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March 31, 2020
Nevada OSHA reminds firms of COVID-19 precautions

Nevada state safety and health officials reminded construction firms in the state to follow social distancing practices to prevent COVID-19 infections. The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent letters to employers because the agency found workers at job sites allowed or instructed to work in close proximity.

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On March 18, the state issued the Nevada Health Response COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Initiative following an emergency declaration by Governor Steve Sisolak (D). The governor issued 8 directives and an emergency regulation through March 29 related to the emergency declaration.

On March 18, Nevada OSHA issued guidelines for employers in the construction, manufacturing, and mining industry sectors in the state.

The guidelines for employers included:

  • Restricting meetings, safety meetings or tailgate talks, and gatherings to no more than 10 people;
  • Establishing effective social distancing protocols to ensure that staff maintain a 6-foot personal separation from other staff during meetings, discussions, or other gatherings where 10 people or fewer are present;
  • Ensuring that social distancing protocols are maintained during operation of mobile service equipment designed for 2 or more passengers, such as man lifts or scissor lifts;
  • Providing cleaning or sanitation supplies to clean common surfaces of multiple-user mobile equipment and multiple-user equipment or tools;
  • Providing access to potable and sanitary water;
  • Maintaining 6-foot separation protocols on labor transportation vehicles, such as buses or vans;
  • Conducting daily surveys of changes in workers’ health status; and
  • Ensuring that any employees identified as first responders to provide first aid or medical services are provided with and use needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and equipment for protection from communicable or infectious diseases.

Nevada OSHA’s guidelines are based either on federal occupational safety and health standards or the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.”

State safety and health officials have conducted intermittent surveys of construction sites in Nevada. Nevada OSHA will continue to conduct random on-site inspections of job sites to ensure compliance with the Governor’s emergency declaration and directives, as well as, the agency’s guidelines. Noncompliance could result in penalties or closure of a construction site or project that falls under the scope of the Governor’s emergency declaration.

Nevada OSHA asked letter recipients to share the March 26 letter with all general contractors and subcontractors, as well as, independent contractors, inspectors, material suppliers, utilities, vendors, or any other company with employees at a construction site.

On March 20, Governor Sisolak issued a directive ordering non-essential businesses, such as barber shops, beauty salons, brothels, gyms and fitness studios, live entertainment venues, and movie theaters closed. The construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, and mining industry sectors were allowed to continue operation as long as they maintained social distancing protocols and followed any precautionary guidelines issued by the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, which includes Nevada OSHA.

Food establishments remain open but may only provide delivery, drive-through, or take-out service but must adopt COVID-19 risk mitigation practices. Retail cannabis dispensaries may operate delivery services.

Other businesses, such as business and management consultants, legal services, and professional services, were encouraged to have employees work remotely or telecommute.

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