OSHA has released a report on Nevada’s occupational safety and health program that reveals a number of serious concerns with the program’s operation, including failure to issue appropriate willful and repeat citations, poorly trained inspectors and lack of follow-up to determine whether hazards were abated.
The comprehensive evaluation of the Nevada OSHA plan points to an urgent need for corrections in oversight and changes in all phases of its workplace safety and health program.
Twenty-five workers were killed in construction accidents at sites along the Las Vegas strip from January 2008 through June 2009. Those deaths, in addition to extensive media coverage revealing Nevada OSHA’s poor handling of the fatality investigations and several serious complaints filed with federal OSHA about Nevada’s state plan administration, compelled OSHA’s investigation.
“I am pleased that Nevada OSHA cooperated fully throughout the evaluation process and that the state agency’s new leadership has pledged to take prompt corrective action,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
Between July and August 2009, OSHA monitors evaluated Nevada’s workplace fatality investigations, as well as information from all Nevada OSHA inspections conducted from January 2008 through June 2009. OSHA identified a number of systemic issues that caused great concern: Identified hazards were not cited, families of deceased workers were not notified of fatality investigations nor provided opportunities to speak to investigators – though family members may provide information pertinent to a case, and Nevada OSHA investigators demonstrated limited knowledge of construction safety hazards.
Nevada OSHA program: Low fines, poor training, lack of follow-up cause "great concern," reports fed OSHA (10/21)
October 21, 2009