Las Vegas Sun

October 1, 2014

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Nevada asks for federal help to review CityCenter safety

Nevada workplace safety regulators have asked for federal help in reviewing safety procedures at CityCenter.

The announcement by the office of Gov. Jim Gibbons came during a whirlwind week of unprecedented attention on construction safety in Las Vegas, highlighted by a one-day walkout by workers at CityCenter and adjacent Cosmopolitan work sites. A sixth worker died at CityCenter last Saturday, the 11th construction fatality on the Strip in 18 months.

The walkout ended with an agreement between the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council on behalf of unions and Perini Building Company, CityCenter's general contractor. The terms include allowing union safety experts from Washington D.C. to conduct a thorough evaluation of the site.

Nevada's Occupational Safety and Health Administration began its own "comprehensive" inspection of CityCenter on May 12th, and, apparently has become overwhelmed by the sheer size of the $9.2 billion, six-towered project that is rising rapidly on a timetable to open late next year.

The involvement of the feds, the governor's office said, will help to expedite the process and "ensure worker safety." Federal inspectors will offer help with inspections but will not have the authority to issue their own citations for safety violations.

The governor used the occasion to defend Nevada OSHA, which has come under heat for lax enforcement of safety laws on Strip construction projects.

"We are in a period of unparalleled construction growth, and I commend Nevada OSHA for being proactive in utilizing federal resources to finalize this inspection," said Gibbons, in the statement. "Nevada OSHA continues to work diligently to ensure the safety of our workers."

The comments were the first from the governor on the topic since the Las Vegas Sun reported on the spate of construction deaths on Las Vegas Strip several months ago. In previous requests the governor had, through a spokesperson, declined to comment on Nevada OSHA or construction deaths on the Strip.

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