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Majority of businesses complying with COVID-19 safety rules, Nevada OSHA says

A majority of Nevada businesses were in compliance with COVID-19 safety regulations after a round of inspections on Monday, state officials reported Tuesday.

Compliance rates have begun to rise since officials from Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations Occupational Safety and Health Administration began observing Nevada businesses to ensure they follow public mask-wearing mandates after Gov. Steve Sisolak’s June 26 order.

At the beginning of the month, Nevada OSHA reported a 49 percent compliance rate among Nevada businesses, which rose to a cumulative 66 percent last week. As of Tuesday, the cumulative statewide compliance rate is 80 percent, according to the agency.

On Monday, Nevada OSHA officials visited 46 businesses for initial observations and 73 businesses for follow-ups, leading to eight possible citations in Northern Nevada and one in Southern Nevada, the agency said.

Overall, Nevada OSHA found a 90 percent compliance rate among businesses in Southern Nevada and 85 percent in Northern Nevada on Monday. Officials have visited 1,797 businesses statewide since initial observations began, the agency said.

During each visit, officials made observations at the businesses and compared them with Nevada OSHA guidelines and the governor’s directives, Nevada Department of Business and Industry spokeswoman Teri Williams said.

That included checking to make sure physical distancing requirements were followed or enforced and that employees wore masks while interacting with customers and warned those customers that masks were required before entering.

Williams said officials also factored in the odds of spotting an employee or customer who may be exempt from mask requirements in their observations, based on “a reasonable expectation and the specific circumstances” at the business.

Nevada OSHA said it is also responding to complaints relating to face masks, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection and other COVID-19 safety issues, and has received 1,300 complaints since mid-March resulting in 98 citations.

Of those, 54 citations were issued to businesses in Las Vegas with an average penalty amount of $5,880.

Penalties are assessed based on the violation and the situation but can reach up to $134,940 per violation if businesses are found to demonstrate a “willful indifference to the health and safety of their employees.”

If investigators find “serious” persistent violations, businesses can be fined up to $13,494 for each instance, the agency said.

Workplace safety complaints can be filed at the Nevada OSHA website, and the division’s Safety Consultation and Training Section can offer free consultations to help businesses understand and implement safety guidelines at 1-877-4SAFENV.

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0365. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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