Please visit the new home of Majikthise at

« Maurice Sendak tells hand-wringing parents to go to hell | Main | Lobbyist indicted for violating Sudan sanctions »

October 26, 2009

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.


It's a union state. Those fatalities occurred on union jobs. Another reason why unions have outlived their usefulness.

It's a little silly to claim that unions are irrelevant because government regulators aren't doing their jobs.

The report found that NOSHA shut union reps out of many investigations. They'd have hearings without notifying them, etc. It's hard to be an effective advocate when regulators are keeping you out of the loop.

Without unions, OSHA wouldn't even exist. Unions can advocate, but they aren't ultimately responsible for safety conditions on job sites. Employers are.

I'm more impressed that the individual who broke the story was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service - and is 29 years old and on her first newspaper job.

That's pretty cool.

Without unions, OSHA wouldn't even exist. Can you say more about this. It doesn't strike me as obviously true.

Being from Nevada, this story smells funny. Perhaps another Obama power play in bed with Harry Reid. Nevada has a better safety record than most states. Look at the statistics. Nevada actually does a good job of maintaining safety in it's construction industry. There was no "spate" of accidents on the strip. Sure there were a couple unfortunate fatalities. Everyone feels terrible about those. BUT, one project alone on the strip has about 9,000 construction workers on one of the largest construction projects in the world. Incidentally, the OSHA report did not even mention that project one time in it's "scathing" report. This is just about more big brother wanting to oversee everything in our lives. Who is John Gault anyway?

John, just because one project has no fatalities doesn't mean the safety record is generally good. The mafia has some legit, corruption-free businesses, too.

The comments to this entry are closed.