OSHA: Nevada is a Good Place to be a Bad Boss
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last week issued a scathing indictment of Nevada's OSHA program. Nevada has a well-deserved reputation for being a dangerous place to work. Last year, a spate of construction deaths on the Las Vegas Strip prompted a congressional hearing. The Las Vegas Sun won this year's public service Pulitzer for exposing the carnage.
Nevada inspectors told federal investigators that their superiors pressured them not to write up employers for willful violations of safety laws. Willful violations are the most serious category of infraction. Federal investigators found that NOSHA only issued one willful violation in the course of 23 fatality probes--even though at least one of the employers (Boyd Gaming Corp.) had previously been cited for the same hazards on other sites in the state, which legally should have made Boyd a willful violator by definition.
The House Education Labor and Pensions Committee is holding a hearing on the report on Thursday. I hope the committee asks some tough questions about why these problems exist. The failures are so grave and systematic that I have to wonder whether corruption is afoot. Many of the worst offenders are powerful casino interests, a contingency known to donate lavishly to both Democrats and Republicans.