California Department of Industrial Relations Turns 75

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) is looking pretty good for its age and is showing no signs of slowing down. The agency celebrates its 75th anniversary today.

The celebration includes a morning program, evening reception and afternoon workshops for employers and employees that take an in-depth look at the workers' compensation system, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, labor law enforcement and apprenticeship opportunities.

Events are being held at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco. Kevin Starr, the state librarian and well-known author, will open the program with a discussion of California's labor history.

The evening reception will feature music, catering by Bay Area culinary apprentices, acknowledgement of DIR's employees and recognition of California employers who've demonstrated an outstanding commitment to workplace safety and health

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) was established in 1927, when its current programs were first consolidated. Now enforcing labor and workplace safety and health laws for more than 14 million California workers and 1.3 million employers, as well as overseeing the state's apprenticeship and workers' compensation systems, DIR expanded its enforcement capacity under the Davis administration for the first time in almost two decades.

Cal/OSHA launched special emphasis programs in agriculture and construction, two of the most dangerous industries in the state. The Division of Workers' Compensation is developing a new return-to-work program. The Division of Apprenticeship Standards increased the number of apprentices and implemented a system for apprenticeship program audits. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement - with restoration of daily overtime and its extension to industries such as construction, mining and drilling - expanded enforcement, offered greater security to displaced janitors and established a verification system for farm labor contractor licenses.

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