.

Learn more about the HERO fleet. Find additional information on the MV Thalatta.
About the East Blair One terminal

The East Blair One terminal located in The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s South Harbor is dedicated to breakbulk and Ro/Ro cargoes.

Built in 2008, the 20-acre (8.1-hectacre) terminal offers a 1,200-foot (366-meter) deep-water berth and heavy-lift pad rated at 2,000 PSF, as well as on-dock rail and excellent highway connections.

The terminal is operated by the NWSA.
About The Northwest Seaport Alliance

The Northwest Seaport Alliance is a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Combined, the ports are the fourth-largest container gateway in North America. Regional marine cargo facilities also are a major center for bulk, breakbulk, project/heavy-lift cargoes, automobiles and trucks.



Port of Seattle Announces the 2016 Education Series Tours

The Port U Adult Education Series is a unique opportunity to tour the Ship Canal, Airport, Duwamish River and the port’s industrial Cargo terminals, and get a first-hand view of your local maritime and aviation industries at work. 

Each event focuses on the port’s role in the local and regional economy and the diversity of businesses supported by the port’s infrastructure, investment and activity. 

These events, including light refreshments at each, are free and open to adults 18 years and older. Priority goes to first-time Port U registrants. Those who register will receive a confirmation and driving and parking information by email.

Download the 2016 flyer


Duwamish River 101

When: Wed., Sept 14
Check in: 3:45 p.m.
Program: 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bell Harbor Marina, Pier 66

The 5-mile-long Duwamish Waterway is important for commerce and jobs, fish and wildlife habitat, and public shoreline use areas. Learn about marine industrial commerce, the legacy of past industrial activities, fish and wildlife habitat restoration, and Superfund cleanup plans.

Partners: Lower Duwamish Waterway Group (Boeing, City of Seattle, King County, Port of Seattle), Alaska Marine Lines, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, Delta Marine Industries, Inc., and Vigor


Airport 101

When: Wed., Sept 21
Check in: 3:45 p.m.
Program: 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Sea-Tac Airport is the nation’s fastest growing airport. This will be an opportunity to meet Lance Lyttle, the airport’s new managing director. Learn about upcoming projects including the new International Arrivals Facility and Sea-Tac’s master planning effort that will define redevelopment over the next 20 years. A tour of the airport will include a visit to the south satellite’s U.S. Customs Area.

Partners: Delta Air Lines,  and U.S. Customs and Border Protection


Cargo 101

When: Wed., Sept. 28
Check in: 3:45 p.m.
Program: 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Port Headquarters, Pier 69

Tour Terminal 18 and learn about the movement of cargo from ship to truck to train. Hear longshore workers, and vessel pilots describe their roles in the supply chain and visit the BNSF intermodal rail yard to learn how shipping containers move between the port and the interior of the country.

Partners: SSA Terminals, BNSF Railway, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Puget Sound Pilots and The Northwest Seaport Alliance 


Ship Canal 101

When: Wed., Oct. 5
Check in: 3:45 p.m.
Program: 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Fishermen’s Terminal

Learn about the wide range of maritime industry businesses and support services that play a key role in making Seattle a focal point for commercial fishing, boat yards, and transportation between Alaska and the Lower 48 states. The Lake Washington Ship Canal is a bustling center of maritime activity.

Partners: Ballard Oil, Foss Maritime, Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, Western Towboat, Trident Seafoods, Coastal Transportation, and Vigor


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DOL: Protecting the Safety and Health of Poultry-Processing Workers

For some workers, a simple trip to the bathroom could result in the loss of a job.

Poultry-processing workers are sometimes disciplined for taking bathroom breaks while at work because there is no one available to fill in for them if they step away from the production line. Some workers have reported that they wear diapers and restrict liquid intake in an effort to avoid using the bathroom.

No one should have to work under these conditions. All workers have a right to a safe workplace, and that includes access to readily available sanitary restroom facilities on the job.

And we have very clear standards on this issue: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide all workers with sanitary restrooms and prompt access to the facilities when needed. Further, employers may not impose unreasonable restrictions on employee use of toilet facilities. These standards are intended to ensure that workers do not suffer adverse health effects that can result if toilets are not sanitary or are not available when needed.

Poultry processing is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States, and readily accessible restrooms is only one of many problems that workers in this industry face. OSHA has found workers exposed to serious hazards in poultry processing plants, including exposure to dangerous chemicals and biological hazards, high noise levelsunsafe equipment, and slippery floors.

Poultry workers are twice as likely to suffer serious injuries on the job as other private industry workers and almost seven times more likely to contract a work-related illness. They are also at particularly high risk of developingmusculoskeletal disorders from the repetitive motions they perform on the job, with workers twice as likely to have a severe wrist injury and seven times as likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than the average U.S. worker.

These injuries and illnesses must stop. To protect workers in poultry plants, OSHA launched regional emphasis programs targeting these facilities throughout the MidwestSouthern, and Southeast states. Our goal is to reduce injuries and illnesses through outreach and enforcement activities, such as training sessions, public service announcements and targeted, comprehensive safety and health inspections.

Learn more about our work to protect poultry processing workers.

Dr. David Michaels is the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.



Seattle Employer Fined Nearly $450,000 for Failing to Correct Workplace Hazards

A marine terminal operator in Seattle is facing a $448,200 fine from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for failing to correct serious worker health hazards for which it was previously cited. The fine is one of L&I’s largest in recent years.

In an inspection at Seattle Bulk Shipping Inc.’s Harbor Island facility, L&I found that the company failed to correct serious violations that it was cited for last year, leaving workers exposed to serious hazards for more than a year.

The company performs several operations at the facility including transferring large quantities of highly flammable ethanol fuel from rail cars to tanker trucks, loading grain on rail cars and transferring it between trucks.

L&I’s follow-up inspection found that Seattle Bulk Shipping failed to correct a “confined space” violation it was cited for in 2015. The employer did not develop an adequate confined space entry program to protect employees who work around or inside grain pits or other confined spaces. Without safety precautions, confined spaces can be deadly to workers and would-be rescuers. Failure to correct this serious violation carries a penalty of $324,000.

The company was also cited for a second violation that hadn’t been corrected for failing to provide an approved emergency eyewash station for workers who transfer ethanol from rail cars and tanker trucks. Ethanol is a strong irritant in addition to being highly flammable; without an eyewash station, workers could suffer serious eye injuries. Failure to correct this violation carries a penalty of $108,000.

The employer was cited for three additional serious violations related to emergency procedures for potential ethanol release and confined space rescue. Each of those violations has a $5,400 penalty.

L&I began investigating the company in 2014, when a worker was hospitalized after falling into an underground grain storage pit. After comprehensive safety and health inspections, the company was ultimately cited for more than 50 workplace violations and fined $424,850. Those violations are currently under appeal. The company is considered a severe violator, which means it is subject to follow-up inspections to determine if the conditions still exist.

Seattle Bulk Shipping may appeal the violations. Penalty money paid in connection with a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.



King County’s first Equity & Social Justice Strategic Plan

King County has produced a draft of it’s first strategic plan for Equity and Social Justice (ESJ). The draft plan is a blueprint for change that will guide their policies and decision-making, design and delivery of services, and workplace practices in order to advance equity and social justice within County government and in partnership with communities in the region.

Following an extensive six-month outreach effort that included over 100 community organizations prior to developing the plan and a six-month review by leaders and subject matter experts representing all County departments and agencies, the Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan has been mutually created by King County employees and community partners.

The six-year plan represents a critical opportunity for King County to do ground-breaking work by applying a theory of change that fundamentally shifts the County away from policies and practices that react to problems and crises toward investments that address the root causes of inequities, ultimately leading to better quality of life and greater prosperity in all of our communities.

The plan includes a Policy Agenda to advance equity within the next three years in the following areas:

  • Child and youth development
  • Economic Development and jobs
  • Environment and climate
  • Health and human services
  • Housing
  • Information technology
  • Justice system
  • Transportation and mobility

Read the Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan and Implementation Plan.  Please refer questions and comments about the draft plan to King County’s Office of Equity and Social Justice by August 10.

Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via Foter.com / CC BY

First Lawsuit Filed After OSHA Shuts Down Work at Fraser Shipyards Due to Toxic Lead Exposure

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from www.workerscompensation.com

Madison, WI (WorkersCompensation.com) – This morning a federal lawsuit (Case Number: 16 cv 343) was filed in Madison, Wisconsin by James Holder, a 48-year-old welder and ship fabricator who was exposed to critically high and toxic levels of lead while working at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin. This is the first reported lawsuit to have been filed for the toxic lead exposure that occurred earlier this year at Fraser Shipyards, which was widely reported in the media in March of 2016 when OSHA shut down the worksite because of the toxic levels of lead that were present. The lawsuit names as defendants Fraser Shipyards, Inc., Northern Engineering Company LLC, and Ohio based Interlake Steamship Company, who were in charge of the retrofitting work being performed on the Herbert C. Jackson, a 690′ bulk carrier ship undergoing dry-dock work at Fraser Shipyards.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Holder was amongst dozens of workers who had started retrofitting work in January of 2016 aboard the 57 year-old vessel when they were exposed to toxic levels of lead. The lawsuit alleges that as the project progressed, workers began to make complaints of unusual illnesses afflicting them, but were falsely reassured by the defendants that there was "nothing to be concerned about." Workers continued to fall ill until OSHA ordered a halt to all work aboard the vessel in March. In Mr. Holder’s case, the levels of lead in his blood were more than 7 times the level recognized by…

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Judge orders Federal Way, WA Woman to Repay Nearly $25,000 in Workers’ Comp Scam

DLI News Release:

A Federal Way, WA woman who worked full time as a nanny while claiming she was too disabled to work pleaded guilty to felony theft.

Yurizan Cuevas, 33, was ordered to repay the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) $24,847, the amount she received in wage-replacement payments over a period of almost two years. King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller also sentenced Cuevas to 20 days in jail, which was converted to 160 hours of community service.

Cuevas, who’s also known as Yurizan Cuevas Nava, pleaded guilty at the hearing this week to second-degree theft.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case based on an L&I investigation.

Injured in workplace robbery

Cuevas was a baker and cashier at a cafe in the White Center neighborhood of Seattle when it was robbed in November 2010. While running from the robber, she hit a wall and injured her back.

Health care providers verified Cuevas couldn’t work because of injuries from the incident, allowing her to receive wage-replacement payments from L&I. 

An L&I investigation later revealed, however, that Cuevas worked full time as a nanny, earning an estimated $3,200 a month for nearly two years starting in September 2011. According to charging papers, she also worked six weeks in 2011 as a house cleaner for another employer — performing both jobs while stating on official forms that she could not work because of her injuries.

In an interview with an L&I investigator, Cuevas acknowledged that she worked as a housekeeper and said she babysat for just a few days. But when confronted with timesheets, charging papers said, Cuevas admitted she served as a nanny from the time her charge was three months old to two years old. She’s accused of stealing more than $24,800 in wage-replacement checks from the state.


Photo credit: Jason L. Parks via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND



Cutting Corners in Construction Costs Lives

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from blog.dol.gov

an image of the collapsed parking garage
an image of the collapsed parking garage

In the construction industry, precision matters – corners need to be square, lines have to be level and plans must be followed. Following the rules keeps buildings and people safe. But when construction companies cut corners, workers often pay the price.

That is exactly what happened in Jacksonville, Florida, in December 2007. A construction company called Southern Pan thought eliminating basic safety procedures would save time and money. The result? A six-story parking garage came crashing down, killing one worker and injuring 20 others. The worker who was killed, Willie Edwards, was only there that day because he decided to pick up an extra shift to buy Christmas presents for his children.

This horrific tragedy could have been easily avoided.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces construction standards designed to keep workers safe from building collapses like this. To keep a building from collapsing during construction, a process called “shoring” is used, which involves wood or steel beams to help support the weight of concrete and other construction loads.

In violation of OSHA’s construction standards, Southern Pan chose to remove most of the shores from the first two floors of the parking garage, ignoring blueprints that required all shoring to remain from top to bottom until the building was completed. The company then knowingly permitted workers, including Edwards, to work in the…

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Published by Causey Law Firm