Consultant advises against pushing safety classes for construction crews

Safety consultant Myron Jones understands better safety training is needed for workers entering construction job sites, but he believes the basic OSHA training labor unions and politicians are pushing is the wrong way to go.

“The class was specifically designed for safety directors, managers and owners,” he said. “Most of the employees that are out there on these job sites are going to be bored to death and asleep in a half-hour of listening to some instructor talk to them about regulations.”

The comments came during discussion Wednesday night at the Clark County Government Center. Nearly 35 labor leaders, workers, safety consultants and government officials attended seeking ideas to submit during the looming Legislative session that begins Monday.

The first meeting, held in July, led to a bill request for the 2009 Legislature, requiring the 10-hour safety class by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration training.

Forcing the class on workers “will accomplish absolutely nothing in the safety arena,” while enriching individual trainers and training agencies and costing employers a lot of money, according to Jones, who said he has taught the training across the country.

“The training needs to be specific to the job task these people are being asked to perform,” he said.

Clark County Commissioner and discussion Chairwoman Chris Giunchigliani said it was her understanding the training could be tailored to the job site.

Jack Mallory, president of Painters and Allied Trades District 15, agreed, arguing the OSHA 10 can be customized to be job-specific.

Representatives from Nevada OSHA did not accept an invitation to attend the hearing.

Wednesday’s meeting was the second discussion on worker and job site safety following 12 construction deaths in the past two years.

Other concerns pushed at the meeting included urging OSHA to respond to complaints made by third parties, enforcing existing penalties to provide an economic incentive to owners and contractors to promote safety, exploring ways to fine individual workers, improving response from companies and insurance carriers for injured workers, and urging proper job certification with follow-up training.

Giunchigliani said she would go through her notes and suggest bills or amendments to current Legislation being considered in Carson City.

Along with Giunchigliani, the panel again included Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades President Rick Johnson and Steve Holloway, executive vice president of the Las Vegas chapter of Associated General Contractors.

New to the roundtable were Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas; Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, who is chairman of the Commerce and Labor Committee; and Ron Lynn, head of Clark County’s building division.

Jones said unions and contractors need to use what they know from experience works, not create new law.

“We’re looking at a lot of things and none of these things is going to be easy,” Jones said. “I don’t think we can gloss over them with a quick, new regulation, new statute or code.”

Contact reporter Arnold M. Knightly at aknightly@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.

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