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April 27, 2017

CLEVELAND, Ohio—DVUV Holdings LLC has announced a new corporate name and a reorganization and rebranding of its operating companies. The new corporate name is Keyland Polymer Material Sciences LLC. The new holdings company will include four separate operating companies: Keyland Polymer UV Application Technology LLC, Keyland Polymer UV Resins LTD, Keyland Polymer UV Powder LLC, and DVUV LLC. This new alignment will help solidify the company’s position as a global and leading developer, formulator, manufacturer, and applicator of UV-curable solid material used in UV-cured powder coatings, 3D printing, and other forms of UV-cured solid materials.

Keyland Polymer UV Application Technology offers the latest in UV/EB curing solutions of solid materials used in coatings, 3D/additive materials, and other product applications. Keyland Polymer UV Resins develops, produces, and sells solid polyester, epoxy, and other resin based products used in UV-cured solid materials. Keyland Polymer UV Powder combines UV resins with additives, pigments, and photoinitiators to produce custom and performance specific UV-curable powder coatings for a variety of substrates. DVUV produces and sells powder coated MDF wood components using UV powder.

April 26, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Two railcar cleaning facilities in different parts of the US are facing orders from the EPA over their handling of hazardous waste. One company, Dana Container, faces $12,000 in fines as part of a settlement with the EPA over the handling and labeling of containers of waste. The other, Railcar Cleaning Services LLC, has not been fined, but has been ordered to immediately take steps to protect the public from risks posed by allegedly improperly stored crude oil and ethanol.

Dana Container, Wilmington, Dela., entered into a settlement over its violations in October. The allegations stemmed from a January 2016 inspection that the EPA says uncovered violations related to hazardous materials such as benzene, vinyl acetate, and waste solvent. Allegations against Dana Container include violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) related to the failure to ship hazardous waste offsite in a timely manner, failure to keep proper records, and failure to maintain an adequate contingency plan. As part of the settlement, Dana Container did not admit liability, but certified compliance on the matters cited by the EPA.

The EPA issued what it calls an Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Administrative Order to Nebraska Railcar. The order, made under the RCRA, calls for the company to immediately engage in hazardous waste determinations at its sites, and dispose of hazardous materials as required by law. The EPA order references a deadly incident in April 2015 in which two workers were killed in an explosion at one of Nebraska Railcar’s Omaha facilities. That incident led OSHA to issue 33 violations to the company, carrying a total proposed fine of $963,000, and to place Nebraska Railcar in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Those violations, issued in October 2015, are still listed as under contest.

At the time, OSHA alleged that air quality in confined spaces was not properly monitored, and workers at the site were not properly fit-tested for respirators. Other violations related to fall hazards, lack of hazardous materials training, and more. In 2013, the company paid a total of $6,856 as part of two informal settlements with OSHA, covering a total of eight violations (three serious and five other). In 2015, as a result of a follow-up inspection, the company faced three more violations, which, after an informal settlement, cost the firm $3,800.

The agency says more recent onsite inspections indicate that the company continues to improperly manage its hazardous waste, contrary to RCRA requirements. The company is ordered to immediately address the issues presented, and to provide regular reports on its waste disposal practices to EPA Region 7. Failure to comply could result in civil penalties of at least $14,023 per violation per day.

April 24, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—OSHA has issued Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction to help industry employers develop proactive programs to keep their workplaces safe. The recommendations may be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized contractors who lack safety and health specialists on staff.

Safety and health programs encourage finding and fixing workplace hazards before they cause injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Implementing these programs also helps reduce the financial difficulties these events can cause for workers, their families, and their employers. Contractors can create a safety and health program using a number of simple steps that include training workers on how to identify and control hazards, inspecting the jobsite with workers to identify problems with equipment and materials, and developing responses to possible emergency scenarios in advance.

The recommended practices for a safety and health program are flexible and can be adjusted to fit small and large construction companies handling short-term or multi-year projects. Working with employees to implement a program can offer other benefits including improvements in production and quality, greater employee morale, improved employee recruiting and retention, and a more favorable image and reputation among customers, suppliers, and the community. These recommendations are advisory only and do not create any new legal obligations or alter existing obligations created by OSHA standards or regulations.

April 21, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—Surface preparation equipment manufacturer and distributor Blastrac Global has acquired Nilfisk Cyclone Technology from the Nilfisk Group. The company is now considered a wholly owned subsidiary of Blastrac Global and will be known as Cyclone Technology LLC.

Cyclone Technology, Tempe, Ariz., manufactures high-pressure and low-pressure surface preparation and cleaning equipment using proprietary and patented technology. Certain models in its high-pressure line were developed for paint and marking removal, surface preparation, and seal coat removal. Products in its low-pressure line are for coated surfaces, elastomeric coatings, thermoplastic markings, and more.

April 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A masonry company terminated a plant manager less than two weeks after it hired him after the manager repeatedly reported air quality and other safety and health hazards to upper management at the company’s Middletown, Pa., plant in 2014. York Building Products has entered into a settlement agreement with the US Department of Labor whereby the company will pay a total of $135,000 in back wages and compensatory damages to the terminated employee. The settlement resolves a whistleblower investigation conducted by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The company is one of the nation’s largest producers of masonry units.

The terminated manager filed two complaints with OSHA. One complaint alleged safety and health hazards at the plant, and the other complaint alleged the company fired him in retaliation for reporting these hazards. During its safety and health investigation of the plant, OSHA inspectors identified 38 violations, resulting in $38,880 in fines. Air samplings collected in the investigation showed that certain plant employees had been exposed to silica dust at amounts up to 14 times greater than permissible exposure limits. Extended exposure to silica dust can leave workers at risk of developing silicosis, a disabling, nonreversible, and sometimes fatal lung disease. It may also cause other nonmalignant respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and kidney disease.

The whistleblower investigation found the company violated the antidiscrimination provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act when it terminated the former plant manager. In addition to paying the back wages and damages, under this whistleblower settlement, York Building Products is required to provide supervisors with antiretaliation training at the location where the terminated employee worked. The company must also post the OSHA poster entitled “Job Safety and Health, It’s The Law.”

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise concerns about health and safety hazards in the workplace to the employer or the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conducted may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor for an investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.

April 19, 2017

May 2-3: ASTM Corrosion Testing: Application and Use of Salt Fog, Humidity, Cyclic, and Gas Tests. Akron Polymer Training Center, Akron, Ohio. Sponsored by ASTM International. Contact ASTM at 610/832-9585; fax 610/832-95555; service@astm.org; www.astm.org.

May 2-3: Powder Coating 202 Workshop. Indianapolis, Ind. Sponsored by the Powder Coating Institute (PCI). Contact PCI at 859/525-9988; fax 859/356-0908; pci-info@powdercoating.org; www.powdercoating.org.

May 8-11: Paint Technology. PRA Coatings Technology Centre, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK. Sponsored by PRA. Contact the PRA training team at training@pra-world.com ; www.pra-world.com/training.

May 10-12: Polymer Compounding, Formulating, and Testing of Plastics, Rubber, Adhesives, and Coatings. Akron Polymer Training Center, Akron, Ohio. Sponsored by the University of Akron. Contact the training center at 330/972-8303; fax 330/972-8141; aptc@uakron.edu; www.uakron.edu/aptc.

May 23-25: Color Theory and Applications. Akron Polymer Training Center, Akron, Ohio. Sponsored by the University of Akron. Contact the training center at 330/972-8303; fax 330/972-8141; aptc@uakron.edu; www.uakron.edu/aptc.

April 18, 2017

WILMINGTON, Dela.—Another roadblock has popped up for The Dow Chemical Company and DuPont as their proposed merger remains under review by European regulators. According to reports, the two companies have once again failed to provide crucial data to European antitrust regulators. This has forced the European Commission to suspend its review of the proposed $130 billion merger between the companies for the second time.

The two chemical industry giants announced in December 2015 that they plan to unite in a “merger of equals.” The plan has since been subject to regulatory hurdles worldwide due to the global nature of both corporations’ business.

The European Commission, an agency conducting an in-depth review to ensure the merger falls within European antitrust laws and other regulations, said it has once again paused its review because of missing documentation. The nature of the missing paperwork was not disclosed. A spokesperson for DuPont stated that the companies are remaining confident and focused on closing the deal in the first quarter of 2017, subject to approvals.

As previously reported, the companies plan to form a new entity, DowDuPont Inc., that would later split into three separate independent, publicly traded companies focused on material science, agriculture, and specialty products. The paints and coatings industry has focused on the side of the deal that will combine the two chemical and coatings titans. The EC’s concerns, however, lay on the agricultural side of the business, saying the proposed merger would create the world’s largest integrated crop protection and seeds company. EU officials were expected to decide on the deal in February (a decision had not been made at press time).

Meanwhile, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also voiced concerns about the planned merger, calling for submissions from interested parties. The ACCC is concerned about the effect that the proposed merger may have on competition for a diverse range of products, including insecticides, seeds, and materials science products. The concerns exist because the companies produce products that overlap in many categories. Specifically, the ACCC notes that the companies may be the only potential suppliers of ionomer and acid copolymer materials to plastics manufacturers in Australia. Thus, the merger would remove competition, which could potentially be a detriment to Australian customers. The ACCC was to make its final decision on the merger sometime in February (a decision had not been made at press time).

April 17, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Stakeholders on both sides of the controversial new overtime rule that would make overtime pay available to 4.2 million workers continue to hash out its future in the court system.

Originally set to take effect on December 1, a federal judge ruled to put a hold on the controversial rule on November 22. Business groups and officials from 21 states sued the Obama Administration in the US District Court of Eastern District of Texas, seeking to block and overturn the rule. They claimed the rule would place a heavy burden on their budgets and that the Labor Department overstepped its authority.

US District Judge Amos Mazzant III issued a preliminary injunction in the case following a hearing on the request held November 16. In its review, the court determined that the business associations and states demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the Labor Department exceeded its rulemaking authority, and further satisfied all requirements to issue a nationwide injunction.

In response, the Labor Department filed an appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Labor Department has long argued the rule stood on “sound legal and policy footing,” noting that the legal challenges were attempts to deprive workers of fair pay.

Construction is one of the major industries where the new rule will have the biggest impact. Yet, construction industry trade groups were not pleased with the sweeping changes, arguing that the measure would backfire and hurt workers.

Overtime protections require employers to pay one-and-a-half times an employee’s regular rate of pay for any work past 40 hours a week. The rule follows a March 13, 2014, Presidential Memorandum directing the Labor Department to update the overtime standards. Most significantly, the final rule, which altered the Fair Labor Standards Act, raised the salary threshold indicating overtime eligibility from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year).

The rule also updated the total annual compensation level above which most white collar workers will be ineligible for overtime, raising the level from the current $100,000 per year, to $134,004 per year. Under the new rule, the salary thresholds would have automatically updated every three years, based on wage growth over time, which would help to increase predictability, according to officials. Those updates were set to begin January 1, 2020.

April 14, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—More than 4,400 environmental educators will gain training and leadership opportunities in 2017 through a new cooperative agreement between the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). EPA is funding up to $10.8 million over 5 years through the agency’s teacher training program, formally known as the National Environmental Education Training Program (NEETP). The 5-year program, which is called ee360, began in 2017.

“Environmental educators help learners of all ages understand and value the ecosystems around them,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “The teacher training program gives educators access to the best classroom and out-of-classroom materials and professional development opportunities, focused on using the environment as a platform for learning science, technology, engineering, and math skills to improve decision-making.”

NAAEE is bringing together a broad collection of partners for this program: Antioch University, the Center for Diversity and the Environment, Earth Force, the NAAEE Affiliate Network, Project Learning Tree, Stanford University, the University of Oregon, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Bureau of Land Management, the US National Park Service, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the US Forest Service.

NAAEE and these partners will train professionals to deliver high-quality environmental education in formal and nonformal education settings. In the first year, ee360 aims to train more than 4,400 educators. The partners will also strengthen the field by building infrastructure through leadership clinics, developing state certification programs, using technology, expanding access to resources, and researching the value of environmental education.

Since 1992, EPA’s teacher training program has funded training, helped universities and states develop accredited certification programs, and promoted the national Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence.

April 13, 2017

TAYLOR MILL, Ky.—The Powder Coating Institute (PCI), Taylor Mill, Ky., has announced its 2017 Board of Directors and Executive Officers. Serving as officers are Ron Cudzilo, George Koch Sons, president; Chris Merritt, Gema USA, vice president; Greg Dawson, Nordson Corp., secretary/treasurer; and John Sudges, Midwest Finishing Systems, past president.

In addition to the officers, serving as directors are John Cole, Parker Ionics; Kevin Coursin, Engineered Finishing Systems; Craig Dietz, Axalta Coating Systems; Steve Kiefer, Akzo Nobel Coatings Inc.; Mark Mortensen, All-Color Powder Coating Inc.; Suresh Patel, Chemetall US Inc.; Paul West, Sun Polymers International Inc.; and David Goch, Webster, Chamberlain & Bean. PCI is a nonprofit technical and professional association that provides information and education on powder coating technologies worldwide.

April 12, 2017

BROOK PARK, Ohio—Greenkote PLC has more than doubled capacity at its headquarters production facility in Ohio. Over the past year, the company saw a steady increase in orders for anticorrosion and metal protection coatings. The new state-of-the-art coating line will multiply current capacity by nearly two and a half times, enabling the Brook Park facility to process more than 150 tons of parts per month. It will also provide for the application of specialized topcoats and sealers to the company’s coatings to further enhance coating performance. Greenkote provides coating services for construction, automotive, rail, utilities, and a range of other industries where products are exposed to harsh and corrosive environments.

April 11, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Donald Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan has shown itself to be a popular idea, but perhaps not an easy one to translate into reality. While Republicans and Democrats can agree that infrastructure has been neglected in the US in recent years, the conflict begins when the discussion turns to how to fund improvements.

One early hurdle in putting together a major infrastructure plan is deciding what infrastructure refers to. While it no doubt means roads, bridges, tunnels, and transit, there are other issues that could fall under the umbrella as well. As the Chicago Tribune recently reported, elected officials and private companies have made cases for many investments that they consider to be critical infrastructure for the country. That could include projects as diverse as oil and gas pipelines, communication networks, public street lights, drinking water systems, public parks, and affordable housing. If the White House decides to use tax credits as a form of subsidy for private investment in infrastructure projects, it may first have to set guidelines defining exactly what counts and what does not.

The next question is where the money to fund the big plan will come from. Right now, there are few details, and some analysts say the claim that the plan will pay for itself is dubious. Funding could come in one (or a mix) of several forms. One idea is to use tax credits to encourage private investors to put their money into infrastructure upgrade projects. This is, essentially, a stimulus package, in which the expenditures would in theory be made back in the form of new jobs generated and tax revenue. Another idea is a one-time tax windfall from corporations with overseas assets. That tax could raise $150 billion over a 10-year period, according to analysts, which could put a dent in the infrastructure plan.

Yet another idea is an infrastructure bank, where state and local governments and public-private partnerships would bankroll infrastructure improvements. The money would eventually be paid back, though that’s one of the concerns experts have. Some say that an infrastructure bank that relies on complete repayment would lead states and private entities to make their infrastructure investments into money generators.

Despite a highly partisan political environment, Republicans and Democrats have routinely worked in a bipartisan manner to support infrastructure legislation. In fact, all sides should view a long-term infrastructure package as an opportunity for the two parties to come together and make meaningful progress for the American people.

April 10, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule updating its general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards specific to slip, trip, and fall hazards. The rule also includes a new section under the general industry Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards that establishes employer requirements for using personal fall protection systems.

The final rule will increase workplace protection from those hazards, especially fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and injuries. OSHA believes advances in technology and greater flexibility will reduce worker deaths and injuries from falls. The final rule also increases consistency between general and construction industries, which will help employers and workers that work in both industries.

OSHA estimates the final rule will prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually. The rule became effective on January 17 and will affect approximately 112 million workers at 7 million worksites.

The final rule’s most significant update is allowing employers to select the fall protection system that works best for them, choosing from a range of accepted options including personal fall protection systems. OSHA has permitted the use of personal fall protection systems in construction since 1994, and the final rule adopts similar requirements for general industry. Other changes include allowing employers to use rope descent systems up to 300 feet above a lower level, prohibiting the use of body belts as part of a personal fall arrest system, and requiring worker training on personal fall protection systems and fall equipment.

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 by setting and enforcing standard, and providing training, education, and assistance.

March 10, 2017

AKRON, Ohio—Financial investment business Signet Enterprises has announced the launch of a new venture in the field of polymer technology for the protective and structural coatings industries. Creative Polymer Solutions (CPS) will begin operating out of Irondale, Ala., as a manufacturer of protective and structural coatings for municipal, industrial, and commercial sectors.

CPS will co-locate in a polymer blending facility with Sprayroq, a developer and manufacturer of spray-applied resin technology for structural rehabilitation and corrosion protection of water, wastewater, and other industrial infrastructure assets. CPS will specialize in the development and blending of polyurethane and polyurea products intended for corrosion prevention and the rehabilitation of heavily corroded surfaces, predominantly concrete and various metals. CPS will also provide blending capabilities for many segments affected by corrosion.

March 9, 2017

OLDHAM, England—A UK specialty and consumer chemicals manufacturer has announced that it is about to become the first company to commercialize graphene within high-performance protective paints. James Briggs Ltd. has entered into a joint development agreement with Applied Graphene Materials PLC (AGM),Redcar, England, a company dedicated to the manufacture and dispersion of graphene as well as the development of applications for graphene.

The partnership will enable James Briggs’ technical center to begin incorporating graphene nanoplatelets into its existing paint formulations with a view to launching a new range of high-performing primers in early 2017. Company officials expect the introduction of the progressive material, first isolated by the University of Manchester, to significantly improve the protective properties of the new range.

In addition, the two companies will join forces to collaborate on potential applications for lubrication products, which will take advantage of the improved friction properties offered by the application of graphene.

The collaboration comes after AGM announced it had achieved outstanding performance results from proof of concept studies into the use of its graphene in anticorrosive coatings. The PRA, an independent testing consultancy, reportedly evaluated performance through ISO standard accelerated weathering and anticorrosion tests. According to the company, its graphene material is able to deliver a six-fold improvement in barrier and anticorrosion properties at low loading levels.

March 8, 2017

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany—BASF, the world’s largest chemical producer, has launched a new global pigments brand to serve customers in the coatings, plastics, printing, cosmetics, and agriculture industries. Called Color & Effects, the new brand combines the manufacturer’s pigments businesses, including its colorants and pigments portfolios.

BASF says it has established teams concentrated solely on each of the five industry segments. The company notes this is the first time it has created dedicated global pigment teams for the agriculture and cosmetics industries. Within the new brand portfolio for coatings, BASF offers pigments for general industrial coatings and coil coatings, as well as pigments and additives for powder coatings. It also offers materials that enhance the quality, appearance, and durability of exterior and interior OEM and refinish coatings in its automotive line. Pigments, pigment preparations, dispersions, and formulation and performance additives for architectural coatings are included within the coatings umbrella.

March 7, 2017

April 19: Advances in Technology of Color Pigments and Dispersion. PRA Coatings Technology Centre, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK. Sponsored by PRA. Contact the PRA training team at training@pra-world.com ; www.pra-world.com/training.

April 25-27: Radiation Curing Technology. PRA Coatings Technology Centre, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK. Sponsored by PRA. Contact the PRA training team at training@pra-world.com ; www.pra-world.com/training.

March 6, 2017

ATLANTA, Ga.—Southern Aluminum Finishing Co. (SAF) celebrated its 70th anniversary last fall. At its founding in 1946, SAF was one of only two anodizing lines in the country. Founder Marvin McClatchey was a chemical engineer and pioneer in anodizing for architectural applications. Still in the family, SAF is currently led by second generation brothers and co-CEOs, Penn McClatchey and Jim McClatchey.

Early customers included commercial glazing contractors working to meet pressing demands for storefront and curtain wall projects in the post WWII building boom. Since then, SAF’s customer base has expanded internationally to include construction specifiers, design-build contractors, commercial construction subcontractors, alternative energy product manufacturers, product engineers, automotive suppliers, and fabricators and manufacturers in many other industries.

March 3, 2017

BURLINGTON, Ont.—A partnership between a university chemist and a chemical company has culminated in a green coating system that reportedly protects metals against corrosion. Paul Zelisko, an organic chemistry instructor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., and Burlington, Ont.-based Vanchem Performance Chemicals worked together on a technology called Greencoat, which uses silicon rather than heavy metals to bind coatings to metal surfaces and paint.

What makes the system green is that it is a water-based system that has reactive sand in it. If the material happens to get flushed out or it leaks, you’re effectively releasing sand and water into the environment. The team received a patent for the silane-based pretreatment in the US, with Canadian and European patents pending.

When it comes to protecting steel and other metals from rust and salt damage, traditional coating systems use heavy metals such as zinc phosphate, iron phosphate, or chrome to enable the inorganic substance (metal) and organic substance (paint) to stick to one another. However, phosphates released into the environment can cause algal blooms in lakes and rivers, damaging aquatic plant and animal life.

Zelisko and Vanchem’s system varies from conventional methods by way of its two-step process. First, a base layer of water mixed with silica is sprayed onto the metal, creating a chemical bond with the metal. This not only cleans the metal, but also deposits silica onto the surface. This coating protects the metal while also acting as a primer for the second layer, which was designed to bond well to paint. The second layer contains polysilicates, the basis of which is silicon. Silicates can be modified to stick to both metals and paints.

March 2, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A Baltimore steel galvanizer is facing $60,000 in federal fines over alleged violations of hazardous waste storage laws. Galvco Maryland, also known as Baltimore Galvanizing, has entered into an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While no hazardous materials were released as a result of the alleged mishandling, the agency assessed $60,000 in penalties over the company’s failure to comply with regulations governing permits, inspection, evaluation, and spill containment.

The alleged violations stem from inspections that took place in 2014 and 2015. The violations relate to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which governs how companies should store and handle hazardous waste. As part of the agreement, Galvco has not admitted any wrongdoing, but the EPA says that the company has proven it is now in compliance. Galvco has been given a schedule for six payments of $10,000 each, all to be made within 180 days of the agreement.

February 28, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The US Department of Labor has issued an Interim Final Rule to implement the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act passed as part of the highly publicized Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The budget deal of this provision requires immediate penalty increases to catch up with inflation.

Although the Rule applies to all federal regulatory agencies, its impact will be felt most by employers receiving citations from OSHA. This is because many federal agencies quasi-regularly increase their penalties based on inflation. OSHA, on the other hand, has been statutorily prohibited from raising penalties for the last 25 years under a budget bill passed in the 1990s. As a result, OSHA’s penalty catch-up hike will be the most significant of all federal agencies, raising penalties by 78 percent, and increasing employers’ burdens by an estimated $111 million in the first year.