March 10, 2009 The Pump Handle 2Comment

In 2007 and 2008, 12 construction workers were killed on the Las Vegas Strip. The Las Vegas Sun’s Alexandra Berzon wrote an excellent series on the breakneck pace of construction in Las Vegas, which creates deadly conditions, and the disappointing response from the state’s OSHA. Now, a bill has been introduced in the Nevada Assembly that would require the state’s construction workers to complete 10 hours of safety training, and supervisors to complete 30 hours. Nevada OSHA would be responsible for certifying that workers have completed the training and for citing and fining employers who allow un-certified workers on projects for more than 60 days. But, Berzon reports, the state agency doesn’t want to take on those tasks:

Nevada OSHA has raised concerns about the agency’s ability to carry out the enforcement requirements in the bill, given funding restrictions, and it has filed an amendment that would reduce its role in certifying workers.

A Las Vegas Sun editorial describes Nevada OSHA as being “in denial over the scope of the problem,” and recommends that the state’s legislature works on changing the agency’s culture so it “becomes the watchdog it is supposed to be.”

In other news:

Associated Press: City-level efforts to ban smoking at Atlantic City casinos have failed, but now the state legislature takes up a bill that would remove the casino exemption from the state’s current ban on smoking in public places.

Reuters: The Supreme Court has declined to review a US appeals court ruling that military veterans could not pursue their claims against the manufacturers of Agent Orange.

Washington Post: Maryland’s medevac helicopter program is run by the state police and follows less-restrictive rules than private medevac companies do – a difference that’s become an issue since a September medevac helicopter crash that killed four.

Boston Globe: The Defense Department estimates that as many as 360,000 US troops have suffered brain injuries.

Medscape: The 24 pig-plant workers who developed a mysterious neurological illness after exposure to aerosolized pig brains have experienced improvements in their symptoms after being treated with immunosuppressing drugs, but they have not recovered completely, and many of them report ongoing pain.

2 thoughts on “Occupational Health News Roundup

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