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Nevada lawmakers call for hearing in light of construction accidents (4/2)

Nevada lawmakers said Tuesday they expect the Legislature will hold hearings on safety lapses involved in deaths at Las Vegas Strip construction sites and on the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s conduct after the fatalities, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

“This is a tragedy for these families and a huge disappointment for policymakers who have worked so hard to create a very fine system where employees and employers can work together,” said Sen. Randolf Townsend, a Reno Republican who is chairman of the Commerce and Labor Committee that oversees OSHA.

John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, chairman of the Commerce and Labor Committee in the Assembly, said he expects legislation addressing Nevada OSHA to come before the committee during the 2009 session.

If it does, it will be the first time in at least several sessions. Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said no significant reforms of OSHA were proposed during the 2005 and 2007 legislative sessions.

Nine construction workers have died in eight accidents in Las Vegas over the past 16 months. The Sun reported that Nevada OSHA investigators have found a pattern of safety violations on construction sites but routinely withdrew or watered down their citations after meeting privately with contractors.

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