Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada's Third District applauded the opening of a new Federal OSHA office in Las Vegas this week.
"I welcome the opening of a much-needed Federal OSHA office in Las Vegas," Congresswoman Titus said. "It is clear from Nevada OSHA's record that it has let our workers down. A new office in the region will enable a stronger federal-state partnership that will improve training and support for Nevada OSHA without taking away state control."
Previously there was no regional OSHA office in Nevada. As one of the fastest growing states in the nation, Nevada has seen a tremendous growth in construction and an unacceptable increase in accidents and fatalities. This growth has led to demands on the state's infrastructure, including Nevada's safety and health resources, which have struggled to keep up with pressure for services. OSHA's presence in Southern Nevada will improve services by providing more directed local support for enforcement, technical assistance, and compliance activities to reduce workplace injuries and death.
A number of deaths on the job led to Nevada being the first state in the country to have an in-depth review that highlighted the problems facing Nevada OSHA. This review made it clear to Titus that federal OSHA needs an additional option to work with states that are not meeting federal standards. In response, Titus introduced the Ensuring Worker Safety Act in March. The legislation aims to protect workers by assuring that state OSHA plans are at least as effective as federal standards and enforcement, while protecting states' rights by giving OSHA options other than withdrawing approval for a state plan when a state plan is found to be underperforming. The Ensuring Worker Safety Act was accepted as part of another piece of worker safety legislation -- the Miner Safety and Health Act -- when it passed out of the Education and Labor Committee in July.
"The tragic deaths of too many workers in Southern Nevada highlighted the need to ensure that state OSHA plans are doing their job of protecting workers," Titus added. "Unfortunately under current law, federal OSHA is left with only two options, both at the extreme ends of the spectrum, when it finds state plans that are ineffective. This legislation provides OSHA with an important middle ground so it is not left with the choice of doing nothing or taking the drastic step of terminating a state plan. "