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Labor leaders call on Nevada Assembly to pass worker protection laws

CARSON CITY — Labor leaders on Friday urged Nevada lawmakers to pass a series of laws that they said would add needed protections and training for workers.

Forty-four workers died on the job in 2015, ranking Nevada 25th in the nation, according to data released by the federal government.

That ranking is much too high, said Rick McCann, executive director for the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers.

“We must do better,” he said.

During a press conference at the state Capitol, McCann and other labor representatives called for mandatory safety training for workers in the entertainment industry, a requirement of two workers on freight trains at all times and to ensure certain workers’ compensation rights for police and firefighters.

Assembly Bill 190, sponsored by Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, D-North Las Vegas, would require entertainment industry workers to complete up to 30 hours of OSHA training. The bill pertains to stage hands, performers, camera operators and hair and makeup artists.

“This piece of legislation is important for all workers in Nevada in the entertainment industry,” said Randy Soltero, a lobbyist for workers in that field.

Soltero pointed to the 2013 death of Sarah Guillot-Guyard, who died, during a performance of the Cirque Du Soleil show “Ka” after the wire suspending her broke and she fell 94 feet.

“I’m not saying it would have been avoided if everyone was safety trained. But I think it might have been a better situation,” Soltero said.

The state Assembly passed the bill Friday afternoon and sent it to the Senate.

The group also pushed for lawmakers to act on Senate Bill 427, which would require at least two employees work on freight trains in Nevada, and Assembly Bill 267, which would extend workers’ compensation to cover police officers and firefighters who develop cancer, heart disease or lung illnesses from work complications.

SB 427 is exempt from Legislature deadlines. The Assembly has until Tuesday night to pass AB 267.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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