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DOL Steps Up 'Open Government' Efforts

The Department of Labor has announced a broad array of efforts designed to improve the public's accessibility to its agencies and ensure the department can function more effectively.

"True progress is not something that happens to people. It happens because of them. And, it all begins with information that can be shared in a timely and effective manner," said Hilda L. Solis, secretary of labor. "People deserve to know what their government is doing on their behalf, and what they can do to participate actively in that work. I am proud of the steps we are taking to make that possible, and I look forward to broadening our efforts further."

Previously, only the Mine Safety and Health Administration posted worker fatality data on its Web site. Now OSHA is also systematically publishing employer-specific information about occupational fatalities online and making these data available for easy download.

Comprehensive, weekly reports on this topic are now available here. Employers with reported fatalities will have an incentive to take steps to improve safety and prevent future accidents. In addition, responsible employers will be able to use the database to identify dangerous conditions and take precautions.

Other agencies at the department are also making additional information available to the public. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is contributing a vast array of new information to www.data.gov, enhancing its already impressive searchable databases. DOL's Employment and Training Administration, meanwhile, recently launched a Web-based competition at www.dol.gov/challenge. It enlists entrepreneurs and technology firms, workforce professionals, and the public to help identify the best online tools to enable America's job seekers to quickly and easily connect with jobs.

The department's commitment to enhance participation also extends to the regulatory arena. On Monday, Dec. 7, the department rolled out its regulatory agenda entirely online. All of the information--including more than eight hours of Web chats with the secretary of labor and other Department of Labor officials--can be viewed at www.dol.gov/regulations. The Web page also contains links to resources and testimonials, and it even helps visitors submit comments to specific regulations.

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