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GIFT OF LEISURE AWAITS HARDEST HOLIDAY WORKER

It must be easy for ol' Saint Nick to be jolly - the guy really only works one day a year. But the retailers who are stocking and selling the presents that will fill his sleigh don't have it so easy. That's why the Florida Retail Federation is asking for nominations for its second annual "Spirit of Santa" contest, which will honor the retail employee who best embodies the time-tested customer service model of ... well, you know who. Anyone - customers, bosses, colleagues - can nominate a retail employee who performs above and beyond the call of duty during the holiday shopping season. The winner will receive a two-night resort stay and other gifts. Nominations are due by 5 p.m. Dec. 15 and can be sent by mail, fax or online. See www.SantaContest.com for details.

Here's where lower is definitely better

Hey, Florida workers, let's try to be more careful out there. Out of a total of 5,702 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2005, 404 occurred in Florida. The state was No. 3 in work fatalities last year behind No.1 Texas (495) and California (453). Here's how the bulk of those deaths happened: 186 were transportation-related; 72 were falls; 50 involved exposure to harmful substances; 47 resulted from assaults or violent acts; 39 involved contact with objects and equipment; and eight occurred in fires and explosions, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The good news? There were 18 fewer work-related fatalities in Florida in 2005 than in 2004.

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