Las Vegas Sun

September 18, 2019

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Feds fine tribal company for safety violations

The federal government today announced it was proposing a hefty fine of $54,000 against Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza for failing to respond to and correct safety and health violations.

The travel pit stop off I-15 in Moapa that sells fireworks, American Indian crafts, and convenience store items lies on tribal land. That means that unlike most other businesses in Nevada, workplace safety at the Travel Plaza is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration rather than the state's workplace safety agency.

On July 19, fedOSHA issued six serious safety violations against the company, including failing to provide forklift training, not implementing a written safety program, and failing to properly identify and mark water and fuel tanks that were potentially dangerous confined spaces. Total proposed fines were $2,100.

The company had 15 days to appeal or pay the fines and correct the violations, but the company never responded to OSHA. That brought about the additional fines.

"Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza's refusal to address these serious violations continues to put the safety and health of its employees at risk," said Ken Atha, regional administrator for fedOSHA in San Francisco, in a statement. "OSHA will take action when it sees a disregard for the safety of employees.

A representative for Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza said the company did not wish to comment on the findings.

FedOSHA's presence in Nevada is light, but has grown in the past year. During the summer, fedOSHA sent inspectors to Las Vegas to help an overwhelmed Nevada OSHA conduct comprehensive inspections of several enormous construction projects on the Las Vegas Strip.

In those cases, the federal employees had the authority only to help find violations and refer them to state inspectors to issue citations. The results of those investigations are still not entirely finalized.

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