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Nevada construction watchdog group forms as coronavirus spreads

Updated April 2, 2020 - 9:02 am

A Nevada construction group has formed to address safety issues during the coronavirus pandemic and launched a website to let people anonymously report problems at job sites.

Frank Hawk, who chairs the group of contractors, union officials and trade association representatives, said the members are “policing our own industry.” They meet weekly and provide updates to Gov. Steve Sisolak.

The group will monitor safety protocols at job sites, collect data on workforce and safety personnel, and assemble teams that could be deployed to build field hospitals and convert hotels or housing into hospital overflow units, according to a news release.

To help monitor projects, a new website, nvcd.org, lets visitors provide photos and report the type of problem, the contractor’s name and how the work site can be made safer.

“Please provide us detailed information that will help our investigators as they look into these reported violations,” the website says. “Your information is safe and anonymous.”

If a developer or contractor doesn’t fix issues to make a job site safer, “maybe they need to be shut down,” said Hawk, vice president of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters.

“We’re not afraid to pick up the phone and speak with OSHA to bring in some backup,” he added, referring to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Nevada is one of many states to allow construction during the coronavirus pandemic, but Hawk said the anonymous-reporting website is the first he knows of.

Sisolak has deemed homebuilding and other construction “essential” lines of work alongside hospitals, grocery stores and others during the outbreak, while ordering casinos and other “nonessential” businesses closed to help contain the virus’ spread.

State officials have released guidance saying Nevada construction sites should ensure workers remain 6 feet apart, restrict meetings and gatherings to no more than 10 people and conduct daily surveys of workers’ health conditions.

Two high-profile projects — the $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas hotel-casino and the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium — have both confirmed that one of their workers tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Their assigned work areas and surrounding vicinities were shut down and sanitized, representatives said.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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