Nevada OSHA officials assure action. Federal report finds willful violations, lack of training
(Source: LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL) Nevada OSHA administrators vowed Friday to take corrective action in addressing 18 major findings in a U.S. Department of Labor report prompted by a slew of construction site fatalities in Las Vegas, most of them on Strip projects.
Problems cited by a federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversight committee include willful violations of OSHA standards, fines that were deemed too small, failure to cite repeat violations and lack of proper training for inspectors.
The massive amount of Strip development — estimated at $30 billion before some projects were scrapped — and a high turnover rate for building inspectors created the “perfect storm” for safety violations, said Steve Coffield, chief administrative officer for Nevada OSHA.
Coffield said he had two pages of major projects in the works simultaneously in 2008, including CityCenter on 65 acres with five buildings going up at the same time and a huge amount of equipment in operation. During peak construction, the project employed between 9,000 and 11,000 workers.
More than 1 million cubic yards of concrete were poured at CityCenter and 78,000 tons of steel went into building it. Crane operators had to be brought in from out of state.
“It’s astounding when you think about the effort that went into that project,” Coffield said at a legislative subcommittee hearing at the Sawyer State Building. “We had 40 inspectors in the field, but they were overwhelmed by the sheer size.”
Employers can and will be prosecuted for willful violations, but it can be extremely difficult to prove that employers knew they were violating OSHA standards, Coffield said. It often turns into a legal battle. Read More…
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