Employers who expose their workers to serious safety and health hazards and who continue to defy worker safety and health regulations will be subject to an enhanced enforcement policy unveiled by Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

“The majority of employers in our country consider the health and safety of their workers a priority and strive to do their utmost to ensure their well being,” said Chao. “Still, there are those who, despite OSHA's enforcement and outreach efforts, continually disregard their very basic obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This enhanced enforcement policy is meant for them.”

OSHA's Enhanced Enforcement Policy will focus on those employers who have received “high gravity” citations. High gravity citations are issued when an employer's violations are considered to be at the highest level of severity.

The policy focuses on five specific areas that will be strengthened: (1) follow-up inspections; (2) programmed inspections; (3) public awareness; (4) settlements; and (5) federal court enforcement. This initiative impacts establishments that received OSHA citations with the highest severity of willful violations, multiple serious violations at the highest level of severity, repeat violations at the originating establishment, failure-to-abate notices, or a serious or willful violation associated with a fatality.

“No worker should be injured or killed on the job and no employer should ignore their responsibility to obey the law,” said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. “This policy will focus on the high gravity violators and will put more tenacity and teeth in our enforcement practices. Our goal is to assure compliance and a safe workplace for all workers.”

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Contractors in the green industry will face many changes this spring. Though Phase II of the Natural Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) rule went into effect in January 2003, contractors became accountable for fulfilling these requirements on March 10. The EPA provisions require contractors to implement appropriate erosion control measures when disturbing one acre of land or more.

Many contractors have found themselves untrained and unequipped to meet the NPDES Phase II requirements. They must outline an erosion-control plan at the start of each project and have the needed equipment on site for the duration of the project. Equipment needs are always a major concern for contractors and this rule may cause unexpected equipment expenditures in 2003.

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A $52-million expansion of the Kentucky Exposition Center's South Wing will add 166,500 square feet of prime exhibit space, 57,000 square feet of additional meeting and conference space and a larger reception area. Construction is set to begin in early fall.

Warren Sellers, show director for the International Lawn, Garden & Power Equipment Expo (EXPO 2003), says the beginning stages of the expansion this fall will not affect logistics at the Oct. 18-20 show. Construction should be completed in the fall of 2005.

“The advantage of this expansion for EXPO is that it will allow us to move the entire show into the South Wing, which has higher ceilings and better lighting than the East Wing where we currently have some exhibits,” says Sellers.

Not only will EXPO participants see changes at the show's venue, but in Louisville's downtown as well. Construction will begin this spring on a long-awaited $70-million project to transform the Louisville Galleria, an urban mall, into “Fourth Street Live,” an entertainment hub.

Within a few blocks of Fourth Street Live will be a new, 617-room Marriott Convention Center Hotel. Ground will be broken for the hotel in early May, and it could open in spring 2005.

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