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April 21, 2015

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Bill would require safety training for construction workers

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CARSON CITY – In response to a rash of deaths on construction projects in Las Vegas, the Assembly is pushing through a bill to require safety training for workers.

“There were more deaths in two years than in the previous 10 years,” said Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, who has headed the effort in developing Assembly Bill 148.

The Assembly Ways and Means Committee on Saturday approved, without opposition, the bill and sent it to the floor of the House, which will vote on it next week.

Don Jayne, director of the state Division of Industrial Relations, said this puts Nevada at the forefront in the nation in requiring safety courses for construction workers. He said some states require safety course training on public projects.

But this bill requires the worker training on all projects –- public and private. It grants an exemption from the state Department of Transportation.

A construction worker must show his employer within 15 days of being hired that he has completed the required training. If he does not, he would be fired.

If the business keeps the worker on the job without the safety training, it can be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for the second offense. For a third and later violations, the employer could be fined up to $70,000 for each violation but not less than $5,000 for each willful violation.

Supervisors also must complete a 30-hour safety course.

The completion of the courses is good for five years and then the training must be renewed.

Asked who would pay for these courses, Oceguera said the employer might pay or the worker might be assessed.

The courses, Oceguera said, will consist of such things as training in the handling of electrical equipment, breathing methods, trip avoidance and fall protection.

During construction of the CityCenter project, safety training programs paid off with fewer incidents, Oceguera said.

The Assembly also approved 40-0 a bill doubling the penalty for a traffic violation in a temporary construction zone.

Present law provides that a motorist who violates the signals or directions of a flagman in a construction zone can be punished by a fine up to $2,000 and 120 hours of community service if a worker is injured.

That penalty is doubled under Senate Bill 134. The bill goes to the governor for his signature.

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