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Welcome to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Online Newsletter



September 2014

What’s the Latest?

NewsmakersSCREENGRAB Wage theft grabbed headlines in Kentucky in connection with Labor Day.  Wage theft in Kentucky is more than double all robberies combined each year in the Commonwealth. Read how the Labor Cabinet collects an average of $4.5 million each year for more than 12,200 hard-working Kentuckians.




 Rep. Rocky Adkins joined members of the Labor Cabinet to stress the importance of giving to great causes such as KECC. The House Majority Floor Leader told his own story of survival.



  Teal Ribbon September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and teal is the deal when it comes to awareness. Visit www.ovarian.org for more information. This edition’s featured Labor Cabinet employee is facing her own battle with ovarian cancer.





Apprenticeship Conference logo SMALL Coming up in October, get ready for the 2014 Registered Apprenticeship Conference. The conference is at the picturesque General Butler State Park near Carrollton on Oct 15-17. Read the agenda and sign up now.



kyhealthnow LOGO

 Health of all Kentuckians is a top priority for the Commonwealth. Your health isn’t just important to you, but the people who care about you. Did you know rye bread can be better for you than wheat? Read about that and more in this edition’s health tips.




 Rocky at Carhartt Governor’s Safety and Health Awards:

 Big Rivers Sebree Station, Carhartt in Edmonton, PIC Group, Algood, Concept Packaging, DuPont Louisville, AGC Automotive, Raytheon, Pennyrile Rural Electric, and West Side Wastewater all grabbed headlines for safety.




Crane Composites Pic 1

Crane Composites joined an elite group of safety-minded companies by earning SHARP status. See how the Northern Kentucky company stands out among thousands of other companies in Kentucky.







Codell Construction has signed a construction partnership agreement for Centre Meadows Apartments in Lexington, which includes 11 buildings and 206 units. Read why this is so important to a Kentucky company.


Past Editions

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Here’s a look at the stories from the previous editions:

Click each picture for the article.

Etown Standdown PIC 1

The Labor Cabinet travelled to several construction sites across Kentucky as part of the 2014 National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction. Click to read why this was so important — and how dangerous falls are in Kentucky.






Why buy something you can get for nothing? That’s the question the Labor Cabinet wanted to get out to all employers in Kentucky. Newspapers, radio and television stations across the state (as well as other states) covered the details of how free posters are being sold for big bucks.




SHARPS National Office FurnitureA Danville manufacturing facility does more than make great furniture — it also has a tremendous dedication to safety. Read how one company is now part of an elite list in the Commonwealth.





WKYTgraphicThe Kentucky Labor Cabinet looked at workplace deaths from 2011 to present. WKYT was one of several news outlets to cover the story and spread awareness about the importance of safety on the job. Click here to learn more and watch WKYT’s story.




MissyJohsonDedicated and determined are just two words that come to mind when describing Missy Johnson. But after 27 years with the Labor Cabinet, one word sums up her secret for success.






RockyForkliftSafetyDayThey look easy to drive, but forklifts account for an average of three deaths and 130 workplace injuries every year in Kentucky. See how Gov. Steve Beshear and the Labor Cabinet worked with one Kentucky company to shine a light on the subject.






 $600 million is up for grabs in competitive grants for community colleges and other public, proprietary or nonprofit educational institutions. The Labor Cabinet is urging eligible agencies to take part in targeted training and apprenticeship programs to help people land good-paying jobs.




WHAS at Fall tower lessonThe 30th annual Governor’s Safety and Health Conference was a success, with more than 50 companies recognized for their dedication to safety. Conference participants took part in courses and workshops focusing on state of the art techniques, current issues, and trends in workplace safety and health.




Commonwealth CPP signing PIC 1

It’s a project every University of Kentucky football fan should enjoy: The renovation of Commonwealth Stadium. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet kicked off the partnership with construction companies Skanska USA and Congleton-Hacker in order to help identify workplace hazards.




Cintas in Daily Ind

Read all about it! Cintas in Ashland is grabbing headlines for its dedication to safety. See how the company has earned Kentucky’s highest safety honor.








Ahead of a national safety stand-down to prevent falls in construction, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet pushed for awareness about the number one construction accident. See how falls stand out as the number one construction hazard in Kentucky and across the nation.





To earn SHARP status, Cintas Document Management in Lexington paid a lot of attention to detail. But the hard work paid off, and the employees are safer because of it.



bigRiversTSEWith 33 previous Governor’s Safety and Health Awards throughout the years, Big Rivers is making a name for itself when it comes to safety. This latest honor is one the corporation hopes will continue the tradition.



Coming up: Labor Cabinet employees are invited to an employee day on July 23.  There will be a free lunch and health fair from 11 am until about 2 pm. The event will count as work time, so it’s a great chance to get out of the office and enjoy the fresh air at Juniper Hills Park in Frankfort. More details will be on the way!



April 2014:

Governor safety and health conf banner

Exercise Safety for a Healthy Workforce —  Upcoming conference puts emphasis on safety, health and wellness at work. Read how you can get signed up to attend.



April Madbak sits at her desk at the Kentucky Labor Cabinet

Featured Employee: April Madbak – When it comes to purchasing items for the Labor Cabinet, April Madbak is always looking for the best deal. When it comes to her family, she is the real deal. See why family is so important to April.



Dyno Nobel PICOne Million Reasons to Celebrate – The same guy who invented dynamite also created the most famous peace prize in history: The Nobel Prize. As the founder of Dyno Nobel, Alfred Nobel certainly would be proud of the safety record at the company’s facility in Graham, Kentucky. Watch news coverage about the event.



Left to right: Secretary Larry Roberts, Shannon Couch, Steven Fields, Kaycie Len Sparrow, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson

Labor Cabinet Employees save Taxpayers Thousands – The old saying is a penny saved is a penny earned, but the cost-saving ideas from a group of employees with the Labor Cabinet combined to save Kentucky taxpayers a fortune. Read how their ideas paid big dividends.




DCIM103GOPROThe ‘Hole’ Picture: Staying Safe at the Corvette Museum – Every worksite is different, but it’s not every day you deal with a 40-foot sinkhole. That’s just the case for workers at the National Corvette Museum. Read how the Labor Cabinet is helping with the project.



Labor’s Leading Ladies – March was Women’s History Month, and the Labor Cabinet has strong ties to groundbreaking women. Take a look at the leading ladies of the Labor Cabinet and other important women in Kentucky’s history.



kenergy logoPutting Energy into Safety – Serving the electricity needs of 55,000 homes and businesses in 14 counties is no small task, but one Kentucky company is keeping the lights on — and doing it safely. Read how Kenergy is being recognized for its dedication to safety.


February 2014:

WolfCreekDamWorkersTSJVStaying Safe While Making History — Wolf Creek Dam Contractor Treviicos-Soletanche Joint Venture earned the Governor’s Safety and Health Award by going more than 1.3 million hours without a lost-time incident. The project was the first of its kind in the history of the world. Read how Kentucky workers led an international effort.


WLKY's Natalie Grise reports on the Workplace Violence Safety Day
Workplace Violence Safety Day — More than 300 participants from all over the Commonwealth learned about workplace violence prevention at a special conference in Louisville. Watch news coverage from WLKY’s Natalie Grise.


Brian Black
 Featured Employee: Fade to Black — Brian Black is one example of the many talented people at the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. Read how Brian had a chart-climbing single in the music world.


Raising the Minimum Wage: What it means for Kentucky — A new bill would increase the minimum wage in Kentucky from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 over three years. See what people are saying and look at how it impacts the Commonwealth.


GovBeshear_5x7 Two-year Spending Plan Means Cuts and Raises — Governor Beshear has outlined his proposal for the budget, and it includes cut to several agencies, including the Labor Cabinet, as well as raises for state workers. Read the proposed changes.



GovMansionBeautyModernThe Governor’s Mansion: A Century of History — On January 20, 1914, Kentucky’s governor held a grand reception to honor the newly-built executive residence. The governor at the time was a Civil War veteran, and the nation itself was on the brink of World War I. Despite the troubled times, the Governor’s Mansion was a symbol of pride and accomplishment for all of Kentucky. Read how the Commonwealth is celebrating the 100-year mark.



A silent, invisible killer: carbon monoxide poisoning  — Wintry weather means an increased chance of cases involving carbon monoxide poisoning, which can occur in a matter of a few moments. See who is at risk and how to prevent it.


An important message for employers — Reporting new hires is the law. Read about your requirements and why it’s important.


Courtesy: Winchester Sun
Picture Courtesy: Winchester Sun


Leggett & Platt in Winchester Earns Governor’s Safety and Health Award — Honor recognizes the bedding industry company’s more than 584,205 hours without a lost-time accident or illness. Read how Leggett & Platt’s tradition continues to grow




RiverMetalsRiver Metals Recycling Earns SHARP Status for Excellence in Safety and Health — River Metals Recycling LLC (RMR) in Newport earned a plaque and a flag signifying the company’s certification under the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). See why this is rare



Screen-Shot-Silicosis Danger From Thin Air: Silicosis — The disease is nothing new, but the danger is as real as ever. In 1938, the U.S. Dept. of Labor released a video on the dangers of Silicosis. Although tremendous progress has been made since the video was produced, evidence indicates that a substantial number of workers still suffer from silica-related diseases. Watch the video.


Recordkeeping FILESRecordkeeping Reminder — Employers with ten or more employees are required to keep injury and illness information, except those employers that have an exempted Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. Employers must review 2013 injury and illness information by the end of January and post the Form 300A in the workplace beginning February 1 through April 30, 2014. Click here for more information



Upcoming Events —  Lunch for Labor Cabinet Employees on Feb. 20. Read more about an employee recognition day planned for the summer

December 2013:


Sec. Perez at FORDLabor and Management: Working Together to Escape Troubled Times — U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez visits Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant and sees how the company went from a time of severe struggles to thriving success. Read how Ford did it




Fran Davis Wins International Award — The Labor Cabinet’s Fran Davis was honored at the latest IAIABC President’s Award Ceremony. Read more about her international honor



Student TRACK

High School Students Get on TRACK with Manufacturing –The TRACK program, which stands for Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky, is a pilot partnership between the Office of Career and Technical Education and The Kentucky Labor Cabinet. The goal is to provide pre-apprenticeship opportunities to secondary students. Read how high school technology centers in Kentucky are utilizing the program






A Shining Star for Safety: Kimberly-Clark — It’s the highest safety honor a company can receive in Kentucky: the Voluntary Protection Partnership Star. Read what the award represents and how much work goes into the process




Kentucky Labor Cabinet Announces Partnership for Ohio River Bridges in Louisville — The Kentucky Labor Cabinet is working with two construction teams to help put safety first for the Ohio River Bridges project. Read more on Kentucky’s largest current transportation infrastructure improvement




Featured Employee — Learn how Jeff Wiley started at the Cabinet, how times have changed since he began, and what he’s doing now as a challenge to himself. Read about Jeff




Electric keeps the lights on

Big Rivers Electric Headquarters Earns Governor’s Safety and Health Award  —  After a half a million work hours without a lost-time incident, the member-owned cooperative adds another honor to a growing list. See how the tradition is growing



Kentucky Labor Cabinet Encourages Retailers to Follow Crowd Management Guidelines — The Labor Cabinet urges employers to identify and eliminate work-related hazards and implement crowd management planning ahead of events that are likely to draw large crowds, such as sales events during the holiday shopping season.  Read more on what retailers can do to improve safety



December Deadline for GHS Training — All employees who could be exposed to chemicals are required by law to be trained on the label elements and safety data sheet format of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). See how this affects nearly every industry









Kentucky Apprenticeship Conference Comes to General Butler State Park on Oct. 15-17

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To register for the conference, click here

Conference includes leaders in business, education, government and labor

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 1, 2014) – For the first time ever, the Kentucky Apprenticeship Conference will be held at General Butler State Park in Carrollton on Oct. 15-17. Leaders from business, education, government and labor backgrounds will attend the conference, which the Kentucky Labor Cabinet sponsors.

“This conference is so beneficial in the increasingly important area of registered apprenticeship, which helps companies fill their need for highly-skilled workers, and allows people to find high-paying careers,” said Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry L. Roberts. “Apprenticeship itself has been around for centuries, but the modern demand for qualified workers in industries such as manufacturing, construction, welding, pipefitting and others continues to grow every day.”

In addition to Secretary Roberts, John Ladd, administrator of the Office of Apprenticeship for the U.S. Department of Labor, is part of the high-profile agenda for the conference. Other speakers include Beth Brinly, commissioner of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and Mike Donta, deputy commissioner of Workplace Standards and supervisor of Apprenticeship with the Labor Cabinet.

The conference will include several seminars on key topics related to apprenticeship issues, such as establishing and maintaining a registered apprenticeship program, tips for grant writing, and making the most of related classroom instruction. Also, there will be presentations on the Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) program, an overview of the Labor Cabinet’s online learning programs, and an open forum on all aspects of apprenticeship.

For a look at the conference’s complete agenda, click here.

To register for the conference, click here or visit www.labor.ky.gov.

“The conference provides a great opportunity for people interested in starting an apprenticeship program or growing and expanding an existing one,” said Angie College, conference organizer and chairperson of the Kentucky Apprenticeship Steering Committee. “This is a chance to learn about the exciting things that are happening in the world of apprenticeship, such as how to take advantage of the millions of dollars in federal grants that are becoming available later this year.”

This fall, the U.S. Department of Labor is making $100 million in existing funds available for American Apprenticeship Grants to reward partnerships that help more workers participate in apprenticeships. Earlier this year, President Obama announced new federal investments using existing funds to support job-driven training, like apprenticeships, that will expand partnerships with industry, businesses, unions, community colleges, and training organizations to train workers in the skills they need.

There are more than 100 registered apprenticeship programs already in Kentucky. For a list of those, click here. Registered apprenticeship offers access to 1,000 career areas, including the following top occupations throughout the U.S.:

  • Carpenter
  • Chef
  • Child care development specialist
  • Construction craft laborer
  • Dental assistant
  • Electrician
  • Law enforcement agent
  • Over-the-road truck driver
  • Pipefitter

For many years, the apprenticeship conference was held prior to the Labor-Management Conference at Kentucky Dam Village. With a recent rise in attention on apprenticeship, organizers decided to move the conference to its own location, and chose the scenic

General Butler State Park, which is within 50 miles of the large population centers of Lexington, Louisville and Northern Kentucky.

For more on registered apprenticeship, click here or visit www.labor.ky.gov.

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Get Ready for the 2014 Registered Apprenticeship Conference

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Apprenticeship Conference logo SMALL

It’s almost time for the 2014 Registered Apprenticeship Conference. This year, the conference will be at General Butler State Park on October 15-17.

The location and format of the conference is new this year, and the agenda includes Mr. John Ladd, the Administrator of the Office of Apprenticeship within the United States Department of Labor.

Register now by clicking here.

See the agenda by clicking here.

Health Now

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kyhealthnow LOGO

Gov. Steve Beshear has made it a top priority to improve the health and wellness of Kentucky’s children, families and workforce.

To advance the well-being of Kentucky’s citizens, Gov. Beshear has created the kyhealthnow initiative, which outlines a number of strategies that will be implemented through executive and legislative actions, public-private partnerships and through the success of enrolling Kentuckians in healthcare coverage.

For more on kyhealthnow, click here.

Tips for a healthier life:

Got Water?

Drink plenty of water – Do you know over 60 percent of your body is made up of water? Water is needed to carry out our body functions, remove waste and carry nutrients and oxygen around the body.

Sleepless in Kentucky

Get enough sleep – when you don’t rest well, you compensate for that lack of energy by eating. Also lack of sleep causes premature aging, and nobody wants that!

Power Foods

Fuel your body with complex carbohydrates and proteins: bagels, bananas, bran muffins, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, black beans, string cheese, tuna, yogurt, almonds, apricots, brown rice, apples, pears, salmon, peanut butter, raisins, hard boiled eggs, and grapes are the top twenty power foods.

Rye, Not Wheat 

“Wheat” bread is often just white bread dyed with molasses to make it look dark. Go with “100 percent whole wheat” or “whole grain.” Even better: rye bread. Swedish researchers have found that eight hours after people ate rye, they felt less hungry than those who had eaten wheat bread, all thanks to rye’s high fiber content.



Wage Theft in Kentucky is More Than Double All Types of Robbery Combined

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Bill Bryant talks with Secretary Larry Roberts about wage theft and other Labor issues on Kentucky Newsmakers on WKYT

Kentucky Labor Cabinet collects $4.5 million in wage restitution each year for an average of 12,200 Kentucky workers  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 28, 2014) – Money taken each year in Kentucky during all robberies combined falls well short of the total amount of wages improperly withheld from Kentucky’s workers. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet collects an average of $4.5 million each year in wage restitution for employees, and that total far surpasses the average annual amount of $2 million taken during all robberies in the Commonwealth.

“You hear about robberies on the news all the time, but wage theft is a bigger problem,” said Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts. “Wage theft happens every day in Kentucky, and it impacts numerous industries and multiple types of workers. Not only are employees cheated, but taxpayers are as well, because no payroll taxes are paid on that money unless the Labor Cabinet collects it as restitution for the employees.”

What is wage theft?

Unpaid overtime, withheld final paychecks, illegal deductions of pay and lower pay than the legal minimum wage requirement are common examples of wage theft. Other examples include misclassification of workers as independent contractors, unpaid breaks, time-clock shaving, mandatory tip-pooling and prevailing wage violations. Many wage theft cases go unreported because victims are unaware they are being cheated.

The Labor Cabinet is the agency charged with enforcing wage and hour laws in Kentucky. There are 15 wage and hour field inspectors to cover the 1.9 million wage-earners in Kentucky. This means there is one investigator for every 126,600 workers.

The Labor Cabinet used information from the Kentucky State Police’s annual report, Crime in Kentucky, to compare robbery totals to the latest wage restitution amounts for the past three years in Kentucky.

For this report, robbery is defined as the taking anything of value under confrontational circumstances from the control, custody or care of another person by force or threat of force and/or by putting the victim in fear of immediate harm. Robbery totals do not include burglaries.


 Robberies average $2 million a year in Kentucky

The total value of items taken during all robberies was $2,568,236 for 2013, $2,131,150 for 2012 and $1,454,190 for 2011. The average amount for those three years was $2,051,192.

Wage theft averages $4.5 million a year in Kentucky

For wage restitution, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet collected $4,376,588 in 2013, $6,035,364 in 2012 and $3,260,501 in 2011. Those three years averaged $4,557,484 in wage restitution each year.

Each year in Kentucky: 12,200 wage theft victims compared to 1,900 robberies

The number of wage theft victims far exceeds robbery victims in Kentucky. For all robberies in Kentucky, including banks, chain and convenience stores, homes, commercial offices, highway/street and miscellaneous robberies, there were 5,813 offenses combined during the last three years, for an average of 1,937 a year. For wage theft from 2011-13, there were 36,794 employees who were victims, for an average of 12,264 each year.


Employees who suspect they are victims of wage theft can fill out a wage and hour complaint form online at www.labor.ky.gov.


Rocky Adkins: Why KECC Matters

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From left to right: Commissioner Anthony Russell, Rep. Rocky Adkins, Labor Cabinet KECC Administrator Missy Greenwell and Secretary Larry Roberts

Employees of the Labor Cabinet held a breakfast kick-off for the Kentucky Employees Charitable Campaign (KECC) on Aug. 28, and heard a first-hand message of the importance of giving from House Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Rocky Adkins.

Rep. Adkins talked about how he faced his own life-threatening experience with cancer. At age 35, he had a sickness he couldn’t shake. He would be ill after eating his favorite foods and lost a dangerous amount of weight. Several medical tests found nothing, and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. He had been a point guard at Morehead State, and his college-athlete mentality had been to “tough it out” and play through the pain. But Adkins knew something was terribly wrong.

A friend made Adkins an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the largest integrated non-profit medical group practice in the world. Even the first tests at the prestigious clinic couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause of his medical woes. One test was elaborate and difficult: for more than five hours, doctors inserted a tube that travelled 20-plus feet down the length of his small intestine.

The test found a tumor. It was the size of a tennis ball, and it was in a very difficult location. Surgery would be required to remove it, but the location was so rare that even doctors at the famous clinic dealt with only a couple such cases each year.

On the day of his surgery, for the first time in his life, Adkins saw his father cry. His perspective on life had changed, and he thought about all the things he wished he had said to his friends and family. He realized how precious and fleeting life can be.

Other doctors, medical experts and students watched his surgery. His doctor told him he got the tumor — all of it. Rocky was never so relieved in all his life. But his battle wasn’t over, it was just starting. He learned he still had to undergo excruciating chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Now, 19 years later, he is a survivor. He is cancer-free. Thanks to advancements in medicine, other patients like him can now take a pill that has a camera in it, instead of enduring that five-hour-long tube ordeal. He started a golf tournament to raise money for cancer research and treatment, and one of the people who ended up benefiting was his own mother. Rocky has raised more than $2.1 million for a mobile mammography unit, housing for patients’ families and diagnostic equipment at his regional medical center.

Rocky asked if anyone in the audience had either had cancer or had a loved one who had, and everyone in the room raised a hand. He said KECC gives people hope. It gives treatment and helps people who desperately need it.

The deadline to sign up for a payroll contribution is Nov. 1. Donations come directly out of employees’ paychecks, and can be distributed among eight member charities, which receive 100 percent of the gift. The state-approved KECC charities undergo rigorous scrutiny by the Personnel Cabinet and have met stringent guidelines. They are well-managed and accountable, and they help people right here in the Commonwealth. Employees may also designate a qualified charity of his/her choice.

For more information, visit www.kecc.org. To sign up to contribute, talk to Missy Greenwell, the KECC Administrator at the Labor Cabinet. As Rep. Adkins can attest, every little bit helps. Even $3 from each paycheck can make a difference in helping improve or save the life of someone you love.