Safety and OSHA News

Federal OSHA turning up the heat on state plans

OSHA is doing something it hasn’t done in a long time: The federal agency has formed a task force to investigate a state workplace safety agency.

The Las Vegas Sun reports that Labor Department officials and officials from other states have descended on Nevada to scrutinize how it investigates workplace accidents.

The Sun ran a series of articles last year — for which it won a Pulitzer Prize — detailing serious problems with worker safety in Nevada. During an 18-month stretch, 12 construction workers were killed on the Las Vegas Strip.

Acting OSHA head Jordan Barab had warned state officials that the feds planned to intensify their monitoring of state plans.

OSHA’s only enforcement tool is complete takeover of a state agency, something it’s never done. But OSHA observers say this intervention is the most dramatic in a state plan since 1991, when the feds strongly considered taking over North Carolina’s state plan.

A report is expected to be issued in about a month.

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