Nevada’s OSHA operations won’t go federal

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval will not try to turn operations of Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to the federal government, state and federal sources said Friday.

For several weeks, there have been persistent reports that the governor would shift some of the agency’s operations to the federal OSHA to save money. OSHA has a two-year budget of $15.4 million.

As recently as Thursday, Sandoval administration officials declined to state what the governor intended to do, saying that would become known when he releases his two-year budget plan and delivers his State of the State address on Jan. 24.

But on Friday, Elizabeth Daniels, a spokeswoman for the Department of Business and Industry, said there are no plans to convert Nevada’s State OSHA plan to a federal program.

Her agency oversees state OSHA, which has an office in Henderson.

Any move to close the office would have required legislative approval. No bills to carry out a closure have been requested by legislators.

Earlier Friday, Joy Flack, the area director of the federal OSHA program in Las Vegas said she had been assured by state OSHA officials that they were not trying to transfer programs to her agency.

In the wake of an increased number of deaths in Strip construction accidents, the federal office was reopened last year after a seven-year absence.

Six workers died at the CityCenter construction site early in 2008 and two others were killed at the Cosmopolitan project.

Statewide, 31 workers died in accidents in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

The U.S. Department of Labor also was critical of Nevada OSHA and issued a report that more oversight of worker safety was needed.

Bills requiring increased worker safety training were passed by the 2009 Legislature.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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